Thank to this lady and her wonderful inspiration, here are some of my reflections on the 2016 year as we come to its end.
1. What really worked? Choosing to wake up early and devoting my mornings to self care. After reading this book, my outlook on those bleary hours (often before sunrise) completely changed. I could use that time to do the things I want to do that often are pushed aside during the rest of the day. And those things? They are what get me through those days where everything gets pushed aside. I don’t always jump out of bed when my alarm rings, but more often than not I welcome the early start to my day. I know I have at least 90 minutes to think, read, write, work, and care for my body and soul. I wrote more about my mornings here and here and I’ve truly come to cherish and protect them.
2. What felt hard? Realizing how much unforgiveness and bitterness I was holding on to because of a handful of painfully wounding situations in my past. One of the biggest revelations for me this year was that forgiveness and apologies often do not go hand in hand. Forgiveness is my responsibility, whether the other person decides to apologize or not. Also, forgiveness should not be wielded as a weapon to make someone apologize. It is a free gift, that should start at the moment of wounding. I would often get stuck in a never ending cycle of rejection-bitterness-self pity-defensiveness-stonewalling-rejection and didn’t know how to break loose. How could I escape that victim loop when I didn’t even choose to be there in the first place? When I finally realized that my bitterness and unforgiveness was keeping me there then I knew I could make a change. The original rejection hurt and may have triggered the start of the cycle, but something I was choosing to continue to do was keeping me there. I could choose to repent of my bitterness and unforgiveness. I may not be able to choose how others treat me or even the consequences of their actions, but I can always choose my response.
3. What will I take with me? Reading. Books have been my refuge, my reset button, my resource for any and everything I want to learn. They will carry me into next year and beyond.
4. What will I leave behind? I would love to leave behind some of the negative mental loops that I allow to pollute my thoughts. Because of the unforgiveness I’ve lived with for so long, I’ve trained myself to respond to situations based on what happened before, not on what will most likely happen now (and it makes it even worse that the people who are here now weren’t even around then, yet they get all my emotional ick and spew from way back when) . Thus, if something triggers a hurtful memory or emotion, I engage in autopilot and start acting like it’s all gonna play out just like it did that one time…it’s not pretty. This year has given me some significant victory out of that pattern, and it would be so freeing to begin the new year leaving as much of it as I can behind.