We often begin a new year by focusing upon the struggles, upsets, and pain sources we want to eliminate in the future. In a sense, this is eminently understandable. Yet, if we’re going to flourish and experience our best life, it becomes essential to shift our focus away from what we resist and begin to envision a life that pulls us into it.
That Which We Resist WILL Persist Now, And Forever, If Not Careful.
That statement is an old clinical axiom that remains true over and over again. In life, we have pain. We have people and situations which bring us stress and angst. We have inner struggles that cause sadness or anger. It is normal for the brain to focus on these issues and create a stronger relationship with what we resist. The very act of mental resistance to what we do not like or do not want in our life serves to empower and strengthen what we resist. Thus, we must find a way to move out of the state of resistance and the intimate relationship we build internally with our pain and suffering. And we do this by considering what we seek, and we begin to invest our energies and our life into the better life we envision.
Instead, Envision Your Best Possible Self Having Moved Past All You Resisted Last Year
While tempting to believe that envisioning a better future through a change in external circumstances will end our struggles, many experienced this as false. The desire to have a better life through changing circumstances first (rather than changing our response to events) is the easy way out and only leads to frustration and failure. We must do the work to change ourselves to be better prepared, better able, and more resourceful in the face of the circumstances we experience.
Research strongly supports the notion that we will experience increased optimism, happiness, and success by visualizing the best possible version of ourselves that we can imagine. In other words, we envision a life where everything has unfolded in the way we want, and in the process, we have evolved to be the best person we can be. Now come up, imagine being that person. Imagine being that happy, that kind, that free to enjoy and respond to whatever life gives you with enthusiasm and competency.
Thus, The first step to flourishing this year is to begin to create a clear vision of who you will be on a day-to-day basis as your best possible view. What characteristics will you bring to your day? Who will you be in the face of stress or challenges? How will you bring love and compassion to those you love? How will you find more acceptance and be in harmony with those who disagreed with your views of life? All these questions are pointers two actualizing a vivid image that captures the best possible you. Just take a few moments each morning to envision this ‘best possible you’ and then walk through your day, bringing that version of you to life. This is how we start.
The Daily Three For This Year
Numerous studies point to various commitments we could make to lighten the load of anxiety, depression, and stress. More importantly, adherence to higher values has proven to bring about more happiness, greater optimism, and more fulfillment in life.
Based upon my reading of the research and my personal experience of the impact of these choices, I am suggesting three daily commitments toward higher values that will predictably help you to flourish in the year ahead. These are also my personal commitments that are a part of my vision for this year. Thus, I not only endorse these, but I intend to live these more fully in the year ahead.
1) Forgiveness Of Everything And Everyone My Mind Wants To Judge
Minds are amazing machines. Yet, the programming we live with is given to us by our parents, teachers, society, and all the relationships that have impacted us. Also, TV, newspapers, social media, Facebook, and Twitter, to mention a few, also influence these thoughts and beliefs that cause us to judge our world and those around us in harsh and angry ways.
What is the consequence of all that natural judgment? We get angry, upset, and end up thinking about behaviors, attitudes, and actions that are not within our control. We can end up with emotional upsets that disturb us much more than the person or situation our minds have judged. They are sleeping well at night, while we lay awake filled with the poison we wish they would drink. Thus, we should be motivated to forgive, as we are the actual recipients of this effort.
There are no studies that argue against forgiveness. Forgiveness of those we judge, whether close or distant to our daily life, is essential to find personal fulfillment and ease in everyday life. Thus, consider the daily intention of forgiving anyone in any circumstance if it brings you angst, anger, or upset. Will it happen just because you intended today? No. Not likely.
But if you resolved to mentally repeat this process, recognizing that it is your happiness that depends upon taking this seriously, then perhaps you will see the magic unfold with repeated efforts to practice forgiveness daily. For example, merely affirming, “I forgive my neighbor,” is enough. Just do it every day.
Please keep in mind: Forgiveness may be a spiritual or religious value for some. But it need not have that connotation to affect your personal experience of life. We become free when we are no longer allowing someone else’s choices to influence our emotional state. Why would we not forgive? Why would we not let it go?
We get freedom. Those our minds judge harshly or negatively are not affected one way or the other. Hatred, judgment, anger…it all comes home to our lives every day. Not theirs.
So, this is about your freedom. Not theirs. We are fighting for our freedom first.
Next week, I will cover the other two commitments I suggest you consider. For now, start this daily practice after you have envisioned the best you possible. Do both daily. Practicing one morning is like going to the gym once and proclaiming it didn’t work for you. You can do better than that!