Timing and our Expectations

Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions. I personally think there is too much pressure on families to have 'the perfect Christmas.' In my view, there is no such thing as the 'the perfect Christmas.' Christmas is a time for family and friends and when it comes to family, everybody celebrates in their own way.I spend some of Christmas reflecting on the year and for me, it can usually be bittersweet. There have been good times and some difficult periods and transitions which have helped shape me as a person. For some of us, it can be a stressful time for many reasons. Some people are lonely over the Christmas period due to bereavement or maybe they are caring for a partner who is sick, etc. so there are constant daily challenges that seem to have more poignancy over the Christmas period. When I think about this time of year, I count my blessings.

I may not be where I want to be sometimes but I am thankful for the good things in my life, family and friends and when I look at what I do have, I feel grateful. Those feelings of gratitude make me happy. For how far we've come, we deserve to give ourselves credit. Whether you have managed to keep yourself going whilst battling mental health issues, or if you have managed to stay strong after ending a relationship, you may feel like you are not in the mood to celebrate anything much. What I would say to you is you should celebrate the fact that your resilience and determination has brought you to this point and that is something to be proud of. If you are one step closer to becoming the person you want to be, then you have achieved a lot more than you realise. That is worth celebrating in itself! Reflecting on the journey so far and looking ahead to the adventures on the horizon is something that has keeps me motivated and excited about the fun we could have doing the things that make us happy.

Sometimes timing is everything. If you feel that things aren't working out the way they should, perhaps there is no 'should.' The fact that you are making progress is enough. You are doing the best you can. Your best is good enough. What can you do each day to bring you closer to achieving your goal? If your life situation is not making you happy, you can begin to take steps to change it in the simplest ways possible, Making a phone call, sending an email, applying for that job, may be the start of better things to come, Taking action is the key towards changing your situation. Working everyday to create the life you want is setting you up for success. Positive habits daily practiced can lead to big changes. When you bring in the new year, let your mindset be one that enables you to take the steps you need everyday to achieve your goals. Don't tell yourself 'I want to achieve this goal.' Ask yourself 'How do I go about achieving this goal?' What can you do everyday that turns your dream into reality? Do that and you may just find yourself enjoying the journey to achieve your goals even more than achieving the actual goal!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2019!

© Christina McDonald 2019 - all rights reserved.

Having an Attitude of Gratitude.

When we are grateful for the simple things in life, we become aware of just how lucky we are. When we are thankful for having a roof over our head, for food, water, a job, etc. we find ourselves blessed to have our basic needs met. Gratefulness makes us happy. When we see the cup as half full rather than half empty, we see abundance all around us. When we feel we have everything we need, then anything else seems like a bonus.

I started keeping a daily gratitude journal recently to help me realise the good that is in every day. I write down three things that I am thankful for and this helps me to see the positive (even if the day hasn't been the best), there is still something that I can be thankful for. Whether it is a beautiful sunny morning (or simply that there is coffee in the cupboard!) There is something to be happy and thankful for.

This can easily be applied to difficult and negative situations. Letting go of a toxic friend or an abusive partner is a good example of understanding what we can be grateful for even when we feel like we have lost something and are upset with how things have turned out. Looking for the positives in the situation can help us realise what we still have.

An example might be:

'Yes, I have lost this person and a part of me still misses them but I have more peace of mind and happiness without them. I have time for myself and for making my own self-care a priority.'

There is good to be found in the situation. Seeing this as a positive change and a transition to happier and more fulfilling relationships is only one of lots of different ways to handle the break-up of a relationship and/or friendship.

Allowing the pain we feel to transform our suffering into growth is where the magic is. Being grateful for the lessons can help us grow in ways that allow us to turn the pain in our lives into a vehicle for change. If you can reframe your perception to see the things that happen in your life as unexplored potential, you are on your way to creating a growth mindset. There will be nothing that you cannot deal with because you are open to the possibilities for change. You happiness is no longer dependent on things 'going right' but more on having the right mental attitude no matter what challenges you meet.

The Importance of Taking Action

One of my least favourite phrases is 'That's just the way it is.' When I hear this, what I want to say is 'According to who?' Just because something has been a certain way for a long period of time does not been it should be accepted as the status quo. If everything stays the same, nothing changes. We need to challenge our thoughts and beliefs. We carry on repeating the same patterns because we have not taken action to begin the process of change. We are limited only by how much we choose to accept. When we have lived a certain way for so many years, we seldom ask ourselves why we may choose to repeat certain patterns of behaviour. The key word to note here is 'choose'. When the unconscious mind is running a negative programme in our mind, we don't realise how this is affecting our behaviour. We feel powerless to change our experience but this does not have to be the case. Realising we have the power to choose our reactions and responses is something that can begin to liberate us from negative behaviours. We do not have to accept 'the way it is.' We have the power to define 'the way it is' and life is what we choose to make it. If you have an issue in your life that you would like to change, it begins with you. If you have a goal you want to achieve, it begins with you. If you feel like there is something holding you back, the change you want to achieve begins with you. There may be a limiting belief that needs to be addressed. You are as able as your perception allows. The way we live our lives is determined by the quality of our thoughts. The more positive thoughts you have, the more positive your life situation will be.

© Christina McDonald 2019 - all rights reserved

The Journey is more important than the destination

There are many paths to our destination and it is inevitable that we may feel lost on the way. Sometimes we lose track of our inner compass and wander for a while and that's fine. Being lost is not a negative state but one that can help us recalibrate and reframe our lives if we can learn to just 'be' for a while and not have to have all the answers and everything figured out. If we can accept that there is not one right path but many choices that can help us become the people we want to be and find our authenticity. Being lost for a while doesn't mean we have to worry about the direction we are going but if we can learn to hold that state/feeling we can allow ourselves the space to allow any changes and learning/revelations to happen. Try not to fight those feelings but deeply accept them as part of the journey. Embracing the stage we are at on our personal journey, even if we don't understand why we may feel the way we do can help us to find the path again. Accepting our feelings and watching our thoughts and emotional state can help us to transcend to new levels of awareness and understanding. If you cannot find the solution you need, can you just accept yourself wholly? I tried doing this recently and I managed to overcome some really difficult feelings that I thought I could never shift. Just shining the light of awareness on to whatever issue you are dealing with may be enough to help us find the next step we need to take. If you feel you cannot do anything, then accept that feeling and see what happens.

© Christina McDonald 2019 - all rights reserved