Here we are again! We are getting ready to close the chapter of yet another year. This year has been an interesting one to say the least. But then again the start of this decade was not exactly what any of us were expecting. But in the past two years since COVID came on the scene, I’ve been learning a very valuable lesson that I think that many of you might identify with. That lesson is never take for granted the good people or the good things that you have in your life. But that is just one of many lessons that has been really been brought to the forefront of my mind over the last year. I’d like to share with you all at least some of the lessons that have stood out to me and hopefully will help you with looking back on this year with a different mindset.
1. Be careful who you place your trust in. Trust is a valuable thing and it is something that we take for granted a lot. We also have the tendency to put our trust in the wrong people. I’m not saying don’t trust anyone, but I am saying take the time to figure out who is a good person to trust. Trust is too valuable of a thing to not take the time to build it up and strengthen it.
2. Be thankful for what you do have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. This lesson is a hard one to learn. I hope you were paying attention to the bold print I used in the last sentence. We live in a world where there are many things to be desired. It does, however, provide a ton of distractions from what we really should be focusing on. When we don’t focus on what we do have, we can end up driving ourselves mad with unmet desires. Changing our mindset to focus on what we do have is an essential skill in order to develop a healthy mindset overall.
3. You are where you are at in your life for a reason. Yet again, this concept is a hard one to learn. I’m fond of describing myself as someone who could plan her way out of existence with enough time and energy. If we are going to be honest with ourselves, we like to plan and plan big. When our plans don’t pan out, we end up wondering if we made a right decision or if we are on the right track in our lives. But what if we are on the right track, but it may not look like it at the moment? We are at where we are at in our lives for a reason, and maybe there might be a lesson that we need to learn that we won’t learn any other way.
4. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if you have to. It is not selfish or cruel to say “no” when necessary. We don’t like to admit this, but we are limited creatures. This means that we can’t always be the one that steps up to volunteer. Additionally, we can’t always be the one who gives again and again when we don’t have the resources to give. Finally, we can’t be in relationships that are unhealthy or toxic when they cost us dear. Saying “no” is a necessary skill and right that we have to use if we are going to have a healthy life.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when necessary. I don’t know about you all, but asking for help is a hard thing for me to do. I value my independence as well as my ability to solve problems. Additionally, there are times when I think that the help that I’m going to get is going to not be anything of quality. But neither of these things should keep me from asking for help when I need it. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead it is a sign that you are a person and you don’t always see every angle of a situation. Our support system is there for us in times of trouble.
6. Forgiveness is a necessity, not an option. I know that I’ve rubbed some people the wrong way with just simply saying that sentence. Let me explain why I said it that way. Forgiveness is not about excusing away someone’s bad behaviors or mistreatment. It is about choosing to let go of the past and not live in it every day. I will admit this is a concept that is incredibly hard for us to understand, but it is necessary in order to bring greater healing into our lives. We don’t forgive for the sake of our offender. We forgive for our own sakes.
7. Don’t be afraid to take a risk when necessary. Risk….that word makes me cringe with dread just thinking about it. And let’s be real it is an uncomfortable word. To risk means that we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and take a chance on people who can hurt us. There is also a chance that the decision we make may not work out in the way that we expect it to and come back to hit us hard. But there are good risks as well as bad ones. And the times when we take a risk it ends up paying off in ways where we don’t even expect it to. When we don’t take an honest risk, then we miss out on things that are good for us.
I hope these reflections offer you some sort of wisdom that you can use not just at the beginning of the year, but all throughout. Additionally, I hope that through the seasons of change and uncertainty you can find ways to build strength, wisdom, and maybe even a little courage.