Over the last year, I have learned so much! I'm so grateful for the people and programs that have come into my life over the past year to make me realize how much I had it wrong and how much I could change things to gain more happiness.
Happiness comes from within. That was the biggest thing I learned this year. I always knew it. People had told me this for years. It was like a cliche I couldn't get away from. But I never knew how to do it. I never knew how to create that happiness from within. Now I do. That's quite an accomplishment, I'd say! Happiness comes from within when you truly learn to accept and love yourself. Look in the mirror and say "I am beautiful" and believe it! Then, it's going out and letting others enjoy who you are because you're a loveable person. Giving that love to other people can really make you love yourself even more! But instead of giving and trying to feel the love from without, it's loving first and then giving and it all expands from there!
I also learned more about hope this year. I learned that hoping for something is the thread that keeps life moving forward. All you need is that hope and the day can end and another begins. I have learned that my Savior loves me. He has given me everything and can give me more if I just ask. He will help me with everything and He has the ability to make me strong. I just have to turn to Him for the strength. Sometimes it's the turning that's the hardest part. Just look up! You'd think it would be an easy thing.
I also learned this year to love my husband (anyway). :) I have really grown in this aspect. I met my husband and I loved him because I love people. I just do. I loved him because I love everyone. (No wonder I was so bad at dating! I loved people and couldn't get the difference with anyone special so I'd say "I love you" and get these guys all excited in spite of myself.) Then I loved him because I felt it was right to marry him. Then I loved him because he was my husband and it was what I was supposed to do. Then I denied within myself that it was real love. Then I kicked myself for giving up on romance. Then I "loved" him because I had to. Then I got mad. I got mad at myself. I got mad at him. I think I even got mad at God. But this year has changed a lot. This year, I looked at him and remembered the way I felt when we were dating. I did love him that way! I had loved him once, and he was still that same person. He was still the awkward "NCMO" (non-commital make-out) King from college who hunched over his guitar and swung his keys around from his lanyard. He was just more mature now. He'd replaced the girls with politics and he replaced the music with sports. But it was still him. And I realized I wasn't giving him any credit. I'd say this is quite the accomplishment for my year too. I learned that love is not a noun, it's a verb. I learned that if I don't LOVE my husband (as in, an action verb), then I won't ever love him. It was a big change in the way I live, and it has changed my level of happiness as well. Now I feel like I love my husband, not for any of the reasons I've stated before, but I love him because I feel good loving him. I love him because it's a fun thing to do. I love him because he deserves it. I love him because I'm grateful for everything he does for me. I love him because he's so handsome! I love him because he's my children's father! I love him because I'm going to be with him forever! And forever doesn't sound so bad, actually. (Especially because after this life, many of our little annoying habits and weaknesses will be much better!)
This year, I have learned to let go of things I cannot control. I'm learning more about how to deal with the things I can control and trust God. I have learned that trusting God is the real key to the atonement. It has helped me to forgive myself. It has helped me forgive others. And I have finally been able to put the past firmly in the past! I no longer stay up nights thinking about that moment in my sophomore high school year, or that day when I was single in college, or that thing I should have said back in my newly-wed days. It's gone! And that's such a relief!
Last New Years, I chose one word as my New Years Resolution. Do you remember what it was? If you do, I commend you for following my blogs for so long. :) I'm loved! :) Anyway, go back and read that post if you want. It's short. Shorter than this one, for sure. (And I said I wasn't going to have any long posts on this blog....sighs.) My word for last year was "Whisper" and I think I've gotten SO MUCH better about keeping my voice down with my kids. I'm far from perfect about it, of course. But I'm much better. I don't think I sat and acted like a three-year-old this year. Maybe once. :)
But I've also gotten better at listening to that Whisper of the spirit. It has blessed me so much! Yet another huge lesson I have learned this year! How to recognize the voice of the spirit and differentiate it from other voices. I never realized those other voices were even out there! (Thus, the confusion on my listening to the spirit in the past!) But they are! The biggest key to listening to the spirit that I have found is this: It's light. God is light. Christ is light. The spirit wouldn't feel heavy, like a brick on my chest trying to get me to do something. Oh no. It feels light and as though a burden is lifted from me. So I started practicing following that light feeling and every time I felt the heaviness creeping up on me, (for example, when I would feel the impulse to be online to waste time) I would turn from it and do something better. It has made an amazing difference! Not only do I feel better because I'm making better choices in my daily life, but I'm finding it easier to follow that spirit because I'm actually listening! Da-da-da DUM!!! :) It's been a wonderful thing.
So a New Year has begun. 2013 is upon us and I'm once again contemplating what to choose as my one little word for this year.
I've chosen "Serve" as my New Years Resolution One Little Word. At the end of 2012, I had a new neighbor move in nearby and it gave me all kinds of opportunities to service. I let her borrow my vacuum, I helped her unpack into her kitchen, I helped her decorate her kitchen, I stayed to lock up for her during an emergency, I babysat her little boy, I did her dishes, I took her breakfast, I invited her over for dinner, I helped her unpack her little boy's bedroom, I put him to bed for her when her other child was sick and she was busy with her, I've sat with her, I've chatted with her, I've accepted her completely, I've found we have so much in common, and I'm her friend. From the very beginning, I was drawn to her spiritually. I was becoming addicted to the beautiful feeling that overwhelmed me as I served her. I kept finding more opportunities to do so. And the fierce loyalty between us now is a wonderful reward. It also brought that special Christmas spirit into my heart in a way I have never felt before.
So over the next year, I play to focus on this one little word. I'm going to look for more opportunities for me to serve others. Whether it is in my own home or elsewhere. I want to keep this special spirit with me. I want to remember it all throughout the year.
Another new tradition I decided to start is this thing I saw on Facebook. So I have a jar on my piano now that is marked "Happy Happenings of 2013" and I plan to fill it with little papers containing happy things that happen throughout the year and so we can read and reminisce during next New Years. I'm pretty excited about it. So far I've cheated a little and placed the two movie tickets from New Years Eve inside (technically not 2013 but oh well). We saw Les Miserable together and it was incredible! Happy New Year, everyone!
(Yes, I'm finally finishing up this insanely long post!)