I wanted to share with you a great habit that I was taught to carry out at the turn of the year, and which has served me well .. which is reflecting on what happened in the past year and how I handled it.
I love the quiet time in between Christmas and New Year and I made a commitment to myself a while ago to take this time for myself, for quiet enjoyment of the season, the weather, and taking a look back over the past twelve months.
Life has a habit of throwing the unexpected in our way (thanks 2020!), however well we plot and plan our lives, and often I’ll be surprised at the things that happened that I could never have predicted the year before. Sometimes these are wonderful and sometimes less so: in examining how I responded I find clues to who I am and how I’m showing up in my life and others’
So maybe you’d like to join me. Carve out a little space for yourself in the next few days to ask these questions:
What happened in this past year that I could never have predicted?
How did I respond? Was that helpful to me and those around me?
Who was important to me in the past year?
What one thing would I have liked to be different?
What would I like to do differently in this coming year?
I’d love to hear your thoughts .. do you have any other questions you’ve found useful?
After a while together it’s easy to assume the people we know also know everything about you, but stop a minute and think about that ..in reality you go out and learn new stuff every day, you’re constantly changing and growing and there’s no way others can keep up with all those new bits of you ..
So share something that others don’t know about you today .. we’ve all been forced to change in lots of ways in 2020 .. maybe you took up running this year, or learned to crochet Star Wars characters ..
Sometimes it’s tempting to take the good things for granted and only focus on the things people do wrong .. we can have long conversations with our friends and family about the difficulties they’re having.
How about taking some time to high five someone you know for something they do or have been doing really well .. this year maybe more than any other we could all do with a reminder of the efforts we’ve been putting in.
Healthy relationships don’t happen by accident, they’re the result of people putting time and attention into what feeds our relationships each day, like making small deposits into a bank account that we can draw on when we need it.
Today I invite you to pay into your relationship bank account by finding something practical that you can do for someone you care about. Something that would make a difference.
Maybe you could hang a picture that’s been leaning up against the wall for a year; run an errand; pick up some shopping; do some mending or ironing; drop off some screenwash .. over to you.
Nothing is more meaningful than when we take the time to find the right image to go with a message, so today think about finding a great gif or photo to show someone you care about how you feel. You could even draw, craft or paint something.
We’re so used to quickly capturing a moment in time, publishing it and moving on.
Take just six seconds today to stop, and share a moment in real time .. 6 seconds that will bring you closer with someone you’re with .. if you’re alone right now, use that 6 seconds to bring someone to mind you care about, and notice how that changes how you feel in your body.
Words mean a lot to some people and less to others.
If words are important to someone you know why not write them a note to let them know how you feel .. or if you have writer’s block pop into a card shop and find the perfect message.
I’ve decided to take a little more time over my Xmas cards this year, to make my words a bit more personal and to the extra time to think about and appreciate how my relationships have sustained me over the past year.
It’s good to be shifted out of our routines .. once our relationships develop it’s easy to do the same things day to day. But doing new things together stimulates us to feel affection and encourages us to communicate more.
One of the things I’ve noticed about this year’s pandemic is that it’s jolted me out of my habits and forced me to find new ways of doing things. Friendships have deepened and I’ve got to know people in different ways .. who knew one of my colleagues has a chainsaw certificate!!
I invite you to reflect back on what and how you’ve done things differently this year, how that’s affected your relationships with others, and stay open to making this one thing you commit to continuing once all this is past.
The number one thing that shifts things for people I work with is when they start communicating differently with those around them. Sometimes that’s finding ways to say something difficult in a sightly different way, and often it’s about recognising and taking ownership of our part in an interaction.
Research shows that 5 positive interactions to every 1 more difficult interaction serve to strengthen relationships and make disagreements easier to manage.
So get into good habits .. Tell those around you what they did to make you happy today, whether that’s a ‘good work today’ to staff or a ‘thanks for that yummy meal’ to a family member or waiter.
Maybe you text your friends, colleagues and family all the time, but how many of those messages are about your relationship. Using all the opportunities to communicate our appreciation is vital in order to stay connected in the face of the challenges that we face each day.
Text someone to let them know you appreciate the relationship, even if it’s just from the shed or the office next door!