A New Year – a brand new me
10 Points to look at to build a healthy, balanced approach to life.
A New Year always brings within its first month the scent of change. For me, January wears a heady perfume of new resolutions, reflections with a slight undertone of regret. January is the year’s new paragraph; for me, it is also a very special month. My daughter was born on the first and I married my husband on the last of its days, in between these two celebrations I always find myself vowing to be a better version of myself. Generally, it takes the form of a Warrant of Fitness, where I check my health, eating and exercise habits, moderate my drinking and have a good cleanout of my life’s debris. I mentally make a list of places I want to go, people I want to see and things I would like to achieve. I sometimes even write these things down, but as you know by now, my random scrawlings are often lost to the wind. My plans are normally a little loose and by March mostly forgotten, I suspect this is a typical pattern. Hear my cry THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT.
I am emerging from family life and reclaiming my old identity. My children are old enough now to be much more independent and are moving elegantly to adulthood. I find myself with a little more time to just, be me. I will, out of habit I suspect, make a list and promise myself agendas but I am also consciously searching for a calmer path, a more contented journey forward and I want to choose my footsteps carefully. I am healthy, happy, loved and have so very much to be grateful for. Am I truly happy? I should be, but something pulls at the corner of my sheets at night, I wake up but can never catch it.
I remember that a child’s learning was explained to me thus. When a child is born they bring with them a bucket full of holes, in which they must hold knowledge. These holes must be plugged with learning and understanding in order that it may be filled. I have always loved the analogy, it made perfect sense to me, I have stolen it. I think of my life as such a bucket, holding the liquid of happiness. It stands to reason that by closing the holes I will experience the best happiness I can. If I don’t, my happiness will leak and I will spend endless time and energy trying to refill said bucket, never ever achieving the fullness and balance I am trying to gain by pouring all the other liquid in. The problem is I don’t know where the holes are.I have been reading much lately on this subject looking for some practical and expert advice. To be honest, it had all got a little preachy and grown into an uninspiring blah, no secret of a happy life jackpot.
Then I read Patricia Furness-Smith, booklet Well-Being. A digestible, common sense read but best of all a list, an itinerary for my outbound journey to optimize my mental health. I actually found the holes in my bucket in bullet form and instructions on how to plug them. DING DING DING Jackpot. As I read through the list and explored their meanings I discovered that I naturally comply with most of the concepts. There were, however, one or two that were causing the leaks, and this year it is these I intend to fix. I found this a simple exercise and repeat the list here to remind me of my promise and to share with my children that if they ever cause to wonder why they are not quite happy, yet are emersed in a wonderful, full life. READ THIS BOOK and if nothing else do this exercise
Patricia instructs you to read through the list below, if any of the ideas are not clear scan down to the concepts behind the statements, and rate how well you look after yourself for each point on a scale of 0-10. Ten means you address this area to the maximum, and zero means you totally neglect this aspect of your life. Any areas that score less than 5 would benefit from being worked on. Have a hard look at any score of 3 or less, this needs immediate attention. If your total score is 90 plus, with no particular concept dropping below an 8, congratulations are in order, you should keep on living just how you are. For the rest of us, ask yourself truthfully, on a scale of 1-10, every day do you….
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude
- Value your relationships
- Live in your element
- Invest in others
- Focus on experiences
- Take risks and accept challenges
- Embrace humour
- Let optimism be your default stance
- Conclude each day with positive reflections
She then goes on to explain the concepts in detail with sticky tape advice. Number 2 is something I will be working on and I give you a synopsis below.
Harboring resentment has a cost, can you afford to pay it. By letting go of the hurts from the past, you free up energy for more constructive purposes. You have already paid the price once, whoever has offended you or let you down in some way has already robbed you in terms of trust or self-esteem. Regardless of the damage done, try and move on, draw a line under the hurt, otherwise you are bound, in a negative way to that person forever.
Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong – sometimes it’s letting go.
It is also vital that we learn to forgive ourselves. many of us find this far more difficult to achieve. holding onto guilt from a previous action eats away at your self-esteem and inner peace. Treat yourself and others with compassion when mistakes are made, nobody is perfect.
Actually, I might just go and buy another two copies and wrap them up for 21st Birthday presents to be opened in an emergency but I am guessing after 40, my advice would be before then.