I enjoy spending New Year's Eve reflecting back on the prior year and dreaming of what may unfold for the next. As I was doing this, two questions bubbled up for me. The first was, "What do you need to release or let go of from 2023?" Or in other words, "What's holding you back or keeping you stuck and unable to move forward?"
As I reflected on this question what emerged for me was my judgmental and critical thoughts around others and situations. My time in corporate America helped me hone my natural skills of assessing situations, processes, and procedures and identifying where the problems were and identifying what needed to be done in order to remedy the situation and make it more productive or effective. It's a great skill to have and it's helped me through a myriad of situations and led to a high level of business success. But when I apply this judgmental thinking to the people in my life the outcomes are far less successful.
I've learned through my own experiences that being judged and criticized by others leads to feelings of shame, condemnation, and withdrawal. I've rarely seen any lasting change or new growth come out of the dirt of shame, condemnation, and isolation. Have you? So, what am I releasing or letting go of that's keeping me stuck and unable to move forward? My judgmental and critical thoughts around others.
The second question that emerged for me was, "What do you need to receive and share in 2024?" The answer came quickly for me. Practice acceptance and loving-kindness towards yourself and others. A few weeks ago, when I started listening for a way to navigate a difficult interpersonal situation I came across this scripture:
"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse."
Philippians 4:8, The Message
It was a good wake up call. I realized I was drowning, stuck in judgment for the other person. I was so focused on the worst and the ugly of the other, that I couldn't see the best and the beautiful. And you can bet, I was definitely not praising them. That's not the person I want to be.
So in 2024, I'll be receiving and sharing acceptance and loving-kindness and whenever I find myself stumbling back into critical and judgmental ways, I will ask myself:
Am I meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, or gracious?
Am I focusing on the best, not the worst? The beautiful, not the ugly?
Am I speaking praise or am I cursing with my words?
Friends, I invite you to consider the same questions as you move out of 2023 and into 2024:
What do you need to release or let go of from 2023? Or, what's holding you back or keeping you stuck and unable to move forward?
What do you need to receive and share in 2024?
Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.