Hi there 🙂 Thanks for reading! If you have been a reader in the past, welcome back and if you are new… I hope you find the following post helpful! It is my intent to share Mindful Mondays Posts on The Invisible Warrior every week. Last year the initiative was put on hold while I scrambled to get life together & took a writing class. But hey nobody is perfect!! Thank you for staying with me & following my life as it unfolds. Things are certainly getting interesting! Happy New Year Warriors!
The New Year is upon us. It is fresh, green and full of hope & dreams. Most of us go into the New Year making resolutions on things we can do to enhance our lives. Resolutions are made to make us prettier, smarter, thinner, well read, stronger, happy and to find or deepen our love with our partners. In a nutshell we are seeking to fulfill a void that we perceive as not being “good enough”. We seek out the negative and fixate on it resulting in believing we cannot move forward and don’t deserve to move forward until we have “fixed” this problem area.
My question for this Mindful Monday is this: How many people celebrate themselves at the end of the year?
And I don’t mean going out and taking 15 shots on NYE (I’ve been guilty of this as well!) I am talking about how many start the dialogue with yourself that praises your achievements, perseverance or your genuine spirit?
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? (I may have dated myself here!)
As a culture I believe we have shifted to a more negative view of our society and of ourselves as we reflect back on the last 365 days. To be fair, that negativity is probably rooted in truth but in order to make change within our communities and in our personal lives, we need to move forward. And moving forward means letting go of what is holding you back.
Oftentimes events in the past can hold such a heavy and negative presence in our everyday lives that it wears us down, effects our thought patterns and can even affect our relationships.
If you are feeling bitter about 2016, recognize why you are feeling that way. This challenges us to be mindful about how actions affect us. When examining our negative reactions, take a closer look and ask yourself these 4 questions.
- Was/is this out of your control?
- Is the way you feel going to make the situation/event better?
- Would it benefit you to release this (or in Elsa’s words, Let It Go)?
- What is within your control about this situation/event?
Looking back on my year:
I had a very tough 2016. My long term relationship with the man that I loved ended, I was in the hospital more times than I wish to recall, I had to purchase a wheelchair because of a loss in mobility and my big Golden tore his ACL resulting in a pretty expensive procedure. Pretty rough right?? The old me would have ruminated, tossed and turned and held onto all of these negative events, unable to move forward. However, my practice in mindfulness & meditation allows me to see that I can’t control any of the scenarios that greatly affected me. The way that I felt about them wasn’t going to do me any good so I had to shift my perspective.
Yes my relationship ended, but it allowed me to see that I am more compatible with other guys and I have gone on fun dates! The hospital thing- yes that was tough but I focused on the positive that came out of those. I was able to teach residents, fellows and nursing students about the rare disease CRPS, I made genuine connections with my nurses and I was able to write about my experience which impacted others and continued to break down the stigma of CRPS. (I also had a successful treatment on the last go around!) The wheelchair was also a tough reality but it inspired me, allowed me to be out in public longer by allowing me to rest and made it possible for me to get through the grocery store for almost a year. Lastly Abe’s surgery, which constituted as another significant misfortune. However, a Gofundme was created and my friends and family helped raise every single penny for the surgery. I was also able to be with Abe throughout his recovery and together we began taking short walks to build strength. Now both of us are walking over a mile every day!!
Changing how you perceive things is challenging but it also has a big pay off. You can acknowledge the things that are happening but you do not have to attach yourself to them or feel that you are a victim time and time again. Realize that there is more than one side to every story.
Create your narrative. Own your story. Celebrate you! Move forward with the stuff you cannot change and focus on what you can change!
Now that we can let go of negative views on the last year, there is one more challenge I am asking of you today. My question for you is, what can you celebrate about your last year? What did you do well? Were you a good friend? Were you a good parent? Did you learn how to cook an amazing dish? Did you share kindness with others? What was Awesome about 2016???
And don’t add a but in your statement. Attaching the negative, cancels out the positive in this instance.
- ‘I was a good friend this year but I forgot a few birthdays.’
- ‘I got a raise at my job for all my hard work but I blew all my money.”
- ‘I knocked off a minute from my daily runs but I ate terrible on the weekends.”
When you add “but” you are discrediting the good that you have achieved. You deserve the recognition, the high five and the fulfillment that comes with feeling great about what you have accomplished!!
In today’s world we struggle with celebrating ourselves. We even have trouble accepting a compliment from someone else! (This is something that I am working on as well!)
- “ Your hair is looking really great today!” Friend A
- “Ugh…this hair?? You’ve got to be kidding!! This hair is a mess! Look at these roots! The dead ends, the frizz!!” Friend B
- Friend A, stands silent.
You absolutely have to knock this out. If someone gives you a compliment say “THANK YOU”!!! A compliment is not an opening for you to gripe & complain. It is a moment for you to ACCEPT the compliment and PRAISE yourself. Be mindful of this person and what they have said. Perhaps what they are saying is true and you are having a really great hair day, found a stunning dress or are reaping the benefits of your new gym routine. If you continue to challenge every compliment that is thrown your way, you may find people stop saying things. So next time your friend says, “Your hair is looking really great today!” Smile and say “thanks!” You can even add, “I appreciate you saying that, because sometimes I struggle with managing these waves!”
Becoming more Mindful doesn’t happen overnight, at the end of a great article, or one yoga class. The act of being mindful is something that we work on/practice everyday. It challenges you to have a healthier, positive, less stressed attitude!!
Leave a comment to share how you are celebrating you! I would love to hear from you 🙂
Notice the small things. Appreciate your strengths & don’t allow events in 2016 to continue to weigh you down. 2017 is waiting for you!!!
Much Metta (loving Kindness),