Contemplation-looking back on a great year

How many people do you know can wake up on New Year’s Day and say, “I hope this year is as good as the last one.” There might be a few people out there who can relate. But most people I know couldn’t wait to get on with the new year-a clean slate with hope for a better year. Some of my past resolutions included promises to quit smoking, quit eating, quit drinking, more exercise….blahblahblah.

My resolutions were often forgotten a few weeks into the new year. But last year I decided not to make any resolutions. And I have to say,  it was the best year of my life.

It wasn’t great because I opt out on the whole resolution thing. It was because I started listening to myself. It wasn’t easy. My parents, my kids, my friends, my siblings….everyone’s voice echoed in my head, “Be this, do that.”

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I don’t think they were doing it intentionally, but I found myself trying to be everything to everyone and it just wasn’t working. It was hard for me to say no and I often did things for people because I didn’t want to disappoint them. I ended up running myself ragged and the stress took a toll on me physically. This is something I have been working on for quite a while, but it was only last year when I was finally able to tell people, even those I love dearly, “No, I’m sorry, but it just won’t work for me.” (Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It wasn’t.)

I love helping people, but it’s a double-edge sword. I cared for others so well that I forget about me.

And then I started questioning my motives. Was I helping people because I want to or because I felt obligated? Was it a lack of self-esteem or over-commitment?

What I found out surprised me. It wasn’t all black and white. Sometimes I helped others because I wanted to. But there were a few times when I just didn’t want to let people down.

That’s when I realized I needed more balance in my life. I did some soul-searching and came up with the realization that it though it’s not my responsibility to make others happy, I really liked helping others when I could. But if I didn’t want to do something or if I just didn’t have the time, I could say no without feeling guilty.

I’m not perfect. I will have setbacks but at least I’m on the right track. I have a feeling a lot can come from this small action. As I have heard many times throughout my life, it all begins with one small step. You just have to know which direction to go.

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