It's not unique to have New Year's resolutions but it is pretty special to actually accomplish them... at least for me. I often make these elaborate lists of things I want to improve on, talents I want to cultivate and goals I want to meet, but by the end of the year, I look back and realize that I accomplished very little on that grand list. This year, I'm simplifying and concentrating on one thing. It seems small and it won't produce a beautiful tangible presentation to share afterward, but it's a goal that I need in my life.
I'm writing this all down to express my thoughts and document where I want to go from here. I am not a private person. I am very "what you see is what you get". My public and private appearance are pretty much the same and that sometimes gets me into trouble, especially in social media. I don't like to hide my feelings and as much as I'd love to be an Elinor, I'm more of a Marianne Dashwood. Many times people misunderstand my "voice" on this blog, or in a text or comment, as snarky or rude. I sometimes don't give others the benefit of the doubt and have a big weakness of "assuming the bad".
My goal is to refrain from blurting out something that I should've kept in. Better yet, my goal is to not think those things at all, but I'm starting with the good ol' phrase "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". I'm hoping that by refraining from saying negative things about people, I can begin to think and feel positively about others.
A few years ago I was in a church meeting with several people, including the husband of one of my friends. He was sharing some thoughts about the topic of kindness and said something that I'll never forget. He and his wife had three small children at the time and they found that at the end of the day, after the children were in bed, the two of them would vent to each other about what a hard time they had had with "this child" or how naughty "that child" had been. After a while, they came to realize that by speaking negatively of their children, even in private, affected their feelings toward them. They realized how much it hurt them to hear someone gossiping about them, and how horrible it would feel for their children to over hear mean whisperings from their own parents. That really resonated with me and I've always tried to not "gossip" about my kids. I'm not perfect but it's something that I'll always try to do better at.
My theme for 2014 comes from Jeffrey R. Holland: "Think the best of each other, especially of those you say you love. Assume the good and doubt the bad." I hope that as I concentrate on thinking the best of people, that I will learn to genuinely love as Jesus loves. That's the ultimate goal for Christians - to become like our Savior. I think that in order to do that, as imperfect humans, we have to take these small steps towards Christlike love. I will fail. I will feel guilt and discouragement when I say things I shouldn't. But I also feel such gratitude that I can repent and make restitution for my mistakes. I hope that others are willing to assume that what I've said is with good intentions, rather than assume that I meant harm. I think the world would be happier (and our children would grow up with better examples) if we treated each other with more generosity of spirit.
What are your goals for 2014?