Saturday, January 4, 2014

#5 Admire Your Strengths

10 Tips for the New Year... and the Rest of Your Life

As the new year approaches, we often think back on the year we’re finishing, and at the same time, consider the year ahead. This mood of reflection started my thinking along those lines, but my thoughts went off on a tangent and I began to consider instead, how to best live this new year before me. It is my offering, such as it is, of advice for life. These are things I’ve figured out, even if I am still working on how to apply them to my own life.

Here's the fifth tip:

#5 Admire Your Strengths

Yes, you do too have some! Perhaps you should make yourself a list of at least five things that you do well. No one said they had to be the best in the world, but be YOUR strengths. Once you do, who knows? Perhaps you’ll keep them in mind when considering how to best tackle tough situations in the future.

In case you missed the first four:


If you don’t know the traditions of your ancestors, perhaps this is the year you should research and discover them This might be the year you begin researching your family tree and see what you find out. My son-in-law is Filipino, a group I had only limited exposure to until I met him. I have encouraged my daughter to make sure their sons learn about that culture as well as hers. From their Lola (grandma) they are learning many traditions. They attend weddings, feasts, and other events of a rich culture. They’re learning about the traditional foods, language, dances, and clothing. Your heritage is a part of you. Some ignore this, seeking instead to blend into a melting pot of sameness. Perhaps you don’t have any reason to make it a part of your daily life, but if nothing else, it can be fun to discover traditions and holidays your ancestors followed.


Without even realizing it, our past is a part of the future. These are the rocks your foundation is built upon. Take time to keep the parts that are important to you, that you feel is true. It is in this repetition of rituals that teaching the following generation takes place. As you participate, you take it in and you understand meanings and apply them to our own life. While I didn’t grasp the depth until I considered it, this was why I was so touched when I learned that my 4 year old grandson, Noah, would be a shepherd at Christmas. He had heard the Nativity Story, yet did not fully understand it. But like all of the prior generations of “shepherds” before him, he was now a part of the tradition, a tradition that had potential to become a source of richness and internal peace. It is a reassurance of sorts, that despite the craziness of the world and the new inventions, some things will continue to be important.


To most of us, our faith journey is a constant work in progress. But, without convictions of belief, what serves as the compass? Without some internal principle, we are left to twist in the wind. My faith in God gives me the assurance of constant presence, shown not only to those in history, but in my own life. Most importantly, there is the internal peace I can’t find elsewhere.


We mess up. Things don’t go the way we wish, sometimes due to our own negligence. Others make mistakes and disappoint us. Dwelling on these things can tear one apart and cause us to be frozen and unable to move past the situation. It can create a desperation in our own thought process and cause resentment and from others. Holding resentment and grudges for things others have done to us does nothing more than make us miserable. There is nothing we can do other than move forward. Hopefully, lessons were learned and mistakes won’t be repeated, but either way, we can’t go back and undo the past.

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