The New Year brings an opportunity for most people to review their current circumstances and consider making some different choices. For many, the recent holidays exacerbated the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not enough money. Too much chaos. Not enough time alone. Too much time together. Look through the wrong lens and even a minuscule event becomes humongous depending on your perspective. Put two people in the exact same circumstance and one will be negative, complaining and enduring life while the other will be happy, grateful and enjoying life. The only difference is their perspective.
From the time we are children, we are led to believe that love, happiness and joy as well as anger, fear and hate are things that happen to us. When happy events occur we are happy and when unhappy events descend upon us, we are unhappy because we must respond to the external circumstances. Right now, is there a person you feel sad about because they are missing from your life or is there a person that makes you feel sad because they are part of your life? Feelings are not just emotions that happen to you; they are reactions you have chosen for yourself. You have the power to choose how you feel every day in every situation in your life. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. If you have not been controlling your thoughts, then who has? Your friends? Your spouse? Your boss? If someone else has been in charge of your thoughts and emotional responses then make a New Year’s resolution to correct this flawed way of thinking.
Happiness is a natural condition built into us from the very beginning. You may not be able to see it or feel it right now, but it is there. Now is as good a time as any to work toward restoring this as your natural state of being. In the days to come, begin to examine your life knowing that you have the capacity to make choices in your emotional responses to your current circumstances. You are the sum total of the choices you have made in the past. If you don’t like your life, it is because you have made wrong choices. Knowing that, the responsibility becomes completely yours.
Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year because people seem to make a conscious effort to incorporate gratitude into their daily life. With hope and faith as my wing-men gratitude is at the center of my life and hopefully it is for you, too. Learning to appreciate all circumstances for the lessons they bring – good or bad – took a long time to learn, but it was worth it. First I had to run through that mixed up stage of my life where I believed more stuff would give me more reasons to be grateful. But the real lesson occurred when I lost my high-flying job and figured out that I could be grateful when I had nothing at all. I realized that the happiest people often didn’t have the most and the best; they just made the most and best of everything they had.
What good was it if I had gained the whole world and lost myself in the process? Emptiness cannot be filled with a new house, new career, new friend, or by anything that’s for sale. Search high and low, find all the experiences that the world has to offer, own them, possess them, consume them and you still may not be fulfilled. Learning to appreciate exactly what you have and who you are at this moment is a possibility open to everyone, yet few experience it. I’ve personally found something simple that takes minutes a day to fill in the missing pieces. My personal affirmation is made up of the qualities I need the most. I AM whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, happy, healthy, productive and prosperous. I use it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and as necessary in-between. There are days when I am in constant need of repeating it. The beauty is you can use it for others who need it as well. For the crabby crappy people in my life, if I am going to talk about them, then it might as well be something positive by wishing the same for them. I believe we get back what we give. This selfless act of thinking positive thoughts for someone else will reap more benefits than any shopping spree. In this season of gratitude, be thankful for everything that is going on in your life.
Don’t be selective about what to appreciate; just appreciate all of it because there are plenty of people who would trade places with you, no matter how bad you think you have it. Bless your circumstances and release any bitterness, doubt, fear or misunderstandings that have taken up residence. Take the best from every situation and let the rest go. Open the door to gratitude and forgiveness allowing divine love to work its magic.