For some years now I have finished this weekly missive with the line â€œlead with your best self.â€Â It implies that you always have a choice.Â And that there are different selves within.Â Sometimes youâ€™re your worst, worse, fair, good, better, or best self.Â So, at any moment thereâ€™s a choice.Â And somewhere within you thereâ€™s a best self.Â How do you bring out that â€œbest self?â€
Jews in the High Holy Days, Muslims in Ramadan, and Christians in Lent recommit to a best self through reflection and repentance, with forms of fasting and sacrifice and self denial.Â The secular occasion of New Years offers a chance to think about â€“ and even Resolve-to-Be our best Self.Â Many years many of us miss this golden chance.Â
I wonder if we fail to make resolutions to be our best self, because this secular moment skips over the anticipatory period of reflection, atonement, repentance and cleansing associated with those religious new beginnings.Â Most of us are too busy with gift-giving and family-enjoying to stop for half a second to look back and reflect.Â I suspect that if we donâ€™t admit that we screwed it up last time, then deep down in our subconscious, it must seem foolish if not futile to make whole new resolutions.Â Maybe we should reform this New Years Day thing to add a day to make peace with the shortfalls of resolutions gone bad, shake off the dust, seek forgiveness and a new beginning.Â Maybe you can say simply to yourself, â€œI havenâ€™t always led with my best self, but Iâ€™m letting all that go.â€
I wonder if the other problem many of us have with resolution-making is that this New Year (in Capitals) is often devoid of G-d.Â Resolutions lack mighty purpose.Â Losing weight and saving money are fine, but this is the beginning of a whole New Year – wow, a whole new year!Â So why not aim for our Best Self, for things that Really Matter, bringing about Peace and Justice, Liberty and Love.Â Our typical resolutions suffer from a lack of G-d in another way.Â To really make good on meaningful Resolutions, we do well to turn to a Higher Power.Â So often in our secular world we lose the sense of the enormous possibility if we align ourselves with God.Â If your past resolutions have lacked the Meaning to motivate or the Support to sustain you, perhaps thereâ€™s a different way to begin in â€™08 to Resolve to
Lead with your best Self!