Discerning My Reality

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

March 17, 2022

For the past four Januarys, I’ve opted to make a promise to myself as opposed to a resolution. As Brené Brown said on one of her podcasts, “I’m not a fan of resolutions because there so much … The whole ‘New Year, New You’ marketing scheme is so stressful to me.” I couldn’t agree more. The notion that I need to check a box to become a better version of myself has never sat right with me. One thing I’ve learned is that doing some introspection – small self-reflective practices – seem to provide me the most value. They help propel me to places in my mind that truly improve the way I process the world around me.

This year, I promised to be discerning with my time. Because, as author Oliver Burkeman says, “What you pay attention to will define, for you, what reality is.” If issues arise and I become fearful and anxious, fear and anxiety will become my reality. But if issues arise and I become curious and courageous, curiosity and courage will become my reality.

It’s March

It’s March. I have a lot of work to do with this promise. But I’m beginning to unlock the significance of what I pay attention to, of how my attention shapes my reality. When issues arise, I naturally head to what my previous habits ingrained in me. The fear and anxiety rise. How will I ever get through this? And then I remember: I can get through anything. Look how far I’ve made it already. Look how much I’ve grown. And look how much I’ve learned. I’m ready.

When I first thought up this promise, I was thinking along the lines of managing my time. I wouldn’t use social media as much. I’d be more aware of where I receive my news from. And I’d be careful with whom I spent time. But as time goes by and I continue to wrap my head around the promise, I’m realizing it also has a lot to with my mind. What do I spend time thinking about?  Who do I spend my time thinking about? Which emotions take up the most space?

If I intend to be discerning with my time, I must also learn to be discerning with myself.