“If the only prayer you ever say is Thank You, that will be enough.” – Eckhart Tolle
Another year is almost gone with good and bad, ups and downs – part of life, isn’t it? It’s time for a brand new year soon – a time when it is common to translate our hopes, wants, and dreams into new year resolutions. That is great and, by staying engaged and committed, keeping a positive vision of whatever we want to achieve, we move forward. They say the future belongs to those who can see it coming, and I believe that is true. A dream without action is nothing but a dream.
However, I am here to highlight a mistake I used to do repeatedly in the past. Each time I was stepping into a new year, I used to jump into making fresh plans and setting new goals for myself.
What I missed was to look back at the current year “all-inclusive,” with its whole package: the bright side of results and successes, and also with (often perceived) failure, new learning, and possible blessings in disguise.
Here are three powerful questions I am asking myself each time I am stepping into a new year:
1. What am I most proud of?
As a former perfectionist and over-achiever, I used to put myself down and minimize my accomplishments, as if “it wasn’t anything big enough or special or “anyone else could have made it.” I used to attribute my achievements to either luck, destiny, or other people who gave me infinite chances to succeed.
When we are struggling with this frustrating need for perfection, nothing seems good enough, and we are always looking for more to do, to feel happy and satisfied. And the truth is we’re never there because we would always want more.
Today, I learned to acknowledge and celebrate myself, in the same way I do it for other people. I stopped taking myself for granted or making myself small so that others would feel good around me. That is not selfish, but fair. Like everyone else, I am also a person, worthy of my appreciation, compassion, and care. That’s not about Ego or showing off. It’s all about knowing the fact that, in often cases, it’s been a lot of hard work and efforts behind my so-perceived “luck.”
This past year has been hectic. My husband and I moved from our previous location (Mexico) to Dubai. We got to live in three houses and six different hotels. Lots of suitcases to pack and unpack, administrative issues to handle and stress. I had never realized how resilient we both have become in front of challenging situations, and how capable we are to deal with change.
If you also tend to take yourself for granted, I am inviting you to a short time of reflection on the following topic:
My main accomplishments in this year are:
I am most proud of:
I acknowledge myself for:
Remember, it doesn’t have to be big, like saving someone’s life. No matter how small, put it on your list. Could be new skills you acquired, a transformation in you, developing new habits, moving into a new house, helping someone else or yourself, getting out from your comfort zone, or making changes that had a positive impact on your life. List everything down, related to both personal life and career.
And once you have made your list, it’s time to celebrate. Do something special for yourself, pamper yourself with something you enjoy. Buy yourself something nice. Treat yourself a massage. Do whatever makes you feel good. Just so; because you want to, and because you are worth it.
2. What is my learning?
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis, which usually comes along with infertility issues. I got a surgery in South Korea, which was a success. I knew the surgeon worked on my physical body, and my emotional and mental body was my job to clean. My wish was to be healthy and enjoy this beautiful gift called life.
I have never wanted to have children by pressure, to please other people (make my parents happy) or tick a societal-imposed box around what the role of a woman should be. In my life, I am the one making the rules.
I have never considered having children to keep my tank full of joy and fulfillment. Babies are independent spirits, born to learn and grow, not souls I would ever possess. I trust the flow of life, so I let it decide if I was going to be a mother or not.
And here I am, in my forties, pregnant for the very first time and waiting for our baby girl to come to this world in spring next year. It comes along with wonder, excitement, curiosity and much joy. It is a time of rebirth.
I choose to believe we live in a supportive Universe where everything happens for my highest good. I learned to stop asking for what I want and, instead, start asking for what I need. Life wants me to be a mother and a tiny, delicate human creature will need my support.
“All is well in my world. Life loves me, and I am safe. “ – Louise Hay
On the downside, it’s been a year of loss, with our dear godfather killed in a car crash. I can recall the advice he gave my husband and I during our last phone conversation: “I’ve spent 40 years of my life always running somewhere, wanting to do more and achieve more. Now that I am retired, I finally got time. I came to realize it’s not all about keeping ourselves busy; we sometimes need to relax and enjoy the small pleasures of life.”
Dealing with loss came like a wake-up call that got me grounded. I was almost falling into the trap of projecting my life into an imaginary future and miss the only reality that ever is: the here and now. I used to think thoughts like “Someday, when I do this or get that, I will be happy.”
Instead, I am grateful for everything I have in life: for the miracle of the baby that’s growing inside of me. For a loving husband, a loving family, great friends (not many, but true ones). For a healthy body and a healthy mind. For the home I live in, nice vacations I can afford, for doing the work I love and believe in.
Dear Universe, for all this, I say Thank You.