Looking Back on New Years Resolutions

NYEIt is interesting to see how much I can change in one year. Last year I wrote a piece about making New Years resolutions. It sort of makes me cringe to read it now. At the time I wrote it I was very interested in dissecting and deconstruction the emotion of shame in an effort to better understand it and by doing so, liberate myself from it. The fact that reading this post now makes me cringe (which is a physical reaction to shame) whereas I did not cringe (presumably) when I first wrote and published the piece suggests that I am indeed now in a different place psychologically. I am aware that imbedded in my cringe is a judgment of my former self. There is a sense that I am now better informed or that I have matured and am now in the position to look down upon this former me. On the other hand, I do not think that me judging my former self is any better than me judging another person. It is essentially criticism and comes from a negative and egocentric place that uses criticism of the other to make myself feel superior.

In that post, my former self began:

So you have decided to make a New Years Resolution and you feel ashamed for various reasons a good deal of the time. Here is what I recommend based upon my life experience dealing with shame issues.

Reading the phrase “[s]o you have decided to make a New Years Resolution…” makes me feel embarrassed. It has an amateurish quality to it. Perhaps this suggests that I have matured as a writer. The embarrassment comes in part from my current self judging my former self but it also comes from me assuming how other people reading this paragraph might have read it and thought that I was acting like a douchebag. This presumes these readers had the maturity then that I have now which may or may not be the case. On the other hand, I am aware that my writing last year comes from a place of compassion for other people who might be dealing with the same shame issues I had dealt with. The fact that I am now judging my former self in this way suggests that maybe I have regressed in terms of my relationship with shame. I am not sure about that because I feel pretty good about myself right now.

My former self continued:

First of all, do not make a New Years Resolution out of a sense of guilt. Only make New Years Resolutions for your own benefit. Of course, your shame ego will tell you this way of thinking is selfish and something to feel ashamed about. Remember that the shame ego is the same thing that will convince you that maintaining the resolution you made out of guilt is too difficult to keep up and then once you stop maintaining the resolution will then tell you that you are weak for giving it up. Of course this requires awareness of when your shame ego is sabotaging your efforts and looking for reasons to feel ashamed (but that is a topic for another blog post).

What I was referring to with the term “shame ego” is that negative, critical, internal voice that probably most people experience to one degree or another. I believe this voice is the result of bad programing and is passed down from generation to generation through the line of fathers. It results from the combination of shame and misplaced loyalty. A person is shamed by his parents. Because they are his parents he must internalize this feeling of shame or else he will be disloyal to them. Being disloyal in turn brings on more shame. When this person becomes a parent, if he remains unaware and has not achieved autonomy from this dynamic, he will shame his children in the same manner because it feels good to his ego which is really in charge. This dysfunctional ego is the source of shame, judgment, jealousy, racism and all the other sins.

Making a New Years resolution seems to me to be an attempt to strive towards some perfected version of the self. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what the motivation behind this striving is. If the striving comes from a whole hearted place, an honest and loving place then it is good. If it comes from an egocentric, shameful, judgmental place then it will always be dysfunctional and will end in harming the self and others. It is ultimately doomed to failure.

My former self continued:

I recommend your resolution should either be to stop performing some self-destructive behavior or to take up a behavior that improves yourself. It should be something you are capable of doing with your whole heart. That is, it should be something you want to do. People with well-developed shame egos have a hard time knowing what they truly want because they have bonded to the message that what they want is wrong.

I think this last point is important. I believe a person cannot be successful in life if he is incapable of articulating what he wants. If he believes what he truly wants is wrong he will sabotage his efforts to achieve this secret goal. If he pursues goals that are not in line with what he truly wants he will not be satisfied when he has achieved them. Shame teaches a person that his desires and needs are selfish and wrong and to the extent he is aware of his true desires he should feel shame. So he buries them and they remain unconscious. The only entity this dynamic serves is the ego which revels in this morass like a pig in its own excrement.

My former self continued:

A good way to tell if something is what you want is to pay attention to how it makes you feel. If it makes you feel good then it is (most likely) good and something you like doing. If it does not make you feel good then it is (most likely) not good and something you do not like doing. Be careful. Some things feel good in the short-term but are destructive in the long-term, like addictions. Addictions are another trap of the shame ego. At first addictions seem like an escape from the shame ego’s constant criticism. That of course feels good. But eventually the addiction becomes self-destructive and gives the shame ego another reason to criticize you.

I would imagine that this last paragraph might irk a person who self identifies as conservative. Perhaps I should clarify that feeling good is an indicator that one is acting in accordance with his true purpose or indeed God’s will. It has been my experience that true purpose is almost never in accordance with the ego and acting in accordance with the ego gives rise to anger, resentment, jealousy, racism and hate.

