Change. That’s what this year is going to be about. I need a lot of change to occur in my world and I know that many of you are in the same place. Big changes, little changes. Outwardly apparent ones, and ones hidden deep within our heart. We don’t have to share them with each other or we can shout them off the rooftops as a declaration. It is time to be true to our hearts and minds, and make this year count.
I don’t think this year should be like all of our other years of resolutions and goals. It needs to be about something bigger, something better. We are more than “someone who needs to lose weight, or should stop smoking or needs to give up coffee”. 2013 needs to be greater than that. I’m going to make this year count and push myself in ways that I’ve never done before. I am going to change, and I’m hoping that some of you will be joining me.
Take responsiblity for your words and actions. Remember that your words have the ability to lift someone up or knock them flat on their face. Choose words that make people think as opposed to putting them on the offensive. Picture yourself in their shoes and how it would feel to have the things you’re speaking, spoken over yourself. Don’t think of yourself as a judge and jury, there’s enough condemnation in this world already. If someone shares something in confidence, honor that gift and shut your mouth. If you speak unkindly, apologize. If you’re mistreated or treated unfairly, take the high road and be the bigger person. Your “character” needs to be more important than your appearance or your social standing. Focus on what really matters.
Take care of your physical body. For some of us, that means we need to lose significant amounts of weight and make some huge changes in our lives. But for others, it means that we need to get off the couch and go for a walk. It’s time to eat better, and make healthy choices. It means getting enough sleep, and not living on coffee and energy drinks. We all know what we need to change to make our physical bodies better. Do that.
Guard your heart and mind. Do not be so quick to give “yourself” away to people who aren’t willing to do the same for you. Be a good friend, be helpful, be kind but be realistic. Don’t give people all your power and the ability to tear you down. You do not need to share every thought and feeling that you have with the whole world, unless you’re ready for the consequences and/or judgement that comes from that. Don’t use Facebook as a diary because frankly, many of your “friends” really don’t care all that much about “you”.
Accept that you don’t always need to be “right”. It’s okay to passionately believe in something or someone, just as it’s okay for others to believe the exact opposite. Different opinions are what keep our world turning, interesting and fun. People are going to hurt you. They’re going to question your beliefs, and ideas, your thoughts and your dreams. Sometimes it’s worth fighting for and other times, it’s not worth your time and energy. Watch for those moments and choose your response wisely. Sometimes being “right” means turning the other cheek and walking away. I would rather be known for being quiet, or full of grace than as a person screaming “I’m right” from the corner. I know my truths, and that’s good enough for me.
Be a living example of what you want the world to be. If you want bullying to stop, stop bullying other people. Quit laughing at inappropriate jokes and joining in on “harmless teasing”. If you want your children to be confident and kind … model that for them. Don’t talk about being fat or ugly or making hateful statements in their presence. If you want change to occur in your community, go out and volunteer or lend your voice. If you see someone who needs help, help them. Open doors for strangers, let people with smaller loads of groceries go in front of you in line. Shovel the neighbours sidewalk, help a senior citizen get to their vehicle safely. When someone cuts you off in traffic, smile and let it go. Buy some food for the food bank, even if it’s only a single box of macaroni. Small things make a huge difference in our world. Each simple act of kindness can spark a chain of wonderful and that is what our world needs now more than ever.
Honor the important people in your life. Don’t just talk about how much you love and appreciate the people around you. Show them. Be a helping hand or a listening ear whenever it’s needed. Don’t just show your love with gifts or money, share your time and energy. Be thoughtful. Be present. Recognize and honor your loved ones in the same way you want them to honor you. The people who you consider important enough to call your loved ones are special, don’t let pride or disagreements stop you from enjoying them.
Be what you say you are. If you’re someone’s best friend, act like that. Defend them and lift them up. If you’re in a relationship, honor that. Don’t share your partners shortcomings or faults with others. Try to be happy more often than angry or frustrated. If you’re a parent, be a parent, not a best friend. Our children need us to teach them, not treat them as equals. If you have a job, work diligently. You may hate it, but if that’s where you need to be right now, why not it approach with joy instead of dread. If you’re claiming to be christian, respond with grace and love and understanding. You are not God, stop trying to be him. Stop saying all the right things just to make you or your situation look better. Truth will always find a way, and if you’re hiding behind lies or bad will, you are not going to like the outcome.
As you can tell, a lot of my “changes” for the better involve “me” changing. It’s so easy to get caught up in blaming others for whats wrong in our lives, that we quite often forget to look in the mirror. I truly don’t believe that change can happen if we’re not willing to look at ourselves first. I’m not expecting you to compromise yourself, what you believe in or to take abuse of any kind. What I’m wanting you to do is … do better. When we change, the world will change around us.
I’m done expecting the world to make me happy or get better in spite of my choices or lack of motivation. I’m done with “waiting for something better” while continuing to do everything the exact same way that I’ve always done it. It starts with you. It starts with me. And that’s exactly where I’m starting. I am changing ME.