Before we jump into this, I want to challenge you with a little activity. I want you to think back tothis year of 2013. But don't think of ANY event. I want you to think of the following:
1) An event that made you really happy or excited (ex. a good mark on a test, the birth of a baby, a ;promotion, a funny moment you shared with others, a vacation, etc). What happened? How did you feel at this time? Why did it make you happy? What was special about this event that made you remember it now?
Thinking back to something about the last year that made us happy is a great way to feel pleased with our lives. We remember an event that really made a difference to us - that made us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, or that made us realize how blessed we are. The moment that I can think of is when I got invited to do multiple interviews for radio stations. This moment made me feel thankful for how far I have come, and it made me realize how many blessings God gave me. He gave me the chance to live life again, and this time, to use my experiences and pain to help others.
2) Now, I want you to think of an event that was difficult to deal with. Think back to something that frustrated you or made you feel angry or sad. This could be a fight with a spouse, a hard time at work with a boss or co-worker, lack of money to pay bills, etc.
No, I am not trying to make you depressed again! I want you to look at this event without any emotion - without the pain or hurt. Look back at what happened. What have you learned from this situation? How did this make you stronger or more mature? The moment in my life that I thought of was when I was being bullied online. I was angry and frustrated and hurt that this was happening to me, and I didn't understand why anyone would enjoy hurting me. At the time, I was angry and tried my best not to let it bother me. But I felt that I would always be bothered by it. However, I became stronger as a result of this situation. I learned not to let anyone bother me, regardless of what others say to me or think about me. I realized that people are always going to dislike you if you are better than them, or if they don't like something about you. You cannot please all humans at one time, and this situation made me realize that I don't really care what others say or feel about me. I love myself, and I have family and friends (and readers!) who love me, too. I also have a God who is bigger and greater than anything else, and He alone gives me strength and peace. The situation with the bullying taught me that I am a strong, beautiful ,smart, and determined woman. It also taught me not to let anything or anyone bring me down. So, I am thankful for this experience - not for the pain that it brought, but for the lessons it taught me and for the strength that came out of it.
Do you see how looking at the last year in this way can be therapeutic and helpful? Congratulations - you survived 2013! And while it may have been full of problems and frustrations, I am sure that it was also full of joys and surprises. I am also confident that you have grown and become stronger, wiser, happier, or smarter as a result of difficult experiences from 2013. As the new year comes in, I am inviting you to look back on 2013 with appreciation. Know that you survived 2013 and have also become a different person as a result of it. Now, look forward to 2014. Bring in the new year with those who love you and those that mean a lot to you. Have fun and make goals that will help you become a better person (but that will be a different post!). For now, please enjoy the beginning of 2014 and look back on 2013 with gratefulness and satisfaction, knowing that while it may have been hard, it was also fun, exciting, and a great learning experience.
God bless all of you. With all my heart, I pray and hope that you bring in 2014 with happiness and joy, and that you may all be safe. Thank you for the support that has allowed me to stay strong in my recover, to keep writing and working, and to be where I am today. I am so blessed (thank God!) to be celebrating the new year of 2014 with the support and love of all my family, friends, readers, and God. Take a deep breath and bring in 2014 with excitement, strength, love, and joy!