The New Year had me thinking a lot about goals, values, ambitions, motivations, life, and how excited I was to wear my new fuzzy socks. With all the talk of “look how far you’ve come in a year” and “can you believe that was only 1 year ago” I found myself even more reflective and nearly bubbling over with blog ideas – two of which involved writing about goals and values.
At my old job, we had a list of working norms – kind of like guiding values – and each day at our morning huddle, we would say what working norm we were focusing on that day. I loved that idea. I mean, obviously, in theory, you were living into every positive attribute every day you walked into the office, but how nice it was to really put your heart and soul behind one guiding value each week.
For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a new series of “Res” posts to my own kind of working norms – my own mini-resolutions. You don’t have to buy into any of these. You don’t have to make your own. But maybe at some point, it’ll make you think about what it would look like to radically change your life one week at a time.
Res 49: Give Them a Chance
There was a time when, upon sleeping in past 8:30, I would moodily write off the rest of the day. As a naturally early riser, waking up at 9 am made me feel like I’d wasted so much time.
There was a time when I would write off an entire day based on the quality of the morning – which did me no favors and only resulted in my missing out on that late morning, afternoon, evening kind of joy.
Eventually, I came to realize that you should never write off a day – regardless of circumstance. I made a promise to myself that even on sleepless nights that meet stuffy nose mornings, I would make peppermint tea and do my best.
A lot of this change in philosophy – as with most of my life affirming discoveries – occurred solely because of The Smile Project. The person who posted the first Happiness is on November 9th, 2011 is very different than the person who is writing this today. Perhaps that’s why I also feel comfortable to allow myself the vulnerability of this story.. because even people who run nonprofits based on Happiness can have their faith shaken.
This past January was the hardest month I’ve ever experienced. I was hit with more than a few road blocks and situations that I was completely and utterly unprepared for. On New Year’s Eve, I sat on my bed and wondered how I was going to persevere. And for the first time in a long time, I had no idea.
I wasn’t sure if I could go back to New York City - this beautiful little town I had come to call home. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be okay at all.
Because of the timing of these situations, I had all but written 2017 off. The whole year. In its entirety. In my panicked mind, it made sense. All hell seemed to be breaking loose as the calendar changed and it only seemed logical that the entire year was a wash. There was no way it would ever be okay. There was no way I would ever be okay.
But then it was. I can’t say I had some profound moment of clarity that fixed everything or that there was some miraculous solution for it all. There wasn’t. And in all truth - there never really is. It was a long uphill battle with small victories - even if at the time that victory was just cooking a healthy dinner.
Resolution #49: Give Them a Chance
I had originally titled this resolution: “give it a chance,” a reference to the idea of trying your best no matter how scared you are. But as I’ve sat here typing in reflection, I realized that I hadn’t given this year a chance at all. I was content to give up, to walk away, to throw in the towel. I hadn’t given it a chance. But someone else had.
There were people – beautiful, patient, loving people – who never, ever let me give up. The kind of people who will sit with you in silence when words feel too heavy and who will keep you from suffocating in your own fear. I am nothing without the people I call friends. I am nowhere without the support of those who love me.
It can be extremely difficult to open up to people – especially with those things that weigh heaviest on your heart. But I can promise you that it is almost always worth it. Those who love you will understand – even if they cannot technically “understand.”
Give someone a chance this week. Open up your heart a little bit. Let someone know your truth. I promise it will be okay. And no matter what, try to believe in the promise of a new day. You might not be able to see past the moment, but someone else can. And they’d do anything to tell you what that view is like.