The Ultimate New Year's Resolution. Ever.
As we enter a new year, I was pondering the topic of change. As a counsellor/coach, change is the result I am after with my clients; why see a mental health professional, if change is not on the agenda?
Many of us have considered New Year’s Resolutions over time. Nothing wrong with that, but often these resolutions have to do with change from the outside in: things change, and then we will ultimately feel better.
What if there was a different way of looking at it, to do with change from the inside out? You change, and then things change! Just follow along with my thoughts on this topic and who knows: we may be in for some interesting results in the new year.
What if we would all entertain the idea that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, whether you would call that “God”, “Universe”, “Source”, “Inner Being”, “Higher Self”, or whatever else tickles your fancy? Another way of saying this is: what if we would acknowledge that the Whole is bigger than the sum of its individual parts? Regardless of race, creed, culture, gender, religion, etc.
If we all ARE integral parts of something bigger than ourselves, being dependent on each other for our survival as a whole, would we still keep treating each other the same way? Would we still fight and kill each other the way we do? Would we still judge each other the way we do? Would we still try to excommunicate, ban, condemn and banish others the way we do? Would we hold resentment towards others the way we do? Would we continue to refuse to forgive and forget, like we so often do?
I think we would treat each other differently entirely.
What if we would all entertain the idea that universal principles and laws exist that govern our existence, and that these laws intrinsically mean “well” for us? Another way of saying this is: what if there is actually a bundle of forces out there that could allow us to live an easier life, a life designed to do good to us; created to preserve our well-being?
If there ARE overarching principles at work that are continuously working to maintain our well-being and joy, would we, in that case, still try to control our circumstances? Would we still feel anxious about the future and resentful of the past? Would we still get nervous if, at first, things don’t seem to go our way? Would we continue to try to mainly satisfy our own desires, sometimes at the expense of someone else? Would we still fear change, and hold on to the “known”? Would we remain to try and keep ourselves in our comfort zone to the point that even THAT becomes uncomfortable?
I think we would live our lives differently entirely.
What if we would all entertain the idea that human beings are unique in the sense that we share one unique bonding element: “being human”. What if we are therefore worth being treated with respect, no matter who we are, where we are from, what God –if any- we pray to, and how we view the world? Another way of saying this is: what if we treated others the way we would like to be treated by them? What if we show respect for each other because we basically are all on a similar journey, stuck on this planet until we choose to leave it? What if there is actually an inherent trait in us to respect others, and a desire to be respected? What if it is actually fact that all our behaviour is ultimately driven by a “good” intention; that we mean well, that we try to do the best we can given our knowledge, wisdom, environment, upbringing and previous experiences?
If it is a fact that we ultimately want the best for ourselves and others, while being as respectful and accepting of others as we can, would we still lie and cheat to get OUR way over anyone else’s way? Would we continue to sue each other and organisations and businesses, because we feel that “injustice” has been done or because “they’re wrong”? Would we continue to divide the enormous wealth in our world they way we do, trying to keep as much as possible for ourselves? Would we keep fighting someone to “get even” or “make him/her pay”, even though that may cost us our health, money and well-being? Would we still consider keeping secrets and not telling the whole truth acceptable, even when we KNOW we should be saying something else (or more)?
I think we would communicate with each other differently entirely.
Resolutions will have to start with a commitment to change YOU.
The place to start is with yourself.
Make a commitment, every year, every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute and every second to consider yourself part of something that is bigger than you. A “something” in which we are all entangled, in which we are all connected one way, shape or form. Consider yourself part of this whole, a system, an organism, an entity perhaps, and ask yourself: what action, thought, word or feeling would serve this myself AND this “whole” best, right now? Is the next step I contemplate in the best interest of everyone and everything involved? Am I going to be honouring myself and others with this step? Is this step going to be the most effective one as well for what I am aiming to achieve?
Can you always know for sure that you are making the right decision? No, you can’t. But making decisions this way will at least make you consider many options, and chances of success increase dramatically.
Make the same commitment to –start to- accept that there ARE forces at play that are outside our control, and that are inherently geared towards our well-being. Practice patience, practice non-judgemental observation, and resist trying to “force” things into being. Life will become so much easier when you let go of the need to control, and relax in the knowledge that balance and well-being is the purpose of these universal principles. The less you do, the more gets done. Strange but true. Only act from inspiration, never from desperation. Your results will be so much better.
Will you always get what you want? No, not always. But you will definitely increase the chances of good fortune coming your way dramatically.
Finally, commit to start treating others the way you want to be treated, in thought, word, action and emotion. Realise -at least contemplate the idea- that we are generally trying the best we can with the resources we are given. Ponder the thought that deep down, all of our efforts are driven by good intentions. We all want to feel appreciated, respected, loved and acknowledged. The more you can give and forgive, the more you will receive back in kind. If someone acts in a way you don’t like, ask yourself: what can I learn from this? How can I use this to my benefit? How is it helping me NOW? Asking yourself this, instead of judging the other person, will bring you more effective and more lasting results, and you will be able to more easily “forgive and forget”.
Change from the inside out. Be the change you want to see in the world.
Change, no matter what kind of change, will have to happen from the inside out. You have to be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi once said. Expecting others to change before YOU do is useless. Changing yourself and then watching others change is empowering.
Be the guide for many. Many need to change something in their lives, but don’t know what. Many wish to change their ways, but don’t know how. Many long to follow someone’s example, but don’t know who. Many desire to change their circumstance, but don’t know when. Many yearn to go elsewhere in life, but don’t know where.
Choose to lead the way. It’s time for paradigm change. Change is happening anyway. It’s the only constant. You can dramatically speed up the process, and make it go a better way.
Start with the change in you.