On January first, many of us evaluate the past year and make resolutions. We plan to do something like: lose weight, save money, get a new job, eat healthier, or get organized. Or, we decide not to do something like overspend, procrastinate, or regularly get stressed out. Although I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, I do a sort of “looking back” too, but it’s more often than once a year.
We often forget that every day is an opportunity to begin anew; that we have the chance to start fresh and create our realities. I know it usually doesn’t feel like that. If your morning alarm didn’t go off, or you wake up thinking about an argument with your partner, the job you’re going to that you hate or the fact that there’s not enough food in your kitchen, it’s really tough to think “wow, I get to create my reality today!” For many, the current real world of life is incredibly challenging, and it’s hard to get past that long enough to even entertain fresh starts. What would you do differently if you had the chance? How would two decades, years, months, or even 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 hurt. Perhaps I would have said “the right thing” or kept my mouth shut and 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,” typically attributed to Benjamin Franklin, was penned by Algernon Sydney in Discourses Concerning Government in 1698. The essence of it dates back to ancient Greece in Aesop’s Fables. I’d 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. Many of us grew up thinking that we had to be a strong, independent, self-sufficient achiever, 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 “list to work on” many times.
Each day, as I get out of bed, I put my left foot on the floor and say, “Thank,” my right foot on the floor and say, “You,” then stand up and say, “God.” Thank You, God, for a new day, a fresh start, another chance at a new beginning. In this New Year I wish for you: 12 months of unconditional loved, 52 weeks of joy, 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.