I believe most people make New Years resolutions because they find themselves lacking and they want to improve. A person’s motivation to improve, his plan to improve and his execution of that plan can always run afoul of the wants and needs of his true self. To right the course of the ship of self, I think it is always a good thing to increase awareness of the self and the ego’s attempts to undermine the self. Awareness of the ego brings about a separation from the ego. In a sense the self becomes autonomous from the ego thus allowing it to act more fully in accordance with its true purpose.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Looking Back on New Years Resolutions

  1. thordaddy

    If you desire to control others then you are constantly attempting to break their “continuum.” The “New Year’s Resolution” is some such mechanism invoked on a mass scale to break the “continuum” of the people’s mindframe. There is on January 1st a sort of mass reboot infused with the idea of mandated recalibration and foundational inspection. Those most suspectible to a Self/ego split antagonism will find much meaning in this break in the “continuum” as it essentially validates a perpetually gnawing personal experience AND helps to disperse a personal burden amongst the masses. In other words, your continuous breaks in your personal continuum is eleviated by the idea of a mass break in the people’s continuum. You find a “heartening” personal to collective relationship in the “New Year’s Resolution” based upon a shared brokenness in one’s Self/ego continuum.

    • For the sake of argument, assuming your first sentence is true, it does not necessarily follow that because a person’s continuum has been broken that someone else is ipso facto trying to control him or her.

      • thordaddy

        I take it as a given that the masses are being controlled from on high… Part of this control is the understanding that most possess a broken “continuum” (conflicting self/ego) and that it is in the validation of the broken “continuum” suffered by the masses as epitomized by the “News Year’s Resolution” that this control is refined and normalized. The broken “continuum” signified by the reboot of a new year’s “resolution” is the attempt to normalize the abnormal… The attempt to legitimate an annual massive reboot and foundational reinspection… The attempt to make regular the idea of a broken continuum in one’s existence.

      • Your paranoia goes a long way to explain the racial filter through which you see religion and your neighbor. It’s an us against them philosophy. But isn’t your racism also a break with the continuum? Instead of a conflicted self/ego which you seem to claim you have resolved you have an external conflict of self/other.

      • thordaddy

        Paranoia?

        This post WAS WRITTEN BY YOU with the subtext being YOUR UNCERTAINTY over the nature of YOUR “New Year’s Resolution.” By presenting this uncertainty over the efficacy of your previous year’s resolutions, it is YOU that is highlighting and presenting to the public your Self/ego conflict.

        MY ONLY ADDITION was to EMBOLDEN your narrative and fold it within a larger context. January 1st has become that day for the annual ritual of mass “reboot.” A validation of the idea in the uncertainty of the previous year’s “resolutions.” And then to sloppily try to insert a stunted conception of “racism” into the mix was rather programmatic as though this were the aim… A programmatic uncertainty? That sums up radical autonomy quite well in your instance.

  2. I think paranoia is a perfectly apt description of someone who feels he is the target of higher, undefined forces trying to control him.

    • thordaddy

      wS…

      You don’t believe in an existing government? An entertainment-industrial complex? A “capitalistic” economic system? The military-industrial complex?

      • Which one of these organizations is secretly trying to make you enact New Years resolutions?

      • thordaddy

        wS…

        There is nothing secret about the media-entertainment complex playing up for the masses the idea of “New Year’s Resolutions” as an significant yearly “reboot.” The only secret was in the uncertainty in the efficacy of YOUR new year’s resolutions which you are seemingly revealing for the purpose of validation? I was simply pointing out a greater mechanism at play in the your pursuit of that validation. January 1st IS NOT a ritual “reboot” for me… It is not a break in my continuum… And the memetic drivers in play are not pertinent to me. They are only pertinent to you. “We” are not equally under the influence of “New Year’s Resolutions.” Some of us have none and some of us have uncertain and ambiguously efficacious ones.

      • You seem to be rather consumed with a topic you claim to have nothing to do with.

      • thordaddy

        wS…

        Consumed? That’s any awfully queer word to use?

        Your fundamental stance is of a Self/ego conflict that is seemingly unresolvable? But, there seems to be no awareness on your part that you are not, in fact, trying to solve the conflict BECAUSE it is in this very conflict that you maximize your autonomy in relation to others in your proximity.

        Remember, I am a GENUINE white Supremacist.

      • You are funny. Question: where do you get the idea that my fundamental stance is that a self / ego conflict is unresolvable?

      • thordaddy

        wS…

        You are 40+ and married with kids… And your self/Ego conflict IS NOT solved ALREADY. Plus, you give no indication that you BELIEVE the conflict resolvable. So that when one offers an opportunity for you to mend a wound in your continuum, your reaction is to manifest a rival wound in your Good Samaritan’s continuum. Ideally, one is resolute from the beginning. An annual “reboot” of one’s resolution is the sort of redundancy that then undermines Resolution in the absolute. You WANT ABSOLUTE RESOLUTION by definition AS A Christian. So, in fact, your mired state in redundant “resolution” is your walking AWAY from Perfection.

      • First of all I do believe the “conflict” is resolvable because I have resolved it. I am now in a position to observe my ego rather than blindly follow it as you do.

        Secondly, who do you think has offered me an “opportunity to mend a wound in my continuum” and what does that mean?

  3. Pingback: Exploring Why a Genuine White Supremacist Doesn’t Like New Years Resolutions | Winston Scrooge

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