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The Lens

New Year's Reflections of a Mental Health Counselor

New Year's Resolutions

The first month of 2023 is almost over and how are those New Year's resolutions doing? Are you still committed to your January 1 goals? Or, like many, has your resolve started to weaken?

If the latter, give yourself some grace. Change is hard. Breaking and making habits requires perseverance and commitment to the final goal. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”. In other words, if you can see the end result you're going for, you are much more motivated to make the sacrifices needed to get there. That's one reason vision boards are so helpful. Seeing is believing is achieving.

So if you're struggling to get traction on your New Year's resolutions, we invite you into the pensive reflections of #teamsoulspring counselor Cindy Gourley LMHC. We invite you to step inside Cindy's perspective and try viewing the world through a new Lens.

Self-Reflection and Moving Forward

As we have now closure on 2022 and are into the new year, I have been thinking about how we track the events of our lives. What do we remember? What do we rehearse in our memories repeatedly? What carries our focus day to day? Do we focus more on the pain of the disappointments over the years or, do we find ourselves finding new ways to live with joy despite leaving behind a trail of tears? Wisdom says there is a time to grieve, a time to let go, and there is a time to pursue and to dream again. Regarding what captures our attention, I’ve been pondering how our repetitive focus either limits us, or it stokes the potential to set us free. New Year’s Day, signifying rebirth, poses questions inviting us to make resolutions of change or find new hopes and dreams for the coming year.

I pray that 2023 will be one with less fear. The last couple of years we have all had to come to grips with our powerlessness over a global pandemic. This event alone shook our sense of reality and made us realize just how precarious our existence on this earth can be. Even though for most of us our lives are starting to feel more “normal”, how much of our recent past still captures our current attention? In this New Year of 2023, where is our focus? Our perspective is subjective. It may be influenced by our feelings, but ultimately it is ruled by our own choosing. We give power to what we focus on. Do we focus on the pain and fears of the past, or of the hopes and opportunities of the future?

The Law of Attraction

What if this year we stepped through a portal, or a new door with a new start… not focusing so much on cleaning up past messes but rather letting go of what holds us back and starting anew? The Law of Attraction promises that whatever you focus on you will get more of…regardless of whether it is positive or negative. What if you didn’t look back, didn’t repeat all your regrets, and didn’t replay all those stories about your failures, your losses? What if your sole focus was on your dreams, your hopes, and all on the good. What would happen?

I tell clients that everyone’s lens of the world is different. We all begin with a clear lens and then life scuffs it up. We get scratches from family issues, mean comments, bad relationships, all sorts of good and bad events that happen over our lifetimes. The reality is that everyone’s reality is different because no two lenses are ever the same, even when you come from the same family. So, we tell our life stories by rehashing how we got all the scratches on our lenses, how they got cloudy from this hurt in 1994 and a little shinier from that success in 2006. Perhaps our lenses got thicker to protect ourselves and thinner at spots where we got emotionally worn down a bit.

But what if we walked through the door and stepped over the threshold with a new, clear lens? What if we stopped retelling the old stories and allowed ourselves the freedom of what we used to call as kids, a “do over.” I wonder what would happen? Can you see it? Can you imagine it? Can you dream and hope again?

Want to try?


Thank you so much to #teamsoulspring counselor Cindy Gourley LMHC. for her contribution to the content of this article.


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