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This is definitely a time of year when it’s all too easy to languish in the past playing scenes over and over in your mind while latching onto a few specific elements to give you a hard time over, or to even convince you that if you’d done or been such and such, that the outcome would have been oh-so-different.
You have to be careful of accepting the way it wasn’t and rejecting the way it was.
On the flip side, a new year brings fresh uncertainty and you’re either going to find this restorative with its almost blank slate appeal or, it’s going to induce anxiety – worrying about what isn’t happening yet and/or forecasting doom based on past experiences or imagined scenarios.
You can live on autopilot and carry the same baggage, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes while engaging with the same or similar types of people. From there, you can keep expecting a different result but at the same time taking comfort in the safe familiarity of your uncomfortable comfort zone and being able to predict what happens next. Sure, you reduce uncertainty by limiting vulnerability but you’re also limiting your experiences and your happiness at the same time.
I used to be terrified of uncertainty and I think that a part of me hoped that when I was ‘enough’ and being and doing certain things including having my void filled by others, that I could control uncertainty, which is a bit like trying to cup the ocean in your hands or trying to control what others think and do.
The other option is to accept uncertainty as part of the package of life.
When we accept it, we also accept possibilities instead of seeing all uncertainty as ‘bad’. We put our energies into the present because it’s where we have the power to be our best selves, to do our best work, and to do things that align with who we are and where we want to be (our values, goals, aspirations etc) instead of going off message due to operating on autopilot and being too in our own heads.
When we accept uncertainty, we’re able to focus on what we can control – who we are, what we do and the choices we make.
One of the key lessons of this year that I’ve emphasised to readers, particularly students on BR courses, plus myself, is that we can’t control how we feel or even the thoughts that pop into our head but we can choose the meaning that we apply, the judgements that we make, and basically what we feed the feelings and thoughts with.
Feelings and thoughts aren’t a statement of what is, as these can both happen instinctively without knowledge or reasoning.
Before you run to jump to conclusions that whatever you’re feeling or thinking is ‘bad’ or how you’ll always feel /be, or even predictive of what can and will happen, or a message about your capabilities or worth, breathe. Come back to earth. Don’t run your life with the BS that results from treating feelings and thoughts as facts and letting them run the show.
You are your commander. Not your thoughts, not your feelings, not even ‘everyone’ or that certain somebody that’s actually just not that special that you need to pump them up or even glorify them.
Whatever 2014 and beyond holds, there is hope. Don’t give up on you, your now and your future, do find the blessings in disguise in what may have been some painful lessons, and definitely don’t dim your light. Be you and all that it entails. Remember that we are all flawed so your flaws don’t actually distinguish you. Don’t aspire to be superhuman. Be you.
Happy new year from Freetown, Sierra Leone, where we’re holidaying with Em’s family until next week. See you in 2014! Big squeezy hugs, Nat xx
Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .
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