December 23, 2017

Close 2017 by Making Friends with It—a Gratitude Practice.


The other day, I reflected on 2017.

I remembered the good and the bad, what made me happy and what made me dejected. Then, I looked at myself and my life at the present moment, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Going back in time, I’ve realized that my life has been a chain; every metal ring leads to the next. I am who I am today thanks to what’s happened in years past.

I took a moment and paid gratitude to the universe. I mentally visited every experience and said, “thank you.” I’m eager for what is yet to come, and I trust that it will be another metal ring that completes the chain of my life.

Setting goals for the next year is imperative, but being grateful for the year that passed is freeing. We usually jump into the new year and ignore the one we’re leaving. Especially during the last month—we become impatient for new beginnings.

While I understand how exciting this is, we shouldn’t totally put behind the year that’s about to end. We have to pay gratitude for it since it plays an enormous role in how and who we will be in the future. It’s crucial to take a moment and reflect on the experiences we went through so we can open the door for new ones.

Befriending a year that is soon ending means befriending our past experiences and honoring them. No matter how disappointing our year was, we shouldn’t despise it. Although things might not have gone our way, the truth is, everything happened the way it was supposed to happen. Our resistance to life doesn’t change the fact that we only get what is vital for our personal growth.

Instead of ending our year begrudgingly and with impatience, let’s end it with gratitude and faith.

Sit in a calm place and close your eyes. You can lie down or sit comfortably on a chair. Take a few deep breaths to ground yourself and gently start going through the past year beginning with January. Reflect on your year as if you’re watching a movie, and try to link the events together. Observe how situations were interdependent and how every end had led to a new start.

As you do this practice, try your best not to mentally judge the scenes you’re watching. Try to be the silent observer and accept any emotion that might arise during the process.

For instance, if you remember a mistake you made, don’t say, “I wish I hadn’t done this.” Instead, try to see the lessons that you have learned from committing this mistake. If you remember the loss of a job or the ending of a relationship, don’t say, “I wish things were different.” Instead, observe the doors that have opened or the change that it has prompted within you.

Once you’re done, verbalize your gratitude. Ascertain how much you’re thankful for the universe. You can create your own list or you can use mine.

May it be of benefit.

I’m grateful for what I went through this year. Things might not have worked out the way I wanted them to, but I’m sure they have worked out the way that is best for me. Now I see I’m much stronger and more resilient. I am who I am thanks to what no longer permeates my life.

I pay gratitude to the teachers that came in forms of lovers, friends, and family members. They have completed parts of me that I have been working on for years.

I pay gratitude to the lovers that rejected me. They made me love myself in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Their rejection has taught me self-acceptance. I have learned how to adapt to situations I couldn’t even fathom.

I’m grateful for who had faith in me and trusted in me. In addition, I’m grateful for every person who didn’t. The result was the same: I’ve been challenged to become a better and more successful person.

I’m grateful for every person who has indirectly taught me patience. Now I know how far I can go, why, and when to establish boundaries.

I’m grateful for setting those boundaries, because I have learned how to respect myself and have the courage to end what no longer serves me. Establishing boundaries has set me free—and for that, I’m grateful.

I’m grateful for those who never left my side and were good to me. It restored my faith in humanity at times I almost lost it.

I’m grateful for the love I have received from lovers, friends, family, and colleagues. They have highlighted parts of me to which I was oblivious. They have strengthened my self-love and gave me self-confidence. They saw the good in me that oftentimes I didn’t see myself.

I’m grateful for the people who have highlighted my flaws. Instead of getting defensive, I took their comments to heart and scrutinized them closely. I’m thankful for them, because they shed light on what I need to tweak within me.

I’m grateful for those who have forgiven me and for those I have forgiven. Now I understand that holding a grudge only hurts us. To forgive is to be free.

I’m grateful for those who appreciate the ways I love and were courageous enough to love me back. I appreciate their vulnerability and their presence in my life.

I’m grateful for the abundance that the universe has showered me with.

I’m grateful for every person I have crossed paths with. Meeting them was part of my spiritual journey.

I’m grateful for all the failures—romantically, professionally, and socially. I understand that failure is success in disguise. On the other hand, I’m grateful for all the success and goals I have accomplished. I have learned that fear is an illusion, and the only thing standing between me and my dreams is my own mind.

I’m grateful for change—although when it strikes, it breaks my heart. I understand that impermanence is the natural law of life, and I can’t rebel against it. I trust that change is working for me and not against me.

I pay gratitude for the experiences that allowed me to see my capacities, physically and intellectually. It made me more mature and more knowledgeable.

I’m grateful for every moment that I don’t remember or forgot to mention. I trust that all what has gone and what is yet to come is turning me into the person I am destined to be.




Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Elizabeth Kipp
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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