Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Well it’s almost the New Year and many people are formulating New Year Resolutions. Whatever you may or may not be planning, here are some things that I believe even with a modest amount of attention on your part will have a positive impact your New Year.

Allow yourself to notice when you are comparing yourself to others. This includes comparing yourself to your past self, or your “ideal self.” For example, in my teens I used to run competitively and could run sub six minute miles. Five decades later, six minute miles are a pipe dream. I could get angry and give up running altogether, but I continue to run for the sheer enjoyment exercise and movement. Comparisons most always leave you feeling “less than”. I hear this all the time from my clients and even my own internal voice, “my friends are handling their lives better than I am.” The reality is we really don’t know what someone else is actually feeling. So what you believe to be a “calm and collected” individual may actually be a burning inferno of emotion on the inside. The idea here is to simply become aware that you are engaging in comparison. Gently embrace this fact and simply just inform yourself that what you believe may not be true. As you allow this realization to permeate your consciousness see what insights you uncover.

Understand your fears for what they are. Fear is a feeling that imposes harsh limitations on your life and will keep you from living a life of infinite possibilities. Perhaps you want to try something, like start a business, or learn a new skill. Fear would dictate, “Why bother to try, it’ll fail anyway.” The question you can ask at this point is, “how do I know that?” If you never try, you will be guaranteeing the failure you fear. The difference between can and can’t is the letter “T”. The “T” stands for Try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Do not let fear stop you from your passion.

Live life in the NOW. This is a sub component of the previous idea is that all fears originate and are sustained in thoughts and projections about the future or thoughts about the past that we drag into our present. We are never afraid of what we don’t know; (because there is absolutely NO thing to know) we are always afraid of what we THINK we know. I was chatting with a man who expressed his fears of going on his “first vacation ever.” He explained to me that he “is totally incapable of being able to relax and have fun.” I asked him to consider this idea is, and has been true up to this point in his life. I then asked him to consider what any financial planner would say about any investment fund, “that past performance of any investment fund is not indicative of future performance.” Once he was able to grasp this, I then asked him if he could PROVE that he will not be able to relax and have fun on his vacation. He thought for a while and said, “NO”. I then asked him to consider that since he could not prove his belief of not being capable of relaxing and having fun, if he could see the arbitrary nature of this belief. After a long pause, he shook his head yes, and looked up and said that he is “actually starting to feel excited to go on his trip”. His belief in the past carried into his future, and was ruining his present moment. A wise teacher once told me that, “you can’t breathe tomorrow’s air today.” Allow yourself to apply this principle to your own life, and observe what happens.

Love and be kind to yourself. So much of our suffering is internal self degradation. We often don’t need others to hurt us as we will willingly heap abuse on to ourselves. I find so many people engaging in this behavior whether consciously or not. Here is an analogy I can offer. If someone is hitting you with a steel pipe, you are in trouble. In order to get that person to stop, you must somehow find a way to get the pipe away from them. That is not going to be easy. However if you are hitting yourself with a steel pipe, that is good news as all you need to do is put the pipe down. The simple act of noticing is the key here. As you notice the habit of picking up and putting down the pipe, the more likely you will find yourself putting it down. Repitition is the key here. You won’t automatically put the pipe down. When you notice yourself engaging in that behavior, the more likely you will put the pipe down, until the amount of time you spend hitting yourself gradually fades over time. The idea behind this is, awareness heals.

I offer these ideas for you to merely try and apply in your life. Take notice of what happens when you do. It is my prayer that you have a beautiful and fulfilling New Year.

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