From November 1st to December 31st the country and even the rest of the world considers this time as the season of gratitude. Now that it’s January of 2017, time has passed so quickly that we have a new beginning; a new year. So many posts, articles and even books discuss the opportunity of starting over; creating goals for ourselves to accomplish in the coming year. This is true. We can start over in many aspects of our lives but some thoughts have been whizzing around my head that say: What about helping ourselves to better relationships? Not so much in starting over but in renewing and improving.
Isn’t it awful how we pick on ourselves or others over silly incidents? Some people need more positive persuasion than others but overall we should forgive others and very importantly forgive ourselves. We have a wonderful opportunity to be such a positive light in other people’s lives. Those whom we see every day, every week, every month or every year; we need to nurture these good relationships.
Wise words from Jeffery R. Holland, a leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, talks about this back in April of 2012: “We consume such precious, emotional and spiritual capitol clinging tenaciously to the memory of a discordant note we struck in a childhood recital, or something a spouse said or did 20 years ago that we are determined to hold over his or her head for another 20, or an incident in Church history that proved no more or less than that mortals will always struggle to measure up to the immortal hopes placed before them. Even if one of those grievances did not originate with you, it can end with you.”
We hang on to our negative experiences as a way to say to ourselves, “See? I thought I was bad, or “See, I thought that negative thing would happen and here I am stuck so I can’t get out.” That is the adversary whispering in your ear and not God. These negative messages hang in our heads until we consciously remove them. Barbara Pletcher, a great success in the sales world, said it well: “The real winners in life are the people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better.” In every situation, we can train our minds to make it work or make it better.
There is a great tool I learned when I started my new job two months ago which has had a profound effect on me. It’s called “Slay the Dragon”. One of the bosses where I work belongs to a motivational group which set high standards in goal keeping and positive thought. The idea of slaying the dragon is that every morning when we arise we are to write down all the negative thoughts and feelings within our self on a piece of paper and then after writing them down rip, burn or destroy this paper in some way never to be seen again. It must be written down by hand with a “because” clause.
For example, one could write:
I feel angry because I don’t think I’m good enough at work.
I feel confused because I don’t know what I should be doing in my life.
I feel frustrated because I can’t talk to my daughter.
I am angry because I am unhealthy.
I am frustrated because I don’t have any friends.
I am sad because I don’t feel worthy of positive experiences.
Whatever it is that keeps you from being a positive person, write it down every morning on paper and then destroy it. Slay that dragon. Then write 10 successes you had the day before. Use a notebook to write these successes so you can read back on them each day. Repeating this procedure for weeks and weeks is very therapeutic. You feel lighter and more positive about your life as you slay the dragons that weigh you down and then remember your successes.
Your relationships will improve because you continue to write down those irritating, negative thoughts which your head knows isn’t really true but your heart believes. You begin to realize that you can take control of your life and find good friends, talk with your daughter, be good enough at work, and improve your health. Best of all we can feel worthy of a good life and good things.
Our society has been sliding towards the negative side and we need to stop ourselves from joining in. Whatever it takes to slay that dragon we can do it. We can start a trend which will help all we know get rid of those negative thoughts and create the kind of year we can look back on fondly as a great year.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.