“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
― Ellen Goodman
― Ellen Goodman
This quote from Ellen Goodman reminds me of Norman Vincent Peale's quote, "Change your thoughts, change your world." The power of positive thinking…it's a message that resonates this year. I'd like 2014 to be the year that I flip the switch from focusing on my own demerits and start noticing the positivity that others see, and look for the potential of each situation. Like many women I know, there's a tape that plays in my mind constantly about how to do better, how to be better, how to get more from every day. I wake up every morning feeling already behind the 8-ball, and go to bed every night hyper-aware of all the things I didn't accomplish or could have done better. I've heard this referred to as "negative self-talk" which, in psych speak, means we don't treat ourselves as well as we treat others. Sometimes, I have to have that inner chat and say "Be as nice to yourself as you are to your friends."
When one of my daughters was in a particularly difficult teen-age phase, she'd make a statement about something that distressed her. The statement, expressing a situation, would be oozing in negativity. I would say "Think of a way to say the same thing, but with positivity." It wasn't always possible, but it was a conscious effort to look at the world with different eyes, to lift the emotion of the situation up and rid it of troubling energy. I don't even know if she remembers those little exercises (sometimes futile, sometimes not) but I do, and they were lessons for me as well.
So, I don't plan to enter 2014 obsessing about all the things I do wrong, the "cracks to be patched" with the intention to make them right. The cracks are there -- I make mistakes all the time and have learned and earned some of life's most valuable lessons in doing so. Without those cracks, I might never have come to realize that there is nothing, nothing more meaningful than family and cherished friends, especially when times are tough and I don't do it right, when I neglect these relationships because I am too busy or too tired or just don't feel like it at the moment. I suffer for the mistakes made along the way in the name of ego, pride, vanity, selfishness - those self-protective devices we all employ to some extent to stake our claims in the world. I hope to find forgiveness for the mistakes I've made, but if not, I have learned to forgive myself and move forward with optimism and positivity. There's nothing more worth claiming than the precious relationships nurtured through a lifetime of shared experiences.
What I will do as I make my way through 2014, as Ellen Goodman suggests, is search out the potential in every symbolic room of my life. I will pick up the phone rather than text and connect, voice to voice, or preferably, face-to-face, with those cherished relationships. I will better anticipate those "unexpected" expenses and not be caught so off-guard when one arises. I will plan ahead so that I'll be able to take those trips that mean so much. I will invest in a more sophisticated camera so I can continue to capture, with even more detail, those precious moments with my grandsons and children, or a landscape along a highway, or a breaking wave, or a spontaneous moment of creativity in my kitchen. I will look for the potential in each day, each challenge, rather than start out checking the tired, old demerit column. I will stop waiting. Waiting for the perfect moment to do whatever. Because the perfect moment may never come. I will dive in to the potential that all the moments of 2014 will provide.
|These little guys know how to have fun!|
Happy New Year to you all!