At the beginning of a New Year, many people evaluate the past year and make resolutions. We resolve to find a different way of living life. There are decisions to do something like lose weight, save money, get a new job, eat healthier, or get organized (I love this one), and there are decisions to not do something like smoke, gamble, overspend, procrastinate, or regularly get stressed out. Even thought I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, I do that sort of “looking back” too. I just do it a lot more often than once a year.
We often forget that every day (not just January 1st) is an opportunity to begin anew. Each day we have the chance to start fresh and create our reality. I know it often doesn’t feel like that. If you wake up and your alarm didn’t go off and you’re running late, if the first thing that comes to your mind is an ugly argument with your partner, if you’re heading out the door to a job you hate, or if you’re walking into a kitchen with too little food and not enough heat, it’s really hard to think “wow, I get to create my reality today!” I do understand that for so many, the current real world of life is incredibly challenging, and it’s hard to get past that long enough to even entertain a new beginning.
What would you do differently if you had the chance? How would 2 decades, 2 years, 2 months or even 2 days ago have looked if you were able to have a “do-over?” There have been quite a few times in my life when (with the luxury of time that has passed) I’ve said “I wish would have done things differently.” Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten so upset or broken or hurt. Maybe I would have said “the right thing” or kept my mouth shut. Maybe I would have remembered my goal to walk through life with joy and grace. But in those moments, in my humanness, I reacted the only way I knew how, and I’ve not always been easy on myself about it. We should be our own best allies and often we’re our own worst enemies.
Can you be gentle with yourself? Can you forgive yourself and begin again? Can you show yourself the kindness you often reserve for others?
The expression, “God helps those who help themselves” is typically attributed to Benjamin Franklin but it was originally penned by Algernon Sydney in Discourses Concerning Government in 1698, and the essence of it dates back to ancient Greece in Aesop’s Fables. I had heard that saying for decades and never thought anything about it until one day when a friend reframed it as “God helps those who ask for help.” That makes a lot more sense to me and is much more consistent with my understanding of God.
It’s hard to ask for help though isn’t it? When most of us were young, we were told (either verbally or through the unspoken messages that were loud and clear) that there are winners and losers. We grew up thinking that competition is necessary, that it’s important to win, to be strong to be independent, to achieve, to be self-sufficient, even if the outcome doesn’t resonate with our truth. Being vulnerable enough to ask for help is really a challenge for most of us. For me, it’s been on my “need to work on list” many times.
Every day the first thing I do after I wake up, as I get out of bed, is put my left foot on the floor and say “thank”, then my right foot on the floor and say “you” then stand up and say “God.” “Thank You God.” Thank you for a new day, for a new start, for another chance at a new beginning.
In this New Year I wish for you:
12 months of being unconditionally loved
52 weeks full of laughter
365 days of believing in possibilities
8760 hours of feeling encouraged
525,600 minutes of recognizing your worth and
3,153,600 seconds of peace in your home