One important skill I like to teach my students is how to be reflective. No, I’m not talking about teaching them how to morph into metal or become mirror-like (however, that could possibly help me rank as the coolest teacher ALIVE!). I teach them how to, upon completion of a project or task, reflect on what they learned, challenges they faced and what they would do differently next time. They can even use this skill outside the classroom in social situations and life experiences. I teach them the importance of reflection because it’s something that will come in handy for, like, their whole lives really.
I’m sure I am not the only one who likes reflecting on my life: what struggles I’ve faced, how I’ve grown stronger or areas I can improve in (i.e. gardening with the hubby).
So recently while on vacation in tropical Northern Queensland, I reflected on the past year and pinpoint the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the last 12 months. I’ll go ahead and say it again, 2014 was a HUGE year for me. Huge as in thank you, Jesus, for getting me through it in one piece!
It was a year of lowest of lows, but it also brought some of my greatest joys. Funny how that happens.
When I reflect back and see how far I’ve come in my own journey, I’m humbled. When I think about how much I’ve grown, I’m proud. And when I think about all the people who held my hand (near and far), I’m filled with such immense gratitude I could burst!
As I embark on the fresh, unmarked territory of 2015, I hold 5 lessons close to my heart. If I keep these at the forefront of my mind this year, I’ll already be off to a better start.
Now, I’m normally one to reframe my statements and thoughts into a positive tense, but you’ll see some of my lessons start with a negative (eg: don’t, stop). This is because we are creatures of habit, and there are some things that I realized I just needed to STOP doing. Behaviors that were detrimental to my growth, mindsets that kept me small and attitudes that were allowing fear to edge out love nearly every time.
So with that, here they are:
MY BIGGEST LESSONS FROM 2014
Stop getting caught up in the ‘how’
I’m a goal-setter by nature. Hey, I like to have a plan and feel organized. To be honest, I have some really big dreams for my life. The problem is when I get flustered and obsessed about how I’m actually going to reach my goals. I freak out because I don’t have a tangible road-map. I’m thrown for a loop when a kink gets in my chain. Self-doubt starts to creep in because I just can’t figure out how I’m going to get from point A to point B. Sometimes I even feel like I would give up chocolate forever if I had a glimpse into the future. When I get caught up in this mode of operation, I leave out the biggest detail of all: God. Trusting that everything will be revealed in the right time is crucial for me to live a life of ease and peace. By releasing my own (limited) idea of how I’ll navigate life, I’m opening myself up to a whole new level of possibilities and divine guidance.
Don’t invest too much in the outcome
Here’s another place I get tripped up. When I set goals, I tend to view them as my ‘saving grace’ or ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. But, when we become so fixated on the desired outcome of a situation, we lose sight of the present moment. I like to call this future-tripping. Our minds set up camp in the future as a means of escaping our current reality. We get pretty dead-set on envisaging the outcome we want that major problems arise when life doesn’t pan out the way we desired. My focus this year is on setting intentions and goals for my life but releasing the outcome to my Higher Power for He knows my highest good.
Your journey is yours alone (and all of it has a purpose)
This is something I have to remind myself of A LOT. It’s a lesson I keep re-learning because, quite frankly, I beat myself up for not being successful or driven or accomplished enough by now. But then I go back to this statement. All of my journey—yes, every single path, detour and rock—has been placed there for a purpose. There was a reason I got sick and couldn’t go to my top University choice. There was a reason I chose that internship in Perth years ago. A reason I got a degree in Social Work then changed my mind and became a school teacher. My journey is going to look different from everyone else’s. So is yours. Comparison, jealousy and frustration (although humanly natural) are time-wasters and energy-suckers. If you find yourself in a downward spiral of comparisonitis, reframe that energy into motivation and belief that you, too, will reach your dreams in the right time. Live without regrets and trust that your life has been divinely orchestrated to prosper you.
Be careful not to speak your fear into existence
People who are always outspokenly optimistic and positive used to weird me out. Like, how can you be so sure everything is going to be hunky-dory? But then I learned a thing or two about energy and manifestation. What we focus on expands. Yeah, fear is going to pop up. Sometimes it’ll feel like it’s swallowing you whole. I believe it’s healthy to acknowledge and address our fear but when we repetitively verbalize it, we give it power. I don’t know anyone who gets in the car and every time before driving says “we might have a wreck” or “I bet we’re going to crash.” So, why do we do it in so many other situations? We think the worst and dwell on the negative. My goal this year is to become one of those so-called optimistic weirdos.
You are being divinely supported
This lesson sums it up well. Looking back over the past year, I could have easily cracked. Like, major breakdown moments. But, the support I received from loving friends, family and beautiful people sprinkled along my path was life-saving. Truly I encountered some earth angels in 2014. This just verifies to me that I am being supported by something greater than myself. The Creator of the Universe has got my back. Dang, that feels mighty good. And you know what? He’s got yours too.
I hope some (if not all!) of these lessons resonate with you. I’ve heard it countless times, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
Or as Taylor Swift would say:
Here’s to growing together,