Pause to reflect on what makes you proud and what you have learned that will help you move forward with gratitude and grace
If the only prayer you ever say is Thank You, that will be enough.— Eckhart Tolle
Another year is almost gone with the good and bad, ups and downs. It’s all part of life, isn’t it? It’s time for a brand new year soon, a time when it is common to translate our hopes, wants, and dreams into new year resolutions. That is great because by staying engaged and committed, keeping a positive vision of whatever we want to achieve, we move forward.
They say the future belongs to those who can see it coming; I believe that is true. A dream without action is nothing but a dream. However, I am here to highlight a mistake I used to do repeatedly in the past. Each time I was stepping into a new year, I used to jump into making fresh plans and setting new goals for myself.What I missed was the need to look back at the current year as an all-inclusive whole package: the bright side of results and successes, as well as (often perceived) failures, new learnings, and possible blessings in disguise.
Here are two powerful questions I am now asking myself each time I am stepping into a new year:
1. What Am I Most Proud Of?
As a former perfectionist and over-achiever, I used to put myself down and minimize my accomplishments, as if “it wasn’t anything big enough or special” or “anyone else could have made it.” I used to attribute my achievements to either luck, destiny, or other people who gave me infinite chances to succeed.
When we are struggling with this frustrating need for perfection, nothing seems good enough. We are always looking for more to do, to feel happy and satisfied, and the truth is we’re never there because we would always want more.
Today, I learned to acknowledge and celebrate myself — in the same way I celebrate other people. I stopped taking myself for granted or making myself small so that others would feel good around me. That is not selfish, but fair. Like everyone else, I am also a person, worthy of my appreciation, compassion, and care. That’s not about Ego or showing off. It’s all about knowing that in most cases, it’s been a lot of hard work and efforts behind my so-perceived ‘luck’.
2018 has been hectic. My husband and I moved from Mexico to Dubai. We got to live in three houses and six different hotels with lots of suitcases to pack and unpack, and administrative issues and stresses to handle. I never realized how resilient we both have become in confronting challenging situations, and how capable we are dealing with change.
If you also tend to take yourself for granted, I am inviting you to reflect on the past year by asking yourself the following questions:
- In this past year, my main accomplishments were…
- In this past year, I was most proud of…
- In this past year, I acknowledge myself for…
Remember, your answers don’t have to be big, like saving someone’s life. No matter how small, put it on your list. It could be new skills you acquired, a personal transformation, developing new habits, moving into a new house, helping someone else or yourself, getting out from your comfort zone, or making changes that had a positive impact on your life. List everything related to both your personal life and career.
Once you have made your list, it’s time to celebrate. Do something special for yourself. Pamper yourself with something you enjoy. Buy yourself something nice. Treat yourself to a massage. Do whatever makes you feel good because you want to, and because you are worth it.
2. What is My Learning?
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis, which usually comes along with infertility issues. I had surgery in South Korea, which was a success. The surgeon worked on my physical body; my job was to work on my emotional and mental health to enjoy this beautiful gift called life.
In my life, I am the one making the rules.
Babies are independent spirits, born to learn and grow, not souls I would ever possess. I have never considered having children in order to keep my tank full of joy and fulfillment. Likewise, I have never wanted to have children in order to please other people (make my parents happy) or place a society-imposed box around what the role of a woman should be. I trust the flow of life, so I let it decide if I was going to be a mother or not.
And here I am, in my forties, pregnant for the very first time and waiting for our baby girl to come to this world in spring next year. It comes along with wonder, excitement, curiosity and much joy. It is a time of rebirth.
I choose to believe we live in a supportive Universe where everything happens for our highest good. I learned to stop asking for what I want and, instead, start asking for what I need. Life wants me to be a mother — and a tiny, delicate human creature will need my support.
On the downside, it’s been a year of loss, with our dear godfather killed in a car crash. I can recall the advice he gave my husband and me during our last phone conversation: “I’ve spent 40 years of my life always running somewhere, wanting to do more and achieve more. Now that I am retired, I finally have time. I came to realize it’s not all about keeping ourselves busy; we sometimes need to relax and enjoy the small pleasures of life.”Dealing with loss came like a wake-up call that got me grounded. I was almost falling into the trap of projecting my life into an imaginary future and missing the only reality that ever is: the here and now.
I used to think thoughts like “Someday, when I do this or get that, I will be happy.” Instead, now I am grateful for everything I’ve received in life: the miracle of the baby that’s growing inside of me, a healthy body and mind, a loving husband and family, great friends (not many, but true ones), the home I live in, nice vacations I can afford, and for doing the work I love and believe in. Dear Universe, for all this I say, Thank You.
All is well in my world. Life loves me, and I am safe.— Louise Hay
Read more from Sara Fabian on this site on her author page.