Happy New Year!
New Years is always a very thought-filled time for me. I find myself thinking back over the year and ask myself, “Was it a good year? What were the positive things that happened? The negative?” And then I try to take some time to be happy and grateful for those good things, because I’m guessing I didn’t take enough time to do so when they were happening. When I think about the bad things, while I still may feel angry/sad/scared/frustrated/confused about whatever it was, I also try to remind myself that I survived. Maybe they seemed horrible and hopeless at the time, but when I look back at them, maybe they weren’t such a big deal after all. Or maybe I’m stronger than I think. Just taking the time to acknowledge these things, good and bad, is sort of cathartic I guess.
I stopped making New Years resolutions a long time ago. Instead of being something positive and motivating for me, they always left me feeling defeated or that I was a failure when I wasn’t strong enough in my resolve. To make matters worse, I usually didn’t accomplish what I set out do in the end anyway because I just gave up. [Cue more feelings of failure.]
So instead, I’m going to come up with a list of things I’m hoping I can do better. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Grace. I’m not talking about being poised and elegant (I mean me and roller skating…remember??) No. I’m talking about cutting slack and unclenching about some things — for myself and others. If I think about all the stupid little stuff I get upset about, it starts adding up to a huge pile of yuck. Then I get overwhelmed and even more anxious and angry. Maybe if I let some of those little things go, my life won’t be so cluttered with crap…literally and figuratively.
- Gratitude. So often I get all anxious and wrapped up in the things that I think are going wrong, that I forget to be grateful for all those that are going right. I get mad and frustrated with my kids for being ungrateful for all the toys and nice things they have in their seemingly easy lives. Well, duh. No wonder — if their own mother can’t be grateful enough for those wonderful things in her privileged life, why should they? Dope slap. What if I said, “You did a great job putting your clothes away without me even having to ask!” or “I like how you were so kind with your brother when he was feeling sad today.” — instead of the million critical things that usually come spewing out.
- Goodness. I’m going to try to acknowledge the good I see in people. Why do I keep nice thoughts to myself? What if I took 5 seconds to say or even text to someone, “I always admire how patient you are with your kids,” or “Thanks for having me over today — the rest of my day has been better because I laughed and got a friend fix.” Or sometimes someone just needs to hear, “You are rockin’ that messy bun today,” or “You have the best laugh…It’s always so contagious!” Sometimes you need to tell your friend’s husband, “Do you know I can always tell when you’ve texted something sweet to your wife? Her eyes always light up and she smiles when she reads it.” Because I know when someone give me a compliment, it always makes me feel better. When it comes on a day when you really need it or when it’s something good you never even saw in yourself, well. That’s worth 20 compliments, now isn’t it? And more often than not, it usually motivates me to keep doing one more good thing.
As I think about these things, I know I won’t remember them every day and little crap will make me furious sometimes. But maybe if over the course of the year, more positive will outweigh the negative. And to you my dear reader — for whom I’m grateful — I wish you a year filled with grace, gratitude and goodness. Pass it on.