It’s that time of year again when we focus intensely on gifting. Presents for loved ones, donations to charity, giving our time to those who need it most. The gift of giving is beautiful, but we often overlook two things; presents and presence for ourselves. Scrooge may have had the task of looking back to his past, forward to his future, and at his present inflicted upon him, but at this time of year, taking a little time out to reflect is actually one of the greatest gifts we can gift ourselves.
You may think I’m crazy when I say this, and yes, I realise just how much there is to do right now, but let’s just take a moment (and it doesn’t have to be long) to be still and be thankful. Let’s look back at each day of the year just gone and think about the gifts we have received along the way. I’m not talking about physical gifts necessarily, but rather the relationships and experiences that have shaped our lives.
Cherish all your relationships
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Some last a lifetime, others are fleeting, but each and every one impacts us in some way. Think about the people you have loved this year and the ones you have lost. Be grateful for the lessons each and every one of these relatives, friends, neighbours, and colleagues has taught you.
It’s very easy, when we look back, to focus on the negative experiences, to dwell on what went wrong, but I challenge you not to do that. Don’t think about the toxicity of relationships, or the friendships that turned sour, look at the qualities these people instilled in you because they will have changed you in some way, making you wiser, stronger, and more resilient.
I also urge you not to focus on loss. This is hard, especially when someone we hold dear has left a huge hole in our hearts, but to focus on the past is to do these people a disservice. Instead, treasure the presence they had in your life, think intently about the joy and the love they brought you, and challenge yourself to move forward, carrying them in your heart and your mind.
Challenges are experiences
Next, think about the events that have shaped your life over the past 365 days. There may have been life-changing moments, landmark celebrations, and once-in-a-lifetime vacations, but there will inevitably also have been challenges and obstacles along the way. It’s human nature to think about what went wrong, to feel anger and disappointment at the hand destiny dealt us, but what purpose does this serve us? None.
Many of us fall into the trap of blaming others when things don’t go our way, but there’s no point in doing that. It won’t change things and it doesn’t help. Instead, I urge you to look to yourself for the solution. We alone control our destiny by the way we act, think, and feel.
The power of positivity
When we look back at the year just gone and the ones that went before with a positive mindset, we can move forward with joy in our hearts and lighter, brighter minds. And, as our thoughts affect our actions, values and beliefs, they influence the quality of our personal relationships and the way we see the world.
Positive thinking isn’t always easy, but it is hugely beneficial if we expect good health, happiness, and success, then it is much more likely that we will achieve them. If we focus on putting positivity into the world, that will be what we take out of it. Positive people attract positive people, they are more open to life’s opportunities, and they don’t let the past hold them back. As Walt Disney famously said, “if you dream it, you can do it.”
A gift from me to you
So, as we enter 2023, I’d like to give you a gift, the gift of positive thinking. If we start the new year focusing on the good in life, then chances are that is what we will attract, and the world will open up before us. Of course, we can’t just flick a switch on January 1st. This shift in mindset takes work, daily practice and that is why I urge you to take just a little bit of time out of your hectic festive schedule for reflection and resolution. Leave the past in the past, take out every little drop of good from what has gone before, and pledge to move forward with positivity in your mind and joy in your heart.
“What you think, you become.” Buddha
If you are looking for some ways to practice a more positive outlook daily, I share some ideas below to help get you started.
- Look for the silver lining in every cloud – there is always one.
- Focus on the good in people, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
- Stop talking yourself down – it is easy to be your own worst critic, but instead, become your biggest champion.
- Be still and be grateful – take some time each day to reflect on the good things that have happened and what you are grateful for.
- Keep a gratitude journal – the act of writing down the things you are thankful for is known to reinforce positive beliefs and thinking.
- Surround yourself with positive people – look for ‘showers,’ not ‘drains’! The people shower you with good thoughts, praise, and a positive outlook, rather than the drains that moan, groan and sap your energy.
- Love, laugh and be ‘light’ – find joy in relationships, humour in every day and make light of life’s challenges.
Of course, if you would like some help shifting your mindset as we start the new year, please get in touch to find out more about our live or digital “DARE to Discover your Purpose” programmes.