“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
It’s New Years, and no matter how dire the past year may have been, fresh hope explodes with the turn of the calendar page. Millions of people are making resolutions. Gurus are writing up a storm and Twitter is ablaze with quotes and ideas to help people achieve success.
This time of year, we celebrate hope. And the prospect of good changes on the horizon. And all the ways we want to grow over the coming year.
In all the future-centered celebration, however, don’t forget to celebrate all you’ve done and the ways you’ve grown since last New Years! As Holmes says, all that’s ahead is a tiny matter “compared to what lives within us.” And what does live within us? A lot more than we often give ourselves credit for! So here are a few ideas to get you started in celebrating you this New Year:
Celebrate what you’ve accomplished.
There’s nothing more disheartening for a mom than to feel we’re not doing anything of value. Of course we know raising our children well is the most valuable thing we can give our families, but it’s hard to keep that in mind in the short term. Sometimes we need to give ourselves credit for the basics, like Teri Le Sharp did recently as she exclaimed, “I survived!” when asked what she was proud of in the past month. A friend recently challenged me to write down 100 things I’d accomplished this year and I balked at the idea. But as I started to write, I realized that things like changing the toilet paper (while your kids are fighting and your toddler is having a potty training accident in the dining room!) is actually quite amazing. So start writing – the big and small stuff you’ve done this year. Try to think of 100 things… and celebrate what you’ve accomplished!
Celebrate how you’ve grown and overcome.
Spend a moment with yourself as a younger adult and let her inspire you. We can start to feel helpless in the now, with all the challenges we face as women, wives and moms. But we’re not at all helpless. If you doubt this, spend a few minutes having a chat with you from 10 years ago. Enjoy her spontaneity. Her youthful appearance. And the fact that she didn’t have a clue, but somehow figured it out back then… that she became the you of today – a wonderful woman, friend, mother. She (you!) didn’t fall apart. Revisiting that history gives confidence for what we’re facing today.
Celebrate the body you have today.
Julie Barnhill, in her book Scandalous Grace, asks in the last chapter, “What if you woke up in the morning and never thought about your weight?” Well, what if?? The thing is, it isn’t doing most of us any good to dislike what we see in our mirror or on the scale. It’s making us feel ugly when we might feel just fine in our clothes and our husbands love us just as much as when we fit our high school jeans. So if it’s not a medical issue for you, dump the scale and decide to celebrate the skin you’re in instead of grieving about it.
We’ve all erred in our relationships in 2010. It may have been snapping at your husband in the car. It might have been that thing you regret saying to an old friend or a parent. If you haven’t done so already, make the choice to forgive their part in that moment. And then turn around and decide to forgive yourself for your part. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give those we love, and one of the most important things for our own peace when we’re the recipient of it. Celebrate the healing and opportunity for love that forgiveness has provided you this year.
Celebrate your strengths.
What are you great at? What comes naturally? Chances are, you’ve seen those areas be a blessing to others this year (or maybe even to you too). Celebrate those strengths. And if there’s something about you that’s driving you nuts, chances are, there is strength in there that’s waiting to be discovered. Find it this way: every time you think “darn it, I just did that again!” spend a moment figuring out just exactly what “that” is. Do you talk a lot? You probably have strengths in communication. Celebrate that, and look for ways to grow the “good side” of your strengths instead of spending energy making yourself feel bad for how you’re wired.
What are you celebrating in your life as the New Year arrives?