Bring in the New Year With Gratitude
During this time of year, it is common for people to reflect on where they think they should be in life and challenge themselves on the things they are or aren’t doing. Then many of them will make resolutions based on how they believe things should be. In most cases, this process is driven by a critical and judgemental voice and I would like to propose an alternative perspective, one that is driven instead by love and compassion. Instead of focusing on who we aren’t and what we aren’t doing, I believe we would all benefit more from recognizing, appreciating and being grateful for who we are and what we have; for what is, instead of what isn’t.
A Different Kind of Resolution
The critical and self-deprecating approach to where we are in life is focused on what we are lacking, on what we are missing, on the less than and on what isn’t. The irony of this is that the things we focus on will often invite more of the same. It’s similar to what happens when asked not to think of a pink elephant. The first thing that happens is we think of a pink elephant. This is because in order for something to not exist, it first needs to exist. This is why a common recommendation for setting goals is to focus on what we want instead of what we don’t want.
However, any idea of wanting ourselves to be something other than what we are implies that we are lacking. Even the idea of wanting more of something implies that what we have isn’t enough. Regardless of whether we phrase our goals with a towards or an away from mentality, we are telling ourselves that we are not enough as we are right now. But, we are enough, regardless of who we are or where we are in life. Underneath all the noise in our heads is our innate well-being, divine wisdom, clarity and unwavering peace of mind. Being genuinely satisfied with things exactly as they are is one definition of true happiness.
Who You Are, Not Who You Aren't
The more I learn about our spiritual journey, the more I recognize that everything is exactly as it should be. The nature of our challenges and what we are learning at any given moment in time is preparing us for what we will do and face in the future. It is often difficult to accept the difficulties in our lives, but I can assure you that at every moment, we are all making progress towards some aspect of acceptance, understanding, love or compassion.
So, what I am proposing is for all of us to appreciate who and where we are, not on who or where we aren’t. To appreciate what is, not what isn’t. To be grateful for the positives in our lives, and not to give as much importance to the negatives.
Emphasizing what we want and being grateful for what we already have is often more beneficial than judging ourselves for what we believe we are missing or lacking. Recognizing and appreciating what we have, what we accomplished, what we learned, what we are doing, and who we are, invites us to be open and receptive for more of the same.
Improving Your Quality of Life
This post is as much for me as it is for everyone else. Gratitude is something that I am learning more about for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been grateful for many things, but I’m learning now that the importance I gave to the “less than” aspects of my experience has been innocently sabotaging and influencing my quality of life. I have always been a very critical person that is really good at noticing my flaws and specifically the things I still haven't learned.
Being grateful for who and what we are is one part, and not giving importance to the “less than” aspects of ourselves is another. It’s a natural and normal part of life to have critical thoughts. But they only consume and impact our life when we give those thoughts importance and focus our attention on them. I never realized just how much power we have with our free will to choose the thoughts we want to give importance to, or of the influence those thoughts have in the subsequent creation of our lives.
Most of us have heard of the idea that “like attracts like” in a variety of different contexts. In fact, in my free online course, The Secrets of Life and the Mind Revealed, I write about how noticing our positive thoughts will generate more positive thoughts and how giving importance to our negative thoughts will innocently create more negative thoughts.
Being grateful for what we have accomplished, for the things we like about ourselves, for what we have learned, for how much we have already improved, and any other form of self-gratitude not only invites more of the same, but it elevates our state of mind and instantly improves our quality of life.
So, by acknowledging and appreciating what we have accomplished and of what we have to offer at this exact moment in time, we focus our attention on positive aspects of who we are, and show ourselves love and compassion, which in turn allows us to bring even more love and compassion into our experience of life.
A Short Client Story: A Lesson of Love
The importance of self-appreciation and self-love cannot be overstated, as a client of mine was recently reminded of during a Life Beyond Form spiritual journey session. Near the end of the session, after a brief interaction with her spirit guide, her existing daughter informed her that she is in her life now to help her love herself more. Her exact words to her mother were, “So you can learn unconditional love, so that after you learn unconditional love you can give some of it to yourself.” The depth of feeling that accompanied these words cannot be described.
At the end of the session, the profundity of my client’s new understanding was still fresh and difficult to put into words. She summarized her learnings with the following remark, “Realizing at a much deeper level how self love can be...the importance of self love...we think we know...we don’t. It’s true. Everything comes from there, everything ends there: our well-being, our relationships with others. Wow, it’s unbelievable!”
The impression this reminder of self-love had on her was humbling to witness. It is a true gift and an honor to be an observer when people deepen their awareness. She was clearly very moved and deeply touched by the love her daughter shared with her and of being reminded to love herself. Later on in the day, my client sent me a quick note where she thanked me once again, saying the session was "soul-opening" and that she can already tell that it will positively impact her experience of this life and her relationships with others.
Reflection and Gratitude
We cannot underestimate the importance of loving ourselves. Understandably, this is very difficult for many of us and one of the best ways to get better at it is to recognize and be grateful for what is, while not focusing on or giving importance to what isn’t.
We are fundamentally here to explore and to experience life, to challenge what we are learning about ourselves, and to deepen our understanding of life and of who we truly are. It is through our challenges that we are able to find the edges of what we have learned and determine what areas still need more development. Once again, it is my belief that love and compassion, for ourselves and others, is at the heart of everything we are learning.
Given all of the challenges we faced in 2020, and in preparation for the coming year, let’s give ourselves credit for how far we have come and appreciate who we are, just as we are.
Approach the New Year with gratitude for who you are and with an appreciation for the journey you are on. Take a moment to reflect on what you have learned in 2020, how far you have come, how capable you have been to get to where you are, and ask yourself what it is that you like most about yourself.
May the coming year continue to bring you your wishes and dreams.
Soar & Explore w. Love, ❤️
Daniel Martinez Stahl works with people who want to improve the quality of their current life by deepening their spiritual intelligence and exploring their spiritual journey. He believes that by developing an understanding of how our mind works, of the mechanism behind our experience of life and of the relationship between our body and spirit, we are all able to connect more easily with our higher self, our innate well-being and inner wisdom.
To learn more, you can download the 10 Unconventional Life-hack Tidbits, you can get access to the free online course The Secrets of Life and the Mind Revealed, and you can subscribe to Life Beyond Form. You can also join our Facebook group, The Spiritual Explorers, and follow Life Beyond Form on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.