Wednesday, December 19, 2012

3 Quotation Inspired New Year's Resolutions

             1) I want to try to be less judgmental. I want to better resist the temptation to label, categorize, and attempt to define those around me. Jon Ronson, a writer and filmmaker who has spent a lot of time studying psychopathic behavior, once said, “You shouldn’t define people by their maddest edges.” That quote has stuck in my mind and I think he’s absolutely right. In fact, I think it applies to more than just psychopaths. We so often judge people based on their most terrible decisions or their worst moments. We throw labels on people, and then refuse to let them change. We ignore anything they might do or say that goes against who we’ve decided they are, and exaggerate the significance of anything they do that supports our judgment. By being too quick to judge another person, we refuse to acknowledge the complexity of human beings, and fail to remind ourselves that there is likely much more to their story than we can ever know. So throughout the year I want to repeat to myself, “You shouldn’t define people by their ___.” What can the blank be? Pretty much everything.

2) I want to surprise myself. Several years ago, one of my favorite authors Neil Gaiman wrote the following New Year’s Wish. “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” I love this line! To me, surprising myself means having the courage to leave my comfort zone. It means embracing new experiences and challenges as a way to learn about myself. It means being open minded about the things, and the places, and the activities, and the people I may think I won’t like, because sometimes we find something new to love where we least expect it.

      3) I want to be more grateful for all of the things in my life. There is a quote I love by G.K. Chesterton that says, “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” I actually plan on hanging this some place where I can be reminded every day to be thankful for all of things that are precious to me.