A Time to Remember and Give Thanks

Certain times of the year lend themselves to reflection and an appreciation of the impact different people and experiences have had upon our lives. Many of us have specific dates when we become introspective and quiet or alternatively choose to toast and celebrate those times; it's a time to remember and give thanks. November, autumn and Christmas are often seen as especially poignant times for honouring and taking time to reflect on the past.

We may wish to acknowledge the special people from our lives who are no longer with us, those who mattered greatly to us and who made a significant contribution to our becoming the person we are today. They may be missed through death or because an important relationship came to an end; it perhaps ran its course and we have to acknowledge that it's time to move on. We may have been party to the decision or simply had to go along with it. Or a crucial crossroads in our life has now been reached because of age, health or financial reasons.

Whatever the reason, setting time to remember and give thanks for those life lessons is an important way of acknowledging what we've experienced, learned and moved on from. We can then congratulate ourselves on our growth and development as a person. Going through those times teaches us about loss, hurt and disappointment and how to cope and recover. Dealing with grief due to bereavement, the loss of a relationship or our health, coping with the transition from one stage of life to another all usually require readjustment and healing.

Adulthood involves learning to come to terms with unplanned or enforced new phases in life.

- Being able to identify the positive lessons learned from handling tough experiences often necessitates a change in mindset. We need to shift our perspective and recognise the diverse emotions, the loneliness, distress, anger, frustration, 'why me' and grief, and then start appreciating the growth experience that ultimately comes from such distress.

Valuing the role other people play in supporting us through those times, the way they helped comfort our despair with their compassion, kindness and practical help makes a real difference. At those times we often learn who our real friends are. The ones who’ve stuck with us through the tears and sleepless nights. The ones who are also able to be firm and tell us 'enough' too.

- Some people heal through dedicating themselves to charity work, volunteering or setting up funding campaigns to honour their lost family member, friend or indeed as a way of acknowledging their own recovery from a health or lifestyle crisis and the support they received during those darker days.

- When we take time to remember and give thanks we can also value our own strength and ability to survive, the fact that we're able to make it through such a difficult time and come out of it, frequently feeling a little battered and bruised, but having learned a lot about ourselves and on the mend nonetheless.

- Throughout the healing process it can be useful to reflect on ways to make a fresh start. Should we use this as an opportunity to relocate, is it the push we need to move home, area or start afresh? Rather than make any hasty, knee-jerk decisions it's often important to take time to think through the implications and ramifications of such a change in circumstances, and even allow ourselves a good period of time to decide. Instead of selling up and moving home it can be a useful halfway measure to house-share, maybe rent, make new friends with people in similar circumstances and live in a mutually supportive environment.

- Maybe this as time to review your career and lifestyle choices to date. It could be time to reflect on what you've been doing so far and question whether it really suits you now. How about giving serious consideration to those other options you briefly flirted with but never really entertained before? Would it be good to retrain, start volunteering, maybe set up a small business, join forces with a friend or ally? Review the talents and interests you have and determine the best way to assimilate those into your life from now on.

- Doing this can be a tribute to your life and to your significant relationships, by providing an ongoing way of honouring their memory and influence on you. Taking positive action can help you heal, enables you to use your time and energy in constructive ways and may well lead to you finding a new, more meaningful purpose in life.

How proud would those loved ones from your past be if they could see you now, continuing with your life, growing and moving forward! Dedicate some time to remembering and appreciating the role your past plays in your present and give thanks as you commit to a positive future.


Susan Leigh, counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor. She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon. For more information, help and free articles visit www.lifestyletherapy.net

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