Now before we all start walking in different directions, just hear me out. Sorry, read me out. There was a time in my life when if you offended me I’d be dead to you – I mean “delete your phone number”, “delete any photo of us together” and act as if you never existed kind of stuff. It went on for quite long. I knew it was not a healthy way to deal with issues but it was easy to put issues under the rug. I was advised that I had to separate myself from people that are leeches. But they were not leeches, they were people that I had good times with, laughed, and even cried with. How come little lapse in judgment and usage of a few harsh words brings down years of friendship? I know not.
This one time, I had this girlfriend who got drunk and wrote a slew of profanity and other mean stuff to me while we were chatting online. This was a friend who was a bestie. I am not good at confrontations – I defended myself and then just melted into the puddle of another broken relationship. A few months later, I bumped into this now-not-my-friend and she apologized and said she missed me. If it was the old me I’d be like yeah sure, and then never follow-up. But I had resolved that I would give myself and other people benefit of the doubt. We tried to connect but like a broken mirror, our friendship could not be put together. I am still proud of myself that I gave my heart a chance to mend something – I can always look back and say that I tried.
It’s all about the heart.
We make mistakes; then hide them or deny them. We might get angry and say something hurtful but one thing we should always do is learn from our mistakes. By pushing matters under the rug, we are denying our heart the opportunity to heal and move on. We cannot control what others do or say to us but our response to them and ourselves must come from a place of Grace. Forgiving is one of the hardest things (well other than parenting). When I struggle with forgiveness, I surrender it to Jesus because some things are beyond my capacity (how do I forgive someone who molested me when I was little?) but I can move on in life without carrying any guilt or poison in my heart for someone who has hurt me. See, it’s all about my heart and yours. Give someone another chance if they ask your forgiveness. Give yourself another chance at love, friendship or anything you failed at first try – some things are worth doing twice.
How do you resolve hurts? Do you give others a second chance? Do you give yourself a second chance?
It’s not usually until I am in bed that I realize that I hadn’t written in my journal. Writing clarifies my thought process but by the end of the day I’m exhausted and this much beloved activity sits on the back bench. This year, I want to write more, love more, care for others more, give more, forgive quickly, love myself more, and most of all read God’s word everyday.
With full time work, raising a toddler and being a homemaker it is not surprising that I feel lost sometimes. But when I write my thoughts down either in the morning or before bed, somehow it makes my day go smoothly. I would like to gently encourage you find your voice – an expression of creativity be it drawing, doodling, writing, anything creative. Find an outlet and immerse yourself in it. We consume information all day and juggle work, todo lists and what not but we should also take the time to find that inner voice that has been there since we were little – the one that always wanted to create and thrive.
Resolutions are not my thing. Never Been. Every time I’d set a resolution, it would fall flat on its face by the time 10th of January has rolled in. It has been about 5 years since I stopped making resolutions and have never regretted the decision. Why do we have to wait a whole year to decide that it’s the new beginning? Changing of the calendar year is encouraging but let’s not get carried away here, 1st of the month occurs 12 times in a year. Last year was insightful, to say the least because I noticed a trend of keywords recurring in my life – Eat healthily, Exercise, Meditate, Work Less, Blah, Blah, AddAnotherWeAlreadyKnow. Here is my list of keywords/disciplines from last year and will continue for 2018.
Stay True to Yourself – Whatever we want to accomplish in life, a goal or a target has to come from the depths of our heart’s desire. And sometimes in the hum-drum of life, we tend to stop listening to our heart. What’s my purpose? What’s my life in the big scheme of life? What’s important to me? Do my daily/weekly actions lead me closer to my goal? Do I even have a goal? Sometimes it’s not easy to pause and reflect but if there is anything that I’ve learned this year, it is t to stay true to yourself. Listen to our beating hearts and question everything that moves around. Time spent on gadgets, type of books to read to the company we keep. Sum total of our environment + input in the form of tv/Netflix/books + actions and behavior towards friends, family or a stranger.
Pray – One of the most humbling experience is bowing, accepting fragility of life, lifting myself and loved ones in prayer. Once upon a time, my lips were sealed tight – I didn’t know how to pray or what to say. But slowly I learned to open my heart, mouth and let words glorify our creator. You don’t have to pray if you don’t believe, it’s one discipline that I want to inculcate in my life.
H2O – Our bodies are ~65% water. Not only drinking 8 glasses of water helps increase metabolism, if you drink more water, you have to move more – to pee – so the way I see it, it’s killing two birds with one stone.
Move – If you drink more water, you’ll have to empty your bladder frequently which means you’ll have to get up from your desk and go to the washroom which means you move! Add a walk, climbing stairs and alternative 30-minute gym session 3 days a week and you’re treating your body with love. It’s a lifestyle – I haven’t mastered it but I think I am onto something when Fitbit reminds me that I have walked 6kms. It makes me happy that I have achieved today’s goal, which in turn helps me focus on other areas of life.
Create – Holding a pen gives me a lot of joy. Drawing lines, writing some words here and there, doodling some art. It’s an activity that let the brain to wander and create some form on a paper. Whatever it is. Create something. Cherish and then stick it in a binder for a reflection for later on. You’ll be surprised to notice the patterns later on. If writing lets you loose then do that. If swearing on paper helps relieve some tension then do so.
Let Go – Holding on to stuff doesn’t work well for the mind. Try to find the reason what’s stopping from throwing, donating or selling the stuff you don’t use anymore. Create empty space, create room for creativity.
Watch Your Thoughts – Thoughts lead to action and if we don’t watch our thoughts then it could get downhill pretty fast. You could say that thoughts are not really a movie to play when you wish and I’d say that it is. It’s surprising how many thoughts we can have in a minute. We need to wipe away the ones that don’t serve us: thoughts about being insufficient, inadequate, being fat, ugly or stupid. Doesn’t help. Ignore them because we can’t really stop having those thoughts; these are thoughts they will re-surface from the depth and width of our past experiences. The point is to train ourselves to spot them and then ignore them. They are there in a void. Focus on good, positive and encouraging thoughts because that’s what we thrive on.
Be generous – Don’t be a hoarder of love, good wishes, and praise. Be generous with your smiles, hugs, love, anything that you have been blessed with. Here is a secret – whatever you share – multiplies!
Love – 1 Corinthians sums it up nicely.
I haven’t perfected any of these habits – as I say often – I’m a work-in-progress. I stumble, I fall and then dust off and carry on
When I stumbled upon this verse in the Bible, I was 16 and too naive to ponder on what it actually meant. That was the age of rebelling, boyfriends, daring friends and not listening to any advice showered by any grown-up who had it “all” figured out. Today, I am married to an amazing man of God, have a stepson and getting closer to 35! To me, this verse reminds me to focus on God’s Love such that I can be a reason for a blessing to those around me. When I am cleaning the dishes, I focus on the blessing of an abundance of food that God provided and left everyone contended and purring in the living room. I don’t allow “the chore” to get me to complain about pleasures of simple things. (Ok washing dishes is not that pleasant but I have to mention that I get mild satisfaction from cleaning glassware).
What I want to draw home is the fact that some tough situations are meant to test our patience reservoir – but we can conquer anything with the love of Christ. But sometimes, it’s not about conquering but surrendering, surprisingly the same love also applies to situations where we are tired, and exhausted and still have like a thousand of things to do.
As this year ends, I want to encourage you to focus on loving yourself, giving the same grace to yourself that you often give to others around you, and try to do everything with love and kindness.