“As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.” – Mahatma Gandhi
I watched a silly movie the other day about a flippant young woman in New York City who re-lived Christmas Day over and over again. This was a girl who didn’t get what she wanted in life and since she had an attitude of entitlement and selfishness, it wasn’t surprising.
Well, it was a movie and stuff happened. A bump to the head resulted in her re-living Christmas Day twelve times, Groundhog Day fashion. At first she kept up her erratic and obnoxious ways. Yet, after a few days she calmed down.
With more time on her hands she relaxed and her attitude changed. She became more aware of the people around her and stopped focusing so much on herself. She realized that others had needs and desires just as she did and that looking out for them made her happy.
This was the beginning of her transformation. The more curiosity and kindness she showed towards others, the more her life changed for the better. And while the movie followed a simple formula, it made one fact very clear: If you want a happier and more satisfying life, you have to change how you interact with the world around you.
Most of us don’t get twelve takes at getting life right. We mess up, we make mistakes and often we get in our own way. Imagine you could re-live your days, what would you change? If you had a second shot at listening to your daughter when she needed you, at noticing your friend’s distress over her sick puppy, or at appreciating your husband’s affection, would it make your life better?
It takes awareness and attention to understand the subtle messages life is sending your way. Often, we don’t take the time to listen. This exercise will give you an opportunity to reflect back over your days. What are the things that worked out well and made you happy – and what would you like to change? What are the unconscious stumbling blocks you trip over again and again? What patterns are you stuck in?
If you like, record your observations in a journal. With time you will get a good sense of your habits and unconscious behaviors and how they affect your life.
Maybe you observe that your timing with people is off, that you could be more patient or that you miss out on people’s brilliance by judging them too quickly. Or maybe you notice that you let people push you around more than is good for you and that you need to set boundaries, etc.
Be careful not to judge yourself for what’s not working. Life is complex and messiness is part of it. Embracing your imperfections will give you space to breathe; it will open up new dimensions of beauty, ease and joy.
Wishing you a wonderful start to your New Year!
Photo Source: MartinaK via Flickr under a Creative Commons License