Several years ago, I read a book about a man who was visited by an angel. Among other things that were discussed, the angel drew a picture frame on a plain sheet of paper; he put a little black dot at the centre of the frame. The angel then explained to the man that all the goodness he had experienced and all his prayers that had been answered were represented by the space within the picture frame. The black dot, however, represented the desires that were yet to be fulfilled. The angel explained that a lot of times, people focus their attention on that little black dot, so it grows to fill the entire picture frame, creating the impressing that there is nothing good in life.
This is the time of the year when we settle down to evaluate our year. We are just a few days away from 2017, and we need to assess our performances in the outgoing year. No doubt that at the beginning of 2016, we all made a list of the things we hoped to achieve during the year, and now is the right time to take stock. As humans, there is a high tendency for us to focus on our unfulfilled desires and unattained goals. We beat ourselves up for falling short of our expectations or other people’s expectations of us. But come on, 2016 has not been without its glorious moments. There is a lot to be thankful for. While I cannot claim to know what is happening in your life, I can give you a few reasons to be thankful.
- You are still here: ok, tell me it’s a cliché, but that doesn’t erase the truth does it? Life is a gift that you ought to be grateful for. There were people with great dreams and potentials who didn’t make it till the end of the year. Some had even achieved all you dreamt of achieving at the beginning of the year, but they couldn’t enjoy the benefits. Being alive means having another opportunity to turn your story around.
- You have more successes than failures: I have always heard the song about counting one’s blessings and I thought it was nice. A couple of months ago, however, I actually attempted to write the good things that happened in my life this year. I discovered two things: first, I had forgotten a lot of them and second, the ones I remembered, they seemed so distant in my memory that I thought they happened last year. I was pleasantly surprised after drawing up my list. In comparison, I discovered I had fewer things to complain about. Again, if you are the type of person who learns from mistakes, then congratulations because you are the ultimate winner. All your failures in 2016 are lessons to help make 2017 more fruitful
- Open up, don’t close up: when you focus on the things that are not working in your life, you close yourself up to the possibility that you are making progress. You may not be where you want to be, but you are not where you used to be. Whether by flying, running, walking or crawling, you must have moved forward. Open up to that possibility and be thankful for what you’ve got.
- Being thankful doesn’t mean being satisfied: this doesn’t mean that you are sealing off your achievements; it simply means that you acknowledge that things could have been worse.
- If you don’t see anything good in 2016, there may not be any in 2017: now hold it a minute before you turn cold on me! This is not a curse. Ungratefulness is not an action but an attitude. Whoever didn’t see anything worth celebrating in 2016 may fail to see same in 2017. Little things add up to make big things; whoever fails to see the little things in life may miss the big ones too.
- Don’t judge yourself by other people’s standards: A lot of people set their goals in competition with other people. If you want to beat people in their own games, of course you will fall short. The best person to compete with is yourself. Considering your capacity at the beginning of the year (and completely ignoring other people’s standards), do you think you have made some progress? That calls for celebration doesn’t it? As we look forward to 2017, let us spend the remaining days in gratitude.
Please let me know what you are thankful for by commenting below