S is for Success
So when it's the end of the year, and you're thinking about the year that passed, and the year to come, how do you reflect? Do you count your blessings and the successes of the year? Or do you focus on the negatives, the failures and the tough spots of the year? Or do you consider both?
Something that has been significant this year, are the number of celebrities who have passed away. I wonder how they saw their lives. If they could have told us a reflection on their lives, would they have recounted their successes, or focussed on the tough times in their life?
How you focus on life can be labelled as optimism or pessimism. An optimist sees life in a positive way, even when challenges and struggles come. They know eventually the difficulties will pass. A pessimist sees everything in a negative light. Even a bright sunny day is a bad thing. This is something I talk to my children about a lot as it is so easy to be a pessimist and see life as always hard; always one stumbling block after another; as one tragedy after another; as a constant cloudy or stormy day. It takes a total change in our view of life to become a optimist. Being an optimist doesn't mean that you don't acknowledge, and even groan about, what you're going through. But you don't stay in that state of 'everything's bad, nothing's going to change, my life sucks, there's nothing worth living for' state of mind. You say, 'yeah this sucks at the moment, but I'm going to stick it out, be brave, look for something good in each day (even if it's that you drank a cup of coffee) and pray for better times to come along soon.'
Over the past six months or so my husband has been suffering badly from kidney stone pain. This has limited what he can do. He finally was booked into surgery in December, then fell two days before, fracturing a rib. This delayed his surgery and he is still in constant pain, spending every day lying on the couch. This has limited our Christmas festivities. If I could drive, then it wouldn't have such an impact on the rest of the family, as I would be able to keep on doing what my husband normally does as the carer. I can't drive because of my visual impairment. I never have and never will. This thorn in my flesh as I call it, has really angered me over this time. I and the kids have walked when my husband would have taken us in the car, we've needed to rely on friends, take public transport, or just not do activities that we would normally do. I have been frustrated, but there is nothing that can be done to change the situation. I have just had to accept this is how it is at the moment until eventually one day life will get back to normal. If I look for the successes in this situation, it would be that I have been able to cope with the extra stresses and workload, my friends are happy to help if they can, and staying home has given me more time to write. :)
Is there something you have had to accept this year? Something that you've had to cope with? Maybe a sickness, a passing of a loved one, financial woes, loss of employment. There are so many things that can just hit suddenly and knock us for a six.
Successes are not necessarily financial. Nor are they job-related, as is commonly thought of. Successes in my opinion are the positive things that have happened to a person. They can be really small through to significant events. They are personal and unique.
So what do I see as my successes for 2016?
* I studied my Certificate IV in Youth Work and have applied for school chaplaincy positions.
* I published two children's novels - Ride High Pineapple and Brockwell the Brave.
* I performed my first author talk, and my first speaking engagement.
* I stretched myself out of my comfort zone and grew in knowledge, wisdom and courage.
* I continued to manage my anxiety and depression.
* I helped people where I could, even if it was just an ear to listen.
* I loved and supported my family through the ups and downs of life.
* I spread awareness about facial differences, mental illnesses and Down syndrome.
* I tried to do more self-care activities.
* Some days it was just to get out of bed and drink a cup of coffee, or two, or three...
What are your successes for the year?
If you are having trouble thinking of successes, this diagram might help. Answer these questions. During 2016 have you:
* Worked hard at something? Persisted at doing something when it was hard?
* Tried to improve? Focussed on an aspect of your life e.g. maybe you tried to exercise more?
* Did you follow a passion or have some new ideas about hobbies or activities you could do?
* Did you push yourself when you didn't want to do something, even if it was getting out of bed in the morning?
* Did you help or encourage someone?
Well in those thoughts, you had successes. Maybe you hadn't even considered those things.
So to finish with, as the clock ticks down to the end of 2016, I would like to wish you good health, love and God's blessings for 2017. And tomorrow night when you celebrate New Years Eve, focus on your successes from the year, and look forward to the successes that will come in 2017.