It’s practically the end of the year and it’s inevitable that at this time come the reflections and evaluations of what made us laugh, cry, anxious, fearful, elated, joyful and scared. With the slightly more negative aspects of our lives, some of us may have felt or are still in a state of flux. Meaning it’s been fairly difficult to make sense, learn from such events because we’ve not been given the tools to articulate and understand the deep effects on us.
How we define ourselves and deal with such situations should be a mission for us all to begin and continue. While some of us have it down pat, there are still some that don’t know where to start or are even afraid to.
The first step towards leading a more purposeful life starts with introspection; being [respectfully] honest with ourselves and to others; learning to become more self-aware; taking responsibility for our words and actions; listening to hear, not to respond and learning to say, not “I apologise”, but, “sorry”.
So, with all that in mind, I feel it’s important to share some of the things that have helped me this year.
Buying a simple notebook and jotting down our thoughts, feelings and opinions can, without a doubt, help us make sense of what is going on internally and can be cathartic. When we’re happy, by turning to our notebooks, chances are we’ll jot down more of our goals, heart’s desires etc. On the flip side, when we’re confused, making a note of the many questions we ask ourselves helps explore, understand and may even go towards resolving the issues. The bottom line is, by writing in a continuous stream of consciousness it aids us in pinpointing exactly when and why certain thoughts, feelings and opinions arose. In other words, it makes it easier for us to think about what we’re thinking about.
Oftentimes when we’re caught up in the rigmarole of our own lives and feelings, we tend to find it difficult to allow ourselves to get out of our heads in order to focus entirely on something else. Volunteering with the most vulnerable in society – the homeless, children and older people – and witnessing adversity, first hand serves to force morality to the forefront of our minds, search ourselves and re-evaluate what we feel is truly important in life: service to others, kindness and the love, respect and affection for our loved ones – friends and/or family. Added to which, volunteering is quite addictive because of the joy we draw from it.
Using Words Wisely
“Pick your battles”. This year more than ever, this phrase has resounded in my ear to no end! Everybody goes through their own issues, whether deeply personal or otherwise, so it’s important to try with all our might to season our words with salt and gently prompt/correct someone who is in the wrong.
This, however, is not to say we should allow somebody who is trying to grapple with serious issues such as a mental health, bereavement or illness to continuously disrespect or violate us, especially if we’re valued members of their lives. Rather, to as objectively, as respectfully and as gently as possible make our feelings known. Once, twice, three times. Set a standard for ourselves, because if they continue to reject attempts to communicate/repair, we need to be confident in where we stand going forward.
So, hopefully these few, practical tips will help you, to learn who you are in order to discover, learn and accept what you stand for. Let’s see 2019 in more confident in our decision-making, in ourselves and in what our standards are.