compassRecently, my girlfriend Mondana and I were shopping at Chico’s in downtown Los Altos. After I had squeezed myself into a sleek pair of straight-legged jeans, I asked her the proverbial question all women query whenever they are in a fashion dilemma: “Does this make me look fat?” The Christmas holiday had come and gone and once again my bloated waistline was pushing against a zipper that refused to budge.

“Ah, they’re a little snug,” she said, eyeing me up and down. “I don’t really like them on you, but do you want me to get them in a larger size?”

“A larger size?” I asked, demoralized. I happened to love the style of these fashionable pants, but didn’t want to appear like I had no idea of what looked good on me so, I simply said, “No. That’s ok. I don’t need them anyway.” And doing what I do best in the wake of any shopping defeat, I suggested, “Let’s go get something to eat.”

Giggling over our delicious salads at Maltby’s, I couldn’t help but think of all the times I desperately needed Mondana’s opinion when I felt unsure. It’s been said that two heads are better than one, and in our case, this couldn’t be more accurate. Perhaps it’s because we’re always simpatico in our beliefs, and our voices seem to sing harmoniously in unison. It’s easy to come to a mutual conclusion when you share the same point of view, but as I drove home that day, a new revelation dawned on me.

Throughout my life, more often than not, I’ve counted on the opinion of others to validate my own. I’ve also been known to change my position ever so slightly, so it agrees with the tone of whichever conversation I found myself in. Hating confrontation of any sort, I tend to stay away from heated arguments or revealing personal opinions that might elicit a strong emotional response. It’s much easier to listen, nod my head, smile and fit in.

I think we’re all able to get sidelined from our beliefs when the need to please or be socially acceptable becomes overpowering. Being different or a non-conformer can be perceived of as weird, or even unacceptable, especially in a small town like Los Altos. We want to belong. Though that day I wondered if it was truly that important, if it means we lose sight of ourselves in the process.

That day, I also came to the conclusion that we’re each gifted with our own unique and personal moral compass that comes as a result of a lifetime of experience, relationships, education, spiritual ideals, and principles. A tool that was important for me to start paying closer attention too.

Each January, I sit down and make a list of resolutions– get fit, lose weight, control my spending habits and become organized. Unfortunately, I give up on them before the end of the first week. But from now on, New Years or no New Years, I’m making a promise to myself that shall not be broken.

From this day forward, I’ll voice my opinions, expound on my beliefs and hold true to my core values. I’ll strive to speak loud and clear instead of blending in to feel accepted.  I’ll even buy clothes that are too tight or considered a fashion faux pas. For, in the end, all that truly matters is that I like them.

My goal and forever resolution is to keep my gold compass visible in my mind’s eye and close to my heart, constantly paying attention to the tick of the delicate needle pointing me to my north.

We all make a list at the beginning of each new year for something we want to accomplish. As I said above, for me, I failed miserably every time. But following my spiritual path while I’m here just might work, as long as I’m true to me. Are you able to keep your resolutions, and if so, how do you do it?!