A two week vacation from your regular, daily routine over the winter break can provide immense perspective on your life... on the aspects for which you are grateful, the parts of it you really like (or would like to do without), the areas in it that fulfill you, and those you wish were more fulfilling.
Many of us make New Years resolutions to jump start the "new and improved" life we so desire, hoping the holiday will give us that extra boost of motivation we think we need to finally do the things we've been putting off all year long out of fear, procrastination, complacency, or simply, unhappiness.
What most of us looking to change our lives for the better often overlook, however, is how powerful our perspective can be in helping or hindering us getting what we truly want. Above any external or behavioral change we can vow, or "resolve" to make with the flipping of a calendar page, our lives change and improve most effectively with a shift in perspective. Our strength and willingness to find the best perspective that will move us forward in the most positive and beneficial way is ultimately what will define the course of our future. Not a better job. Not a smaller waist size. Not a better boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. Not a "new and improved" version of us visible only from the outside. None of these external elements in our lives can be positively changed anyway until our outlook changes first. Our attitude, our courage and ability to work toward hard changes, while still accepting the parts that cannot be changed (like how I have accepted I will never have a flawless olive skin tone or a head full of long, flowing locks), and our overall capacity to feel joy and gratitude in our lives... these all hinge on perspective.
And therein lies the challenge.
Finding, adopting, and authentically living the healthiest perspective for ourselves is one of the hardest things to do; especially when our preconceived thoughts and expectations - about how things should be, ought to be, or were going to be in our perfectly planned lives - often hamper our present willingness and ability to embrace, or even simply accept, the WHAT IS of our lives.
There are many aspects of my own life that I predicted would be different... things I expected to happen, or I planned on having, that have not actually come to be. I didn't anticipate getting laid off my high-paying, career-making job just one month after getting married and closing escrow on my new home. I didn't envision getting pregnant with my first child just one year after that while I was still forging the path toward a new career. And I most definitely didn't imagine losing my mother to a tragic car accident six months later while six months pregnant with her first grandchild.
Life has not panned out the way I thought it would and it has been a long and bumpy road toward acceptance of what life has brought. I have risen above it with strength and dogged determination just as often as I have fallen below it with agony and crushing defeat. At times I have found the will and resilience to keep myself healthy and positive; while other times I have allowed the weight of it all to break me down and almost extinguish my hope - the hope I so fervently cherish.
So after all the highs and lows and through all the hope and despair, I have learned that nothing will improve unless you yourself decide to change your perspective. Unless YOU decide how you are going to approach your life and the challenges you inevitably face and how you are going to create your life - not only with those challenges but with the gifts you have been given - every single day. To create a life in which you live your individual truth without apology, without shame, and without fear of failure, judgement or rejection. To live without succumbing to the ideologies of our society that breed insecurities and feelings of inadequacy that can bog you down and make you doubt your inner power.
No one can do this for you. No one can make it right or better for you (or worse for that matter, unless you give them that power). But more importantly - and this is where we often get hung up - NO ONE can love, support, inspire, complement or sweet talk you enough to grant you the life you want or any kind of lasting and sustainable happiness... unless that someone is you.
Relying on others to fix things or be the source of your happiness will always leave you wanting. It will always leave you searching. It is up to you to find happiness within yourself, however formidable that concept is to us. To know that your life is valuable, to know that you are valuable, and to cultivate gratitude for the what is, even when the what is doesn't resemble the previously imagined will be. That perfect "will be" image never existed anyway, except in your mind; and it can't even compete with what you can manifest in reality if you find, embrace and maintain the perspective that will empower you to be your best and live your best life.