It's official, 2017 is coming to a close. For some, this comes as a grand relief, and to some, a year well lived and experienced is being celebrated.
Either way, I venture we've all done our best with what we knew, and with what we were offered in those key moments. We've fought and conquered, we've fought and lost. Such is life, after all, and growth. I know for my own self, I've trusted the wrong people, I've fought battles that weren't mine to fight, and I've wasted my talents (and, to my chagrin, time!) on commitments I should never have made.
I've also learned a lot about myself, I've conquered hurdles I could not have dared contemplate a year ago, and I've surprised myself with insights and strength I did not know were to be found within me.
I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore, I chose a few years ago to set daily, weekly and monthly goals instead. I find, for me, these are more attainable, as they come with renewed and fresh resolve, and are also allowed to grow and evolve as required, instead of being tied to a date on a calendar. This is also less overwhelming as I journey out of the trauma state and back in to life.
That's not to say I think they're wrong, or somehow fruitless - for some people, New Year's is a fresh start, a time to begin again, and to set new intentions for the year to come.
The key, I think, is to constantly be moving forward, when or how we choose to do so, is part of the self knowledge we acquire throughout our journey, and as we know ourselves, we know how to motivate ourselves toward that next step we wish to attain.
I have a suggestion, an empowering assignment if you will, for us all:
Write yourself a letter about 2017. Bullet point the highs, the lows, the healthy, the devastating. Really dive in to the year we are all about to leave behind. Take your time, check your feelings about the journey you've embarked on these past 12 months.
No one will read this, so be truthful about your feelings and your failings. Remember, we all have them.
Once the letter is pretty much complete, or you've run out of steam on it, take a look back on what you've written, and begin to isolate what you've learned. What you are still learning. In your mind's eye, watch your 2017 journey and see where the learning happened (and let's cheer powerfully at these moments!), or where perhaps the opportunity to grow was missed. Identify those, celebrating your improved insight, now that you're in a place to see more clearly.
Don't beat yourself up for mistakes. To err is to be human. So don't worry, but do learn. For the sake of you.
Years ago I read a book, "Giving the Love that Heals", by Harville Hendrix, and learned that our struggles will continue to come at us as we cycle through life patterns. In order to decrease the intensity of these struggles, it is important to learn from and deal with them appropriately as they approach. With each repeated cycle, the intensity will decrease, as long as we hunt for the healthy way with which to deal with the issues. (and get the help we need if we need it)
By denying them and sighing with relief when the intensity decreases, we are not moving on, we are simply delaying the lesson until the next time. So yes, let's learn, let's process and grow - to allow ourselves to be better servants to those we will encounter this year, to our journeys, and also to decrease the blow the next time our life cycle takes us to this place.
Knowing where we came from, where our journey has led us thus far, and identifying our growth as well as ongoing struggles, we can move in to 2018 with renewed fervor. We will find strength in renewed purpose for our growth, see past our desires to lose weight and gain wealth, and see inside ourselves to facilitate space to grow as human contributors to a higher purpose. The healthier we allow ourselves to become within, the stronger we will be when the bumps and bruises come our way in 2018.
Perhaps you'd like to make notes of your conquering moments of '17 at the beginning of a new journal. And jot down a few areas of growth for '18. Now you've started a whole new path of awareness and purpose for the new year! And you've given yourself a safe place to process your thoughts and feelings for the coming year, as well as a reference point to guide you.
Putting pen to paper instead of typing on a keyboard or smart phone, is strongly recommended by therapists, as this process more strongly connects the heart and mind with the physicality of the writing.
As I look back on 2017 and take stock of my losses, misses and failures, it is easy to feel a sense of anxiety about the approaching new year. Have I learned what I needed to learn? Am I strong enough to stare 2018 in the eye and fight a whole new set of battles? I believe in God, and His power, so I have confidence in my faith. I also know I am responsible for my choices and actions, and my healing processes.
By looking back and seeing where I could have done better, while also celebrating the many victories I was blessed to experience, I know where I've been and I can turn toward New Years Eve with a sense of direction for further growth.
Remember, KNOW where you've been so you can move more confidently in to the FUTURE.
Most of all, enjoy the process of celebrating the incredible YOU that you are, and your growth, both in 2017 and moving in to 2018!
HAPPIEST OF NEW YEARS
to each of you!!
Let's WELCOME 2018 with OPEN ARMS and HEARTS!
More soon on dealing with Anxiety!! Until then, breathe and know you are not alone.