I am not sure if it is just me or if any of you feel this way, but I do not like the way the news shows all think we want to hear about everything that happened over the last year. Of course, I have some terrific memories from 2012, but as with any year there were some tragic personal losses, difficult times and devastating national stories.
As we go through the life cycle we lose more of our family to illness and old age;however, this last year I felt touched by all the losses of the young people. My perspective has changed of course because I see anyone under the age of fifty as young. I know that we all are still mourning and shaking our heads at the violence that we see perpetuated every day in our country.
As a therapist, one of the first things that I do in the first session is a genogram with my clients. This is a family map that looks back at the family history going back to find patterns in the family system. It is an extremely vital part of uncovering any dysfunctional patterns, traumas, medical problems, addiction or mental health issues. Becoming aware of these patterns has a staggering impact on clients. Many times they have not realized the ramifications of their family of origin, their childhood and their parent’s dysfunctional lifestyle on their own mental health. Once they see the pattern they are able to recognize it in their own life.
So why don’t I like to look back at the last year on New Year’s Eve? I use my critical thinking skills all year,and I am aware of what is happening at the time. I am present in my life, and I am exceedingly good at keeping up with what is happening in the world around me. That ability to be mindful of what is happening around me helps me to dissimulate the information that I receive. Learning the skills of critical thinking, has helped me to improve myself as an individual,friend, spouse and therapist. I have worked at this, and my listening skills to become more present for those in my life. Therefore, when we arrive at the end of the year, I do not need to look back to determine where to go from here. I want to look forward.
Looking forward to where I move my clients in therapy. That is what they are looking for when they arrive in my office. They want to move forward with their lives. Once they have gained the awareness of how they got to where they are, we begin reconstruction. We reconstruct their story.
A new year is the when we all want to change our lives. We look at the new calendar as a fresh start, and we decide that we will lose weight, find happiness and make a million dollars all in the next twelve months Without critical thinking or gaining the awareness of how you arrived at where you are, you cannot clearly define your map for the next year.
You have probably had some devastating losses, hard times and sad moments over the last year and you may not want to be reminded of your mistakes. In spite of your anxiety over what happened last year you must use what you have learned and reconstruct your new year. After all that is all we can do. We cannot change the past, but you cannot change what you do not acknowledge.
If you feel today that something isn’t working in your life, and you are not sure why or how you arrived at where you are, please call my office or find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and reconstruct your future. If you do not take steps to learn from your past, you will be sitting with the same anxiety at the end of 2013.
My wish for you and yours is a remarkably Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year!