Lessons Learned in 2016 (PART 2)

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If you didn’t have a chance to check out Part 1 of Lessons Learned in 2016, check them out here!

Over a cup of coffee and some solitude (a rarity with kids), I came about the remaining reflections:

SHIFT your SOCIAL interactions

Sometimes (call me crazy), I wish we could go back to the days without internet and social media. People actually engaged AUTHENTICALLY with one another, instead of their head buried in a cell phone. Again, am I innocent of this?  No.  But it’s definitely an area that I aim to change in my life, for these reasons alone:

  • Social media has weakened communication skills and ruined relational intelligence.   
  • We seek validation through tweets, likes, and shares. 
  • We continue to feed into the comparison trap, which results in contempt, resentment, and feeling like the grass is always greener somewhere else.
  • Our perceptions of real life are skewed. Our values have drifted.  We no longer engage with those around us, but rather with devices.   
  • We give up too easily, because there’s always something “bigger and better”, tempting us. 

PURCHASE with a PURPOSE

This summer, we moved into our new home, and during the process of unpacking and putting things away, we quickly realized how much “stuff” we own. It begged me to think about the “why” behind consumption.  What is the reason, or purpose, for why we purchase certain possessions?

Christmas recently passed and I continue to be in awe at the amount of toys that kids receive.  It really is far more than any child needs.  They play with something a few times, and BOOM, the excitement soon fades.  The thing is, they don’t need more than half of what they get.  As a society, we over consume in so many ways.

We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing oriented” society to a “person oriented’ society. – Martin Luther King Jr.   

 

And truth be told, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit I’m in the same boat as everyone else.  This area of life may always remain a struggle for me, but it doesn’t keep me from striving to do better. Again, progress happens in phases.  Here are a few thoughts that surfaced when reflecting on this:

  • When making a purchase or deciding whether something stays or goes, ask yourself, “WHY do I want/need this?  How does this impact my life?”  
  • Is your answer to the above question superficial?  Many times, I believe we secretly thrive on compliments such as, “Wow! You’re _____ is so nice! (i.e. car, home, watch, kitchen, etc.)”
  • Are most purchases for aesthetic reasons?  So many of our clothes are brand names…but does that make you a kinder/smarter/more successful person? We become more concerned about impressing people and using material items to prove our worth. When does it become more about purpose and function, rather than just being admired?  
  • Do the items you own serve a purpose beyond comfort?
  • Do you own something simply because it is trendy or popular? 
  • Do your possessions create lasting fulfillment?  Or, is the happiness temporary and fleeting?
  • Remember the motto, “Reflect before you collect, and donate instead of accumulate.”

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What a strange world.  We trade our days for things. – Atticus

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not placing blame.  I’m guilty of these myself.  But, I’m continually challenged about what creates happiness in life.  I don’t think material possessions sustain it, so we need to reevaluate our purchasing behaviors….me included!

FAITH is the FOUNDATION

I get it.  Sometimes life puts us in circumstances or situations that make us question faith.  We find ourselves asking God, “Why?” or thinking, “This isn’t fair.” We seek explanations and answers, and become doubtful if we don’t receive them .  At times, our grip on the rope weakens and we start to lose hope.  But, of all the lessons I’ve learned so far in life, this is the most important one:

Faith is the foundation of life. 

Heck, the Cubs finally won the world series for goodness sake.  To believe they would do it took A LOT of faith, folks!  And, we certainly can’t forget about the fact that Donald Trump was just elected as our new president, which certainly will require a lot of faith.  You see, at the end of the day, faith is the only sure thing that gets us through!  It’s what strengthens our resolve and reassures us in the most trying of times. It also affirms us during the joyous moments in life.

What are some lessons you’ve learned the past year?  

I would love to hear a few of them!  

Wishing you the much HAPPINESS in the new year!

 MM Signature FINAL

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