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  • Writer's pictureSylvia St. Cyr

Resolutions, Shoulds, and Shame Can Die

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

In the past, I’ve either focused strongly on my resolutions at the beginning of the year or been indifferent to them. This year, I am exposing the faulty foundation of resolutions, alongside ‘shoulds’ and shame.

If you like to make New Year’s resolutions, this blog is not for you.

I want to dive deeper into why we make resolutions. It takes a new level of vulnerability but I’m willing if you are. Let’s do this!

The ‘Why’ is Everything

I’m going to start peeling back the layers so that together we can find out why we strive so hard for things that don’t actually benefit us.

What is the number one New Year’s resolution? To lose weight.

Time to start peeling. If you have ‘Lose Weight’ at the top of your list of things you want to do or accomplish this year to make 2023 the ‘best year ever!’ ask yourself, why?

If your first answer is, ‘Well, because I should. I put on 20, 30, 40 pounds during the pandemic.’ Should is not good enough and frankly, should can die. That’s a saying in our house when we catch each other ‘shoulding’.

If you think you should do something, there is a reason behind why you think you should. Ask yourself this. Why do I think I should do anything? It’s going to either stem from your childhood upbringing and what you were taught, or it’s going to be what the world thinks and has to say about humanity. (We could spend an unlimited amount of time on this, but we’ll push on for the sake of this blog)

Why the Need to Make Resolutions

January 1st hits and many people feel the lethargy from copious amounts of sugar and junk food during the holidays. Alongside millions of people, they resolve to eat better and lose weight.

I want to stop here for a quick moment and say that because the ‘why’ is everything, having the resolution to live healthily or become healthier to bless your body, is different than what I’ve been talking about. If your doctor says your blood pressure is high or you’re on the verge of diabetes and the way to reverse these things is to focus on being healthy, that is a beautiful goal. That is not what this blog is about.

So back to unhealthy resolutions, shoulds, and shame.

When anyone makes a resolution, it’s because they want to be a better version of themselves, right? If you peel this layer back a little further and ask yourself why, then you’ll see that the flipside is that right now you believe you’re not good enough. That is the definition of the word ‘shame.’

If you feel like you don’t measure up and you’re not valuable as you are, you resolve to be better and do what is necessary because we all need to be loved and valued.

What the World Says

The world says that for you to be valuable and loved, you must look a certain way. A crass way to put it is that the world says you need to be ‘hot’ or sexy.

If you’re not, then people will look down on you and not give you as much attention or love. At least that’s what the world says. Here’s the kicker. We’ve come to believe that as truth, haven’t we? That’s when a lie is the strongest. When we believe it to be the truth.

Let’s peel back some layers again, shall we? Why do we believe this lie? It’s because we see evidence of it all the time, especially on social media.

When do we celebrate people? When they’ve accomplished something. This in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. But as a society, we only celebrate people after they’ve lost weight.

“Oh my goodness, you look amazing! Have you lost weight?”

“Wow, you’re so thin! What’s your secret? I really should try that so I can look better.”

So then on the flip side what we’re saying is that if you put on weight or even maintain the weight you’re at, you’re not good enough. That’s the danger and the lie.

In essence, we’re saying the weight you are, the number on the scale is the only thing that determines your value. With women, it’s even more pressure. The weight or amount you lost plus the amount of makeup you wear determines how society rates your value and then judges you for it.

This is far too heavy for anyone to live under (pun intended). Plus, it’s completely self-involved.

If you’ve never heard this before then please hear me now. Your weight, body type, or the way you look does not determine how valuable you are.

The world says you must sacrifice a lot to find out if you’re lovable. The good news is that you are already loved and valued!

What God Says

Living by the standards of the world, making endless resolutions to be lovable, is exhausting and never how we were meant to live.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

We were created in the image of the living God, which gives us intrinsic value that can never be taken away. We don’t have to try and gain more value by losing weight or sacrificing things for the world. The truth is that we have infinite value.

As for being lovable? God loves us. Period. He loves us so much He sent His only son to die and take our place of shame and judgment. That’s the love of God over us.

Do we have to clean up to gain the love of God?

“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

You don’t have to do one thing for God to love you. In your filth, He still died for you because of His unconditional love for you.

When we know how loved we are, as we are, then we operate from a beautiful place of being already loved and valuable rather than doing everything out of fear and in hopes of being loved.

My Conclusion

It’s a new year and that’s wonderful! You can feel the sense of new opportunities on the horizon. However, I am not starting this year off with any resolutions. In the past I did.

The fact of the matter is, I’m done trying harder to gain the world’s approval. Instead, this year I’m going to give my days over to the Lord and ask Him to walk with me and guide me each day, knowing His love for me is secure.

The idea of asking myself what I should intensely sacrifice to be loved, or what I should resolve to do so I can be noticed or ‘sexy’ is not something I care about any longer.

I need to be thinner so that what? Men will look and notice me? Women will be jealous of me? No! I’m not playing that stupid game any longer.

No more striving, no more reading 1,000 books so I can sound smart, and no more dieting to meet a worldly standard. I’ve spent most of my life doing this, and I’m done.

I’m not giving up on life but simply giving up on how the world says I have to live. It has never worked and I’d rather live the way the Lord intended. I’m saying goodbye to what the world values and holding tight to what our loving Heavenly Father says is good.

I’m the first to admit this decades-long habit may take a minute or two to break. But I believe with everything in me that it will be worth it to live in step with our incredible God, one day at a time.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10

When you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, you have everything you’ll ever need, including a beauty that no person can ever steal away from you.

Happy New Year!

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