Redefining well-being through the best practices of Jungian psychoanalysis
“In moments of quiet reflection our minds embrace the sea that we have crossed.” Holmes
December is one of the most reflective months of the year when people have more time to sit down and digest learnings, celebrate connections and start meditating on the upcoming year ahead. Our theme for the month is Reflections, and as the year draws to a close, it is the perfect opportunity to reflect. Taking the time to go through the year’s learnings is key to preparing for the new year which lies ahead. We need to uncover what we will be taking with us into 2023 and what we will be leaving behind.
I love to start the year with a clean slate without the previous year’s baggage. It is a time to identify where we are right now and what we have achieved. If you are like me, I can’t wait to start setting my goals or new year’s resolutions, but often we tend to jump in without acknowledging and being grateful for all that has come into our lives during our current year. Some of us may look back and be tempted to castigate ourselves for all that was not achieved, but this is not what reflection is about. Reflection is far too peaceful a word for negative self-talk, regret, and anger. It is a sacred time to see the good, and to identify the lessons learned. It is the foundation for 2023 on which we will build and continue to grow together.
“Self-reflection is the school of wisdom” Baltasar Gracian
“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” Marcus Aurelius
Over the next few weeks, we will be putting the year up for review. Marcus Aurelius believed that there was power in self-reflection and that it leads to strength. It is the one thing that costs nothing to practice and is totally within our control. Self-reflection creates awareness and allows us, if practiced correctly, to look back over the past without judgement. And that is exactly what we are going to do. We are going to reflect on our experiences and learning throughout the past year without judgement. We are looking back so that we can close this chapter and move forward freely – it is a form of decluttering our minds.
Let’s start at the beginning of the year when we were full of hope and plans for 2022. And yes, your natural inclination may be to focus on what you have not achieved, but there is plenty of time for that. For the moment, all you need to do is grab your journal and reflect.
And I cannot reiterate enough – be mindful of the temptation to focus on DID NOT achieve over HAVE PROUDLY ACED IT, negative talk serves zero value and has the propensity of minimising the wealth of knowledge and experience you’ve accumulated whilst in the “doing” mode.
“No matter how small, acknowledge the achievement.” Greg Henry Quinn
Looking back at your goals, there are more than likely some that you didn’t achieve, which is alright. Give yourself a break. We often start the year with these great plans but don’t take into account that our lives change throughout the year, and so do our goals. Sometimes it is important to abandon goals that we started out with so that we can achieve goals that are far more important. Refrain from defining yourself by what was not achieved and invite flexibility into your perception, identifying what you have learned.
Take the time to look and acknowledge the things that you did achieve which were not on your initial list. Instead of making a to-do list, we are going to make a have-done list. It doesn’t matter how small it may seem; it is still an achievement and deserving of acknowledgment. Perhaps you have restored a broken relationship or have come to terms with a loss or circumstance. Perhaps you have embraced change and not run from it or have become more grateful. Achievements come in various forms!
Let’s look back at our journey.
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung
We have focused on releasing what no longer serves you. Remember, releasing what no longer serves you does not mean those ‘things’ did not or do not exist; it simply means that you no longer allow them to control your life.
Compassion – Compassion helps us move forward. Compassion, unlike empathy, provides a willingness and understanding that there is a solution. When we feel compassion, we are feeling deeply – another’s pain touches our hearts.
Then our journey led us to courage. When we think of people who are courageous, we automatically think of people who have performed incredible feats of bravery. But we forget that each day we perform small acts of courage.
Than it was time to contemplate mistakes. We need to learn to appreciate our mistakes. If we don’t make mistakes, it’s because we aren’t trying anything new. Mistakes are how we learn; they are how we grow and how we deal with them has the capacity to impact our future positively or negatively – it all depends on our perspective.
“We don’t learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience.” John Dewey
Our journey of growth continued, and in September, our theme was explore and it was all about well-being. When it comes to creating balance, unfortunately, there isn’t one plan we can all follow to feel our best. Our well-being is personal to each of us for we are all individuals with our own unique needs. Well-being is something we often overlook or take for granted even though we all know that when we don’t look after ourselves, all aspects of our lives are negatively impacted.
October was all about transition. Transition is where you give yourself space to breathe, space to acknowledge, space to accept, and space to reflect so that you can reach a place of understanding, allowing yourself to move forwards, free of the baggage that change brought along with it.
November took us through to uncertainty. Perhaps we need to change our perception of uncertainty and think of it as a mystery or an adventure. A mystery is something that needs solving; it calls us to action. An adventure is something that is exciting, it will have challenges and obstacles along the way, but in the end, we will have conquered them and become the hero of our own story.
“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” Margaret J Wheatly
As I said previously there is plenty of time to reflect on why we did not achieve some of the goals or resolutions we set at the beginning of the year. Looking back at the goals you did not achieve can help us gain those all-important insights, but that is only if we look at them analytically without judgement. Understanding why you did not accomplish what you set out to do can guide you in the future.
It is critical to understand what stood in our way. It may have been a lack of self-belief, or it may have been fear. Sometimes it is far simpler than that; we simply set goals we weren’t 100% committed to. So we need to be aware of why we want to achieve something and establish whether it should be a goal or if we are being influenced by others’ expectations. And let’s be honest, we often tend to set far too many goals and don’t necessarily take into account how we will achieve them. It is far wiser to set 3 goals that will have a major impact on your life. And lastly, it is easier to achieve small milestones, and a sense of accomplishment propels us; it motivates us to continue.
Goals for next year are bound to start popping into your mind as the year draws to a close, and all you need to do is note them down – no action or commitment required. We don’t need to have our goals ready for the 1st of January; we need to lay a foundation, we need to have a plan, and January is the perfect month to ensure that we set ourselves up for success!
As we get closer to the end of the year, it is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge what we have learned and to be grateful.
We need to take the time to acknowledge all the challenges we overcame, to acknowledge our achievements, and appreciate our learnings. It is important to be grateful for all that we have experienced, even the aspects that weren’t so pleasant; every experience makes us stronger and teaches us resilience. Be proud of your growth. It is equally important to practice gratitude. Be grateful for 2022 and all that you have accomplished and for that inner strength you may have doubted at times. Be grateful for all you have!
But we did not get here alone, and so we need to acknowledge and be grateful for the contribution of others. Think back over the past year as to who has contributed to your success and your growth. Now is the perfect time to write a letter expressing your gratitude to yourself and those who have added value to your life and made your world a better place!
“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” Alfred North Whitehead
What knowledge and wisdom gained through the year will you be taking forward? Looking back at the challenges you faced and the lessons you learned as a result, how will you incorporate those into your life? How will you ensure that you don’t repeat past mistakes?
It is crucial to next year’s success to continue to build on the learnings from this year. Start thinking about what you would like to achieve next year but instead of making a list of those standard goals, make a list of areas where you need to grow and work on. You may need to work on your self-belief, or maybe this year, you rushed into making decisions without thinking first. Identify practical things you can implement from this year’s learnings.
And it is time to reward yourself! Do something just for you; it is time to give yourself a gift. It is time to practice some self-care, as the days ahead will likely be full of celebrations and all the preparation that comes with it. Be kind to yourself and appreciate who you are. You have grown so much this year; you are stronger today than you were at the beginning of the year!
A time of giving
The festive season is truly upon us and today is a day for –
And on that note, I would like to thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey. I wish you much happiness for the rest of the year and look forward to connecting again in the new year, where we will grow together from strength to strength!
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