A new year. A chance for a new beginning, a new direction–a fresh start.
Some changes we make will be so welcome, we’ll open our arms and embrace them with enthusiasm and zeal and a “Oh, yes! Finally!”
We acknowledge them, accept them into our minds and hearts, and our attitude is, well, welcoming. We’re excited. We’ve wanted this and now we’re going to go for it. We’re determined. And we’re going to apply ourselves and exercise the discipline and devotion required to get it.
We believe in this change. We want and maybe even need it. And we have faith that it is good and right for us and that we have the skills and tools we need to embrace it. We aspire, and we believe.
And because we do acknowledge the change, what it is, why we want or need it, we know its place and its importance in our lives. Because we accept that it requires our effort to obtain this change. Because we have an open attitude and we’re ready to and willing to exercise application and aspire with the confidence that we can get it, we are worthy of having it, we sincerely choose to embrace it, the odds are very good that we will get it.
No. Of course not. Our view is limited to our perspective and, while we have all the elements in place to make wise choices, that limitation on our viewpoint prohibits us from seeing clearly our own big picture. The big picture that is the full view of the complete us. The big picture that knows something we think can be good and positive and constructive for us, isn’t. It somehow falls short of our greatest good.
Realizing this offers several critical insights:
1. Initiating change is a marvelous gift and, tested by us for its value and deemed good, we should go for it with everything we’ve got.
2.If we make the change, celebrate it. Consciously (our limited view) and subconsciously (our less limited view) the change was deemed good and we did it. That’s a good thing. A magnificent thing. Go us!
If we don’t make the change, before we condemn it (and ourselves for not making it) we need to examine the change closely.
A. Did we lose our determination? Our zeal? If so, we need to know why.
1. If we lacked discipline, then we need to work on that.
2. If we determined that the change wasn’t good for us after all, then we need to celebrate our grasping of that insight–and we need to know why the change wasn’t good for us.
a. If the change proves that it would have been just plain bad, then we should celebrate that we didn’t change. We didn’t get off track because we realized it soon enough to save ourselves from ourselves. We were spared the agony and consequences of bad choices. Celebrate being spared. Celebrate the wisdom gained–we won’t make that bad choice for that reason again!
b. If the change doesn’t prove it would have been bad or good–it appears good, it appears it would have been great, then we need to examine why we didn’t do it.
i. If we didn’t embrace the change because we were afraid of it for whatever reason, then we should celebrate recognizing the fear and determine why we were afraid. Eventually, we will work our way around to grasping that fear is a thief. It will steal all from us that we let it. And so we must choose to stare into fear’s face and do what we must do anyway, or to stare ourselves in the face and admit that we didn’t stand up to the fear. We chose to let it win. The first speaks of courage–not the absence of fear, but doing what we must do in spite of it–the second of cowardice–giving fear total control and power. We choose which, courage or cowardice, we embrace.
ii. If we didn’t embrace the change because we intuitively knew that, while it appeared good, something was amiss and it wasn’t just insecurity or fear holding us back, then we should celebrate. We often subconsciously work through things and note challenges that take much longer for us to realize on a conscious level. We trusted our instincts, and that means we’re working in harmony with our entire selves and that’s growth–and success. We celebrate growth and success.
There are occasions and situations when we can’t see down roads we don’t take. There are times when we can’t project whether or not a change would have been detrimental or constructive and all we have is the knowledge that we did or did not embrace the change.
It is those times that are most difficult on us because we tend to gnaw on whatever decision we made, fearing we made the wrong one and we’ll pay the price for being wrong forever.
Sometimes, that’s inevitable. Life’s lessons don’t come easily. They smack us hard to get and keep our attention. But even then, is that a bad thing? Only if we choose to let it be. We take hard lessons in deep, and often, because we do, we’re spared even harder lessons. There’s merit in that. Good comes from it.
Too often we’re programmed to see the good in good and to avoid all bad. But bad experiences have value–and they can have very good outcomes. They can prepare and season us. If, for example, you went to pitch in a world series, only you’d never played ball, the experience couldn’t be a good one. But what if you’d nearly been born playing baseball? What if you’d suffered your share of sore arms, broken fingers, bruised elbows, and strained shoulders all along the way? Sports injuries that cost you dearly. Precluded you from playing in key games, the regional tournament. One cost you a scholarship. You really, really wanted that scholarship. You needed that scholarship. And you didn’t get it.
Now back when these injuries occurred, you would have believed with all your heart that these were bad experiences. Awful, painful ones that frustrated and upset you for their injustice.
But now you’re headed to the world series. And you’re put into a position where you can do xyz. You want to do xyz; the temptation is strong. But because you had that strained shoulder in high school and blew the pass that would have gotten you that coveted scholarship, you knew better now. You recognized unstated risks and decided they were too high to pay again. This time, you chose not to act. And because you didn’t, you walk into the world series uninjured.
So did the “bad” high school experience have value? It sucked when it happened, but that didn’t deem it worthless. Wisdom was gained. At a price, but wisdom worth having isn’t cheap. Now that wisdom spared your bacon. Now that’s something to celebrate, too, eh?
So here’s the question: When’s the last time you celebrated (or saw the good in) a bad experience?
Tough one, I know. I battle it all the time. It’s hard to be grateful for the “bad” and that’s the simple truth. But there are often gems in them. Gems in disguise.
And there are those times when we just don’t know why change or something we want desperately doesn’t work out. It is these times that are especially trying because they hit us on every level–physical, emotional and spiritual. What affects the body or the emotions can be difficult. But what tries the soul is hands down the worst.
Yet if we’ve done all we can to make wise choices and to examine and understand, then we’ve done all we can do. We know it, and we must have faith in ourselves–we’ve done our part to earn our trust–and be at peace. What we need to know will come to us. Awake or asleep. Because we seek it, or because it finds us.
In believing that, there is comfort.
In knowing that, there is contentment.
So happy 2008. My wish for you is this:
May you have trust and faith. May you find comfort in change, or in its absence. May wisdom be your gift and guide, and celebration your constant companion. And most of all, in all you do, I wish you contentment.