One of the things I love about the new year is that it gives us permission to begin life all over again. Like a child's game, once a year, we get a psychic do-over. No matter where life has led you, on New Year's Eve, you are encouraged to forget the old and wake up anew on Jan. 1.
Fresh starts, no matter how belated, are a gift. The thought of casting off the shackles of a bad year, whether it be conflict at work, in love or even in ourselves, can inspire the indomitable human spirit to soar to new heights.
Many times, the inability to imagine that things can be better is what holds us in the grip of sadness or despair. Sometimes just being able to see in our mind's eye that happiness is within our grasp can move us toward it.
Most therapists will tell you that by the time a couple gets to counseling, the relationship is 90 percent gone. My experience has been quite the opposite. I know it's never too late to have a happy relationship or a loving family. Failure in those areas occurs only when one or both persons give up or get caught up in the anger and drama. And, yes, sometimes mental illness or bad behavior can ruin the chances of any reconciliation, but that's not the norm.
We all know of people who have lost everything only to find it again. We'll usually give credit to dumb luck, hard work or even good therapy. The real truth is that people who have made fresh starts have found the ability to do so somewhere inside themselves. The trick is that you have to take the time to look for it.
Making the conscious choice to start over takes effort. It begins with the willingness to want things to change and the courage to take personal responsibility. Understanding why things went wrong is not as important as making the commitment to change them. What's truly necessary is a desire to make things better and a vision of what that will look like. Simply making the choice to not bring your history into every interaction you have with your partner is a great way to begin this process. Our time here is limited. I believe in making each day count. How and what we count is up to each of us. It's not a matter of keeping score; it's more a matter of having a sense of what makes us feel joyful. For some, it can be found in the present moment, and for others, it is what they see or dream of in the days ahead. As this new year begins, take a moment to see where you want your life and your relationships to be. If you know in your heart that you want things to change, know also that you have the power and the ability to make it happen. Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., has resided and practiced in Westlake Village, Calif., for a decade. Source: Scripps Howard. Powered by YellowBrix.