Hello again. Are YOU appreciating your life as much as you should? A strange question perhaps.
As we move towards Christmas, juggling work and family commitments is a bit stressful. Although I love Christmas and all its joyful tidings, it’s easy to find yourself in a bit of a bad mood when you’re stuck in the queue for the car park. Or, when Sainsburys has run out of lemons (other supermarkets are available). The commercial creep of Christmas sometimes distracts us from what it’s all about: peace on earth, goodwill to all and the love of your friends and family.
It’ll all got me thinking: life is very short. No, bear with me. It really is, or at least our existence in the purely physical sense passes in an instant. It certainly seems so.
Dr Suess once said, “Sometimes, you never know the value of something until it becomes a memory”. Christmas highlights the loss of our dearly beloved, so I thought I’d pass on to you and yours some ways to make the most of every day, both during the dark days of winter and throughout the year.
1. Develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”. Uri Geller speaks often of the need for a positive mental attitude and how it sustains our lives. Every day, focus on something for which you are grateful. Small things to start. A sunny day? Tick. A freshly brewed cup of coffee? Tick. Once you start this exercise, you’ll find that there are so many things that bring you joy. .
Write these things down and review your list regularly.
2. Show and Tell. Consider the people who love you. It could be your partner, your children, your friends – anyone who’s close. Focus on how much they bring to your life and importantly, how much poorer your life would be without them. Then, tell them how you feel. Go on.
You don’t need to declare loud exhortations from the rooftops, but a squeeze of the hand, or a little note left lying around for them to find will let them know how much you appreciate their love and and support.
3. Validations. Positive thoughts expressed to yourself out loud in front of the mirror. Sounds daft? Try it. Become that thought, embrace it and know that it is true.
“I am a good, kind person and I deserve love and respect” or “I will be the best I can be today and every day”, or “today is another day towards my recovery” (if you have suffered a loss) are all examples of your all-important package of positivity.
4. Random Acts of Kindness. We are all souls on our journey through life and sometimes we should surprise each other, I think. Why not commit to doing something good for a fellow human being every single day, whether you know them or not? A smile or a compliment to a total stranger, or friendly chat at a bus stop could really make someone’s day. I just thought: when was the last time that you sent someone a letter – a proper hand-written one?
Remember, too, that it’s never too late to say “thank you” or “I’m sorry”. Simple words that comfort, reassure and bind us together.
5. Develop Mindfulness. Much has been written and discussed about the art of mindfulness – too much for me to review in detail! Safe to say, we appreciate our world more when we notice our surroundings, smell fragrant flowers, hear beautiful music or enjoy what we eat and drink. It’s about being in the moment. Acknowledge it and how it makes you feel.
6. Cut Yourself Some Slack. I ask you to forgive yourself for your perceived faults or foibles and to move on from your mistakes. Life is tough enough without you telling yourself how rubbish you are and how you should have done better. Forget what was said to you as a child, forgive those whose thoughtless cruelties from years ago stay with you still – and LET GO.
You are a good person. Never forget that.
Our lives are full of highs and lows and believe me, we almost always want the same thing: to love and be loved in return and to be accepted in our society. So, make the most of every moment and live life to the full. Every day.
Love is Life.
Dorothy Young. December, 2015.