This time of the year makes “slowing down” seems like an impossibility. There is much to do: cleaning, buying the perfect gift, grocery shopping, wrapping presents, preparing for guests, decorating, perfecting, baking, cooking, and more. There is little time to take a breathe, let alone slow down. And that, is the reason that it is important to do so.
It is impossible to do everything, and to be everything to everyone. When we take the time to recharge our batteries, and to be kind to ourselves, we are able to be present for others. Stop for a moment, take a few deep breathes, enjoy a cup of your favorite beverage, and day dream. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.
As 2019 comes to an end, it is common for us to ruminate over the past year to identify, and laud our accomplishments. However, in most cases, this exercise also leads us to become preoccupied with, not the accomplishments, but, all of the ways that we fall short of our intentions.
Our tendency is to focus on notable accomplishments, that we deem to be successful. Yet, what about the seemingly insignificant acts that we overlook. For instance, what about the kind words offered to a stranger in need, the “What can I do for you?” to a friend who is grieving a loss, the handwritten letter to surprise a long lost friend, the donation of time or money to an organization that provides support to worthy causes, the offer to feed the hungry over the holidays, the invitation to someone without a family to celebrate the holidays with you, the humanitarian acts that serve to better the world, and countless others.
One can tell more about a person by their small acts of kindness that may go unnoticed. Such seemingly innocuous acts go to the core of our basic nature, and say more about us than the societal signs of success. Success is measured by our inner qualities and values, and not by the fleeting signs of subjective achievement.
As 2019 comes to an end, we tend to ruminate on all that we have accomplished throughout the year. All too often, we also tend to concern ourselves with all that we haven’t done, minimizing the accomplishments, both big and small.
Take the time to focus less on monetary, professional, or obvious successes, and more on those actions that you took to make the world a better place. It could come in the form of a much needed smile to a stranger, volunteering your time or donating to a worthy cause, praying for one who needs it, providing a shoulder to cry on, showing compassion where needed., and so much more.
All of these things form one’s character, and make them who they are. It is what makes life worth living — doing whatever you can to make your corner of the world a better place in which to live in. This is success.