Well it's almost the end of another year, one that I will look back on fondly, because it was the year I finally DID something, I took action to improve myself, and my life. This is the time of year when I remember that it's a lot like each day; each year, when it passes, will never come again, and I think about what I'm going to do differently in the new year coming up. I don't like to dwell on the past all that much, it's gone, and there's nothing I can do to change it, but I can change what I do now, and I can make plans and set myself on a path that will lead me to better things. To a better "me". If there's one thing I've learned, it's that wallowing in regret or being depressed that things didn't go this year like I'd hoped, or, conversely, congratulating myself profusely for a job well done does little to keep things going forward. There is always something to improve, there is always something new to learn.
I think that's the biggest lesson I learned this year, and that is to remember that I've never "arrived" at the end, I'm not finished growing, or learning, and that change, while sometimes painful, is always for the better. Everything that happens happens for a reason, and that reason is for me to learn life's lessons that I set out to learn before I came here to live this particular lifetime. I think that for a lot of my life I resisted change out of fear of the unknown, and it has taken years for me to learn things that I could have otherwise done in a very short time. No one knows what the future holds, but to me, the future looks bright. I know now to work to control my fears, control my emotions, and listen to the signs and signals put before me, because they are ultimately going to make me more than I was. Every time I lose control, every time I resist, my progress halts, and in some cases even takes me backwards, and then I have to get up and go again, losing valuable time, after all, this lifetime is not without end.
One thing that stands out very clearly to me looking back on all that has transpired in the last 12 months, and that is that I am the only one standing in the way of my own personal growth. The other people in my life are the catalysts, the ones that prod me, take me in a new direction, but when it comes down to it, only I have the power to move. I have to see what needs to be left behind, I have to decide where I will make changes, only I can determine if I'm making progress, no one else can do that for me. That's the other major lesson. I can't look to others to tell me what to do, it's not their life, and whether they approve or not has no bearing on who I am. Asking others to tell me what to do or looking for their approval are just more symptoms of fear, the fear of standing alone, being accountable, I have to know for myself if something is right, for me. My guides exist to guide, not to dictate. There will never be easy answers. Trying to take shortcuts or relying on them to give me the answer will not help me to grow. I have to put aside the doubts, learn to listen to my heart, my intuition, and put my foot forward, not back. Only then will I be confident enough in myself to truly learn my lessons, and then internally, take stock in what I've become and be truly happy.
I've mentioned in a previous post about how I believed I had a duality of thought, emotion vs. logic. While in some aspects I still believe that is true, I also believe that I use both simultaneously, but that the main issue is my tendency towards extremes. I have many times believed I had achieved balance, but found out later that I had just gone to one end of the spectrum of the extremes, being emotional, or being logical. To be truly balanced, the emotion and logic must be used together, in equal measure, and while there may be exceptions, for many circumstances I encounter, there is no need to think only logically, or only emotionally. I have allowed myself on countless occasions to let the emotions of a situation to overwhelm me, thereby forgetting logic, and to a lesser degree, there have been occasions when the same has happened in reverse. Some things that happened quite recently allowed me to see this very clearly, I let my emotions get completely out of control, and as a direct result, I did some things that can only be described as stupid and completely crazy. For some time afterwards I was severely depressed, and down on myself, thinking I had let several of my friends down. All I could think was "Will they ever forgive me? What must they think of me now?" Then the thought struck me that the only person who needed to forgive me was myself. My friends, while they may have been disappointed, probably didn't spend half the time that I did worrying, they didn't dwell on it, they did like most people do, they let it remain in the past, and moved on with their lives. This time, instead of being ashamed of myself, wallowing in the emotion, and therefore not learning anything, I decided to pick myself up, shake it off, and really see what caused me to act in such a way. Learn from my mistakes. I think the saying that rings true to me the most is the one that says "Insanity(or Foolishness): doing the same thing (or making the same mistakes) over and over again, and expecting different results". That's the reason I didn't learn from those mistakes, I wasn't really seeing them as "mistakes", I figured the situations were different, how could the outcome possibly be the same? But they were. I was so wrapped up in the emotions of feeling bad about myself that I couldn't see the reasons I was making the same mistakes over again. To look at the root cause, and fix that, I finally can move past them, and learn something about myself. Because that's what this journey of life is all about, self discovery, and growth.
I know I may have repeated myself a bit here, thank you for bearing with me, this is how I help myself process what I've learned. As this new year dawns, I look forward to learning even more, this time I embrace the change, because I know when this day comes around in 2011, I will be more than I am today.