Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year- Hope in a Jar

As 2012 draws to a close, many have thought about things they will want to change in the new year. A lot look at the new year as a way to bring something better to their lives, to change something they have been meaning to change. There are some that decide to make resolutions for the following year- hoping to stick to it. A few of the most common resolutions involve weight loss, fitness, stopping habits, getting out of debt, and spending more time with loved ones. Overall, people want to better themselves and their lives.

What am I going to do this coming year as a resolution? Personally, I do not believe in making resolutions myself because the success rate for people to keep on their plans is very limited and I know I would have much challenge to keep with it myself. Instead, I set goals all year long. Why wait for a new year before being determined to lose those few extra pounds or to spend more time around the people you care about? Why is it that society has the mindset that we need to wait for a new year before things will change, that somehow the new year is brighter. There is too much emphasis on physical health betterment and not enough on mental health. I am not saying resolutions are wrong, I am saying that the traditional ones are not for me.

So, instead of having a resolution, I am going to have a goal for the coming year. I got the idea from a group that I was in. One of the activities was that each of us had a little box with our name on it and then everyone would fill out pieces of paper with something positive about each other on it- after we were all done, we were to deposit this in the corresponding box for each person. It was anonymous and we were not told who wrote the compliments on it. I can remember that many of the members said that their day was uplifted reading these blessings and that they were going to keep their boxes to remind them of these things.

Many times, we forget the compliments that people give us and remember and hold onto the criticism of others. Often, we receive compliments from people and try hard to remember them. But far too often one criticism will blow all those compliments out of the memory and we will focus on that one thing we did wrong instead of the 10 other things we did very well. I recently was confronted not too long ago and criticized for being too sensitive. Not only was it triggering past memories, but I could not pull out any good thing that this person had said to me in the past. Everything was gone and I felt under attack. I knew that this person had given me compliments in the past but with this one criticism it was like all the compliments flew out of my brain as fast as what the criticism came. My brain became stuck and I could not understand why such a hurtful comment was dished out. Truth be told, this person does not even remember saying it. It's usually the way- the comment that means nothing to the giver hurts beyond words to the receiver and the damage is done.

For this reason, more then ever- I am determined to remember the compliments that people give me, the ones that stick out and I want to hold onto. I have not been doing well mentally lately and find it hard to remember even the little things. I have to write things down most times because if not then it is like they never happened. Often times, stress will do this to the brain and will cause a disturbance of remembering things as well as formulating ones thoughts. These are the times that we need to call on the good memories, the good things that other people value in us- so that we can try to look to value them in ourselves.

Hope in a Jar

So, this is why I am determined to write down the compliments/ positive messages that I receive this coming year- so that when I am feeling down and out of sorts then I can look in my jar, pull out a slip of paper and remember the goodness that people blessed me with in their words. Personally for me, when I am down- it is hard to pick myself up by myself. I begin to concentrate of the negative and then the thoughts start to get unmanageable. I know that a jar of positiveness will help me to achieve this and remember that although I may not see them, people do care about me and I matter to them even if I don't feel as if I do sometimes. I find that I am very tactile when it comes to having something that I can see and hold as a reminder for me during the darkest moments of my illness- that people care, things will get better, and there is hope. This will be an added tool in my box to pull out when I am needing some comfort during the storms that I face. I will be using a mason jar and having ample slips of paper near so that it will be easy for me to achieve this project.

Another thing I hope to do is to have another jar and keep the good memories that I experienced for the year inside. So, whenever something good comes about I will write it down. By the end of the year, I hope to have another jar to open so that I can remember that the last year I lived was not all that bad. These last six months I have had a very hard time to draw much positive out of it and have not been able to concentrate on much good. I hope that with this idea I am able to see that I am not wasting my life away like I have been feeling as of late.

My main goal is to do my "Hope in a Jar" project and if I can do the good memories one as well then that will be a bonus. Its good to have visual reminders to keep us going and help us remember that hope is out there. I know for me, I try to have visual cues around me to keep me going. Pictures are very important to me so I will have them close by to jog my memory about the people I care about and the people who care about me. I will also display things that are important to me and things that make me happy. I try to keep my living environment as safe as possible and put away from sight anything that may trigger me or bring up intense emotion. My area needs to be safe and calm in order for me to have the best chance at having good mental health. So, having visual cues such as "Hope in a Jar" will come in handy. Perhaps you can try to have your own jar that will uplift your mood in this upcoming year. What will you put in yours? I would love to hear about what you decide.

If you do not want to do a jar then think about what you can do for your own mental health and perhaps the mental health of other people in your life. A good goal to have this coming year would be to get involved with Partners for Mental Health and start the momentum in your area with bringing change to the way people think regarding mental health and mental illness. This is one good thing that I remember without much recall on something positive that happened in my life in 2012. Perhaps you can say the same in 2013 with yours.

Wishing all my blog readers a Happy New Year. May your upcoming year be better then last- both physically and mentally. Thank you for reading my blog in 2012. Please stay tuned for more great entries in 2012... lots of topics to come. But until then... see you next year!

1 comment:

  1. And when the feelings of service for your fellow men arise within your soul, do not stifle them; when the emotions of love for your neighbor well up within your heart, give expression to such urges of affection in intelligent ministry to the real needs of your fellows.