It’s just a few hours minutes before the first day of 2014 ends here in the Philippines. This post has been simmering in my mind and in my Drafts bin for the past few weeks, but my procrastinating self got the best of me. Nevertheless, it’s never too late. And with most of my readers coming from all over the world (I had a reader from Tunisia yesterday!), I don’t think they’d mind if I publish this right now.

Just a little disclaimer, higher on my priority list are the moral and Biblical rules regarding life, okay? I don’t aim to use these to wiggle out of God’s commandments.

Here are the 5 statements that I will work my hardest to avoid this coming year:

1. I’m too… (followed by a negative adjective like fat, stupid, ugly, etc.). I have to thank the documentary Miss Representation for this. If you want to learn more about their advocacy, you can click this link. There’s a part in that movie where they encouraged women to stop criticizing themselves in front of other women. They said that when women hear someone else say something bad about herself, they start looking at their own bodies/situation and feel bad, too. I believe this is true because whenever I hear my sister say that she’s fat, I always counter with an honest, “I’m a LOT fatter than you.” I will stop criticizing myself especially if I’m around anyone else, and extra-specially if there’s a young girl within earshot.

I’m also going to stop underselling myself. Tell people enough times that you are stupid and incapable and they will believe it. And don’t try to convince me that you can call that humility! That’s a lie and you know it. Putting yourself down is not a good virtue. It’s against the way I was raised with me being Asian, but hey! I’m a Christian first and the Biblical command regarding this is not to put yourself down, but to build others up.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

Philippians 2:3

2. You’re too… (followed by a negative adjective like fat, stupid, ugly, etc.). Duh! If I won’t do it to myself, why would I do it to anyone else? I used to take pride on how I can be brutally honest. This year, I will still be honest, but I will work on reining the brutality in.

3. I can’t. I’ve missed out on a LOT because of these two words. And, in keeping with my honesty pledge, the truth is that I don’t usually mean these words when I say them. My “I can’ts” usually mean either:

  • I won’t. Yup. When people ask me to go out and I refuse, it’s not always because I physically cannot go out and spend time with them. Sometimes, I just don’t want to so I don’t try at all.
  • I’m too scared or lazy to even want to try. Saying that you cannot do something is just a politer way to express cowardice. There. I said it. I admit that there are times when I know there’s a chance that I can step up to the plate, but I say I cannot because it’s easier. Trying opens you up to the risk of failure and that’ll hurt. Oh, and do you know what’s even scarier? What if I end up being good at it? That would open up more opportunities and even more responsibility! It could actually CHANGE MY LIFE!
  • I need/want you to tell me that you believe I can do it. Yep. I am always in need of encouragement and affirmation. There are times when I say I can’t to see if the other person will verbalize how much they believe in me. When they do, I feel good… and then I realize that I manipulated them into saying it and it loses its value. When they don’t I conclude that they don’t believe in me at all.  That’s why I won’t say I can’t for this reason this next year. That way, when someone tells me that they believe in me, I can take it as their honest opinion, not as their polite response.

4. What would (fill in someone’s name) say? I was am so used to living my life following other people’s rules. Man! If I had a dime for every time I said this, I’d be rich. I really have to stop. Why? Because most times, those people whose names you fill that statement in with DON’T CARE AT ALL. They’re probably too busy worrying about what you think of them. This 2014, I will start investing in relationships that matter. I choose to be loved for who I am than be merely accepted for who I pretend to be. If they actually say something, then I will deal with that after the fact.

5. It’s all my fault. Like I said on an older post, I tend to blame myself when things go wrong. Even when I clearly know that it’s not my fault, I outsmart and, subsequently, persecute my self. There are things I did way back in my childhood that I still haven’t gotten over. And they’re really tiny mistakes, too. Like not being able to tie a proper ribbon in kindergarten. I still remember the “walk of shame” to my teacher’s desk. I just need to start forgiving myself.

This rule applies specially when other people hurt me. I always tell myself that I deserved it and believed wholeheartedly. Well, this time, it’s going to be different. It’s not always my fault. Sometimes, they don’t know any better. Sometimes, they don’t mean it. Sometimes, they’re just plain mean. It’s just how it is. You just have to acknowledge that it happened, let the pain work its way out, and keep living. The same rules apply to myself and fact is, the easier it is for me to forgive myself, the easier it’ll be for me to forgive others.

I may not be able to change all at once. There will be times when I a) forget, b) will pretend to forget, or c) be too emotional to care to remember that I wrote this post. But I will forgive myself and just try harder. That is my promise.

And that’s my two cents on that.

How about you? Is there anything else you’d like to add to this list? Do you agree? Will you try to avoid these statements too? I would LOVE to hear from you. Please feel free to post a comment below.