We are approaching the start of a new year: 2017. There is nothing like the time toward the end of December, it’s the time where many of us reflect on the year that is ending, and the hopes that lie in the one that is beginning.
We make resolutions, we construct new goals, and take off old ones. As we sit in this place of contemplation, I hope that one theme comes through and that’s to do different.
I was talking to a friend the other day, and I was trying to understand what is a marker of successful people. The conversation quickly lead to an epiphany, those who find continual success do different. Change is constant, and the need to do different is introduced to all of us. If we want success we have to do different.
When I moved to Chicago, I was in a time of adjustment in many areas of life. I yearned for community, and would sit, and journal…ruminating on how to build the community I was longing for, how to fill the void of loneliness I felt. In conversation with a good therapist, I realized I needed to different. With an air of reluctance (sometimes the biggest breakthroughs are in the spaces we feel fear, because often the biggest barrier is ourselves) – I joined a sport league, developed a book club, and went to various Meet-ups across the city. I was nervous each time, filled with social anxiety, but I knew sitting at home ruminating and journaling was not going to get me any closer to having the community I desired.
The idea of doing different is spiritual. Those who believe in a higher power, have to understand, that the first marker that we are ready, able, and prepared for the things we hope for is rooted in our behavior. You see, for me, I needed to show to myself, and to my Creator, that the community I prayed for is one that I truly wanted – that could only happen by me taking the first step of action to build said community by joining different groups and putting myself out there. – That my friends is the essence of what is said in the biblical passage, “faith without works is dead”
So, declare to do different. If you have been longing for love and companionship, do different. For example, I have a friend who has a check list of what they want in a partner…now, I am all about setting good expectations, and knowing your worth, but this checklist could probably only be met by Jesus (or any other ultimate spiritual figure)…the byproduct of this “checklist” is my friend is single. For my friend to find the love that is waiting, it might be useful to attend to that “check list” while a person who is 6’6 and makes $250K a year is great, the love that is harnessed for my friend (and for all of us) might not come in that distinct of a package. Do different.
For those who is struggling with weight and find food is a friend in moments of celebration, the comforter in times of pain…it might be useful, to say I am going to practice moments of conscious self love by turning to friends in human form to comfort and to celebrate me. The next time, I find a moment to celebrate, rather than go out for a good meal, perhaps I will continue the trend for success, and ask a friend to join me for a nice walk, a good movie, or a car ride with no sense of time or intended destination (sometimes that is where some of the best conversations occur).
And finally, for many of us, it might be time do different, instead of consuming ourselves with our work, with our partners, and with our kids, making excuses for why we don’t attend to ourselves, because in truth we are using all those things to distract us from our own emotional wounds, it might be a good point to think about therapy. In the United States, we still come with much taboo and stigma about therapy…we often equate therapy as a sign of weakness, my belief is to the contrary, to go to therapy is the ultimate measure of strength, because strength is found in vulnerability – vulnerability is space in which we ask for help.
For those who are looking for “joy in a new beginning” do different. For those who experienced joy in the year that is ending, let not complacency sit in now, continue to do different so that 2017 lives up the possibility of being the best year yet.