With a new year behind our belt, there comes a list of New Years Resolutions. We go to the gym, sign up for yoga classes, eat healthily, save money, quit smoking, etc. We also become better people. We are kinder and nicer to each other, we smile more and are usually excited about the prospect of a new beginning that comes with the new year. And if that new year happens to also be the start of the new decade, then that’s where our ‘new’ plans are hitting the roof.
What is it about the new year that we become so different?
I always get anxious about the new phase of my life. Either if it’s my birthday, new Monday, new calendar year or simply I start a new job or moving a house. I always wonder what life will bring to me during this time and even though I am excited about the future, I can’t help but reflect on my past.
You see, I am one of those people who very quickly forget about everything. I can remember if I liked strawberries at the age of six, but what had I for breakfast yesterday – no clue. I just can’t tell you because it’s gone from my memory the moment I stopped eating. I also rather focus on what am I going to eat for lunch, than remembering what’s gone.
I have the same feelings towards the general past. It’s one of the things that I’ve learned over the years, not to dig into your past, but accept what happened and move on. I have a serious allergy to people holding on to past like their life depends on them. Believe me, it’s not.
I made mistakes, some stupid ones, some more dangerous than others, some incredibly immature and reckless, and others were made because of a lack of knowledge and education. But what I’ve discovered is that longer I hold on to them, the more depressed I was. I would overthink every situation I’ve found myself in, creating different scenarios and think: I should have done it/say it otherwise. I would torture myself with guilt and anxiety to the point I would be terrified of saying anything, just in case, I say something silly again. Back then I didn’t know how damaging that was for my well-being and how fragile I would become. It took me a while to figure it all out and finally to accept that no matter what, life goes on. Time will pass, days will be gone, and if I will be lucky enough to live for another sixty years, I don’t want to be ninety years old granny who thinks: I wish I didn’t worry about that when I was younger. I don’t want to regret my life. If I made a mistake, but I’ve learned the lesson and it won’t happen again, then why would I want to worry about this again? Why would anyone else want to remind me of that too? You shouldn’t. As a matter of fact, you should be supportive and encourage me that I am doing great, my life is beautiful and I should be grateful for what I have and achieved so far. It’s all about perception and making sure we all live the most peaceful and happy life we can.
I don’t want to be holding grudges against anyone either. If someone made me feel upset, I am not going to lose my sleep over this. I will just distance myself from people I don’t want in my life, simple as that. But I am not going to be angry at them for the rest of my life, or will act weird and say: I don’t want to see you ever again. I am going to distance myself from you, but I will be civil next time I see you. It’s my own decision to make sure my mental health is in a good state. I wish everyone well no matter what they have done to me. And I certainly won’t be holding on to the past. I believe that everyone makes mistakes, bigger or smaller, we all do them. Let’s not be hypocrites here. But past is called the past for a reason. Besides, can you change what has been done/said? You physically cannot go back in time and reverse what happened, so why would you still feel angry or upset over this? Let it go. Your mind is a powerful tool, with most people not even realizing how powerful it can get, especially when you believe in something. It can break you, it can make you invincible, happy, sad, angry, confused – you name it. Whatever you believe in, it will make you feel that way. So you can imagine what happens when you are bitter against something or someone. One thought becomes a feeling that it’s hard to deal with. And believe me when I say, sooner or later, it will all come back to you, because unfortunately, you will remember for the rest of your life that something/someone made you feel upset years/months ago. It might not be on your mind on a daily basis, but it will stay in your memory. Why would you want to do this to yourself? Wouldn’t it be easier if you would just let go of things and focus on the current day? Let life runs its curse, let people live their own life, but take the most of what it’s been offered to you.
I will share with you what works for me best and how I deal with my own thoughts, those negative and positive ones. I’ve learned to create virtual baskets in my head; some of them have a lid on them, some haven’t. Those baskets help me to keep my mind organized so I don’t stress over things I don’t have control of. For example, imagine someone said a nasty thing to you, that hurt you and made you feel less confident. I will usually think about it for a day or two, then question myself: have I done something wrong for this to happen? If yes, I would talk to that person and clear the air. Then I would put that situation into one of the baskets with the lid on, so it won’t bother me ever again. If it wasn’t my fault, then I will move the situation to a normal basket, without a lid on, not for this thought to ‘escape’, but for me to be aware that something happened, and I shall keep in mind that I have to be more careful when dealing with that person again. But I will never, ever remove that situation from the basket and remind others or myself of it. Why? Because it did happen. I cannot change it, I cannot erase it, and I certainly cannot change how others have behaved. So I am better off focusing on my own life, and my own inner peace. Therefore, that situation will be placed in the basket, but I am not going to remove it from it ever again, because there is no point in digging into this. I have to create new memories, today’s one. This is what is important -a current moment – and if you don’t focus on it, you will be missing out on your life.
Keeping my mind organized makes me feel I am finally in control of my life. I cannot change the past, neither I can predict the future, so why stress over either of them? Let’s be kind to ourselves. And if we are making new years resolutions, I wish for all of us to be more open-minded and respectful. We should all be grateful for every experience we have received, good or bad, but let’s not be bitter, judgemental and hypocritical. Life is too short to hold anger, grudges or pain. Forgiveness is a gift to ourselves, so let’s be positive and kind to one another, regardless of anything.