I cannot promise to be moan free this year - but I will try and keep it to a minimum. A dear friend posted the above picture on facebook today and it got me thinking........
I have been doing a lot of this over the last 12 months with the help of a very patient therapist and family. It is very easy to make flippant comments to people about letting go of the past, or letting bygones be bygones. However none of these are helpful if you haven't come to terms and made peace with your past. It doesn't mean you have to not care about the past, it doesn't mean your past becomes unimportant. Your past is goes with you as you travel through life and if you don't make peace with this travelling companion then it is going to be a very uncomfortable ride.
2. What other people think of you is none of your business.
Isn't this just so true! If people look at me and think I'm a lazy oaf who sits on the sofa all day doing nothing much - does that make it true? (well to be honest occasionally, it probably is). Of course it doesn't, these thoughts (if they exist) belong to other people and while I might spend too much time thinking this of myself because it's what I think other people are thinking it.......... it really is none of my business.
Sounds corny, but it is true. Though time is a construct that is individual to each of us. I have also noticed that some things heal more quickly than others, just like physical wounds do.
4. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Now this one made me think a little deeper. As a practising Christian I do believe that there is someone 'in charge' - God. However this faith also means that I have to accept that God gives us free will. Which then brings us around to the issue of happiness. We have the choice to be happy - really? yes, I really believe we do. When I first had some counselling a couple of years ago one of the first things my therapist said to me was that I used gallows laughter all the time. I didn't understand what this meant until she explained it and I realised that sometimes she was right. I laughed because if I didn't I would cry - I was laughing at the absurdity of the situations I was finding myself in. At the time I felt a little offended by this - it felt like she was telling me this was not a good thing. However as time has gone on I have noticed that actually my 'gallows' laughter is a part of the armour that God has given me to protect myself from all the absurdity around me. It isn't something I do to hide what is really going on for me, it is there to help me cope. And for that reason alone I think it is an absolute blessing!
5. Don't compare your life to others and don't judge them you don't know what their journey is all about.
Ouch, now this is a toughy. I have been called judgemental to my face twice in my life. Both times it has cut me down immediately. Once by someone who new me very well and once by someone who hardly knew me at all. It makes no difference to how it made me feel though. We all make judgements all the time, it is a necessary part of life. Do I want a cup of tea? Have I got time to do a bit more crochet? They are all decisions that I make after judging the merits of my situations. It is therefore inevitable that we will sometimes end up judging other people, but this is where I will refer back to point 2. If other people think I am judging them, that is their business not mine. And then back to point 1, make peace with the things that have happened in the past.
I do sometimes look at my life and wonder if I would be happier walking someone else's journey. However the journey of other peoples lives is obviously just the bits that I can see, I will never know someones whole journey. I might sometimes look with envy on those who have more physically able bodies than I have. However when I look at the rest of those peoples lives, I am soon brought back to earth with the contentment I need to carry on my own journey on my own path.
6. Stop thinking too much it's alright not to know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.
I love this! As someone with an appalling memory for important stuff, like peoples names - I really do know that complete joy when the name actually comes to you! In the age of google where you can get an answer (or at least think you have ) to almost everything in a few taps it is hard to sometimes just let things go. This is something I am daily challenged with by my two children, one a teenager, one almost there. My eldest particularly is very precise in nature and likes to have an answer to everything. I on the other hand am happy (usually) to leave loose ends.
7. Smile you don't own all the problems in the world.
Now I (along I am sure with many others) have been on the receiving end of someone telling you to smile when something awful has just happened - gah - it makes me gag just thinking about it! However if you are able to, a smile can make a world of difference to others. It can diffuse anger, it can restore hope, it can give you a brief moment of reprieve. I know this because I have been on the receiving end of others smiles in times of great need in my own life. I have also been privileged to be told by some lovely people that my smile lights up a room - this may or may not be true but it makes me feel fabulous!
So I cannot say that I think these are definitely 7 rules to live your life by, but I do think they are all very sound pointers. So much so that I am going to print it off for my 16 year old niece who is in a long term secure mental health unit. It will definitely give us something to talk about when I next go and visit!
I also saw this picture also recently
and decided this is going to be my motto for 2014. Saying what I feel has only really been possible through my blog, but slowly, slowly (very very slowly) I am starting to find my feeling voice in public with the people who mean most to me and hopefully this is going to continue into the new year.........