January 08, 2021
If there’s one word that I embraced throughout 2020, it’s the word “thrive.”
I learned to thrive—to respond positively and to be flexible in the midst of uncertainties. It definitely wasn’t an easy year, I can guarantee that; but those difficulties may have matured us in a different way.
Maturity is seen in having the wisdom to know the things that we need to avoid and having the discipline to follow through with our decision.
If we wish to grow this year, what are some of the things that we should avoid?
1. Avoid having too much of anything.
You probably heard this far too many times, but last year, this was an exception. Being confined in our homes, we probably did things on a loop. We watched more K-dramas than usual and played more video games. We sat on our chairs or laid on our beds longer and ate more food as we liked.
Now that 2021 is here, it’s time to reevaluate. What is something I did in 2020 that I felt was too much? I know my answer for sure, I spent too much time worrying instead of praying. I want to spend more time in prayer and self-examination this year instead of having too much screen time and reading time for leisure.
When we lessen our intake of whatever is too much, we will reap the benefits of properly devoting our time and attention to the things that add value to our lives.
Think about it. What are the things that you need to lessen so that you can have more time to do more important things?
“I need to lessen the time I spend on _____________, so that I can spend more time on __________________.”
2. Avoid living your life in isolation.
Isolation, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the state of being in a place or situation that is separate from others. Yes, it is difficult to meet each other physically and we may have become too tired to face the camera for another video call. But not having a call or a genuine conversation with at least one person that we trust will also cause us to be tired. When we retreat in silence and try to handle things on our own strength, we endanger our emotional and mental health.
A regular call with a trusted friend or with a mentor can help us face each day. Left to ourselves, we will be consumed by our own negative emotions that will be too much for us to handle. Ask someone to pray with you. It is okay to admit that you’re weak; after all, everyone is! We need to be comfortable to live with the old adage that “no man is an island,” because we are made to grow within a community.
We need to avoid living in isolation by learning to ask and receive help from the people we trust. Send them a text or a PM. Let them know you appreciate them and how you look forward to facing 2021 with them.
3. Avoid overthinking.
If there’s anything good that I learned about overthinking from last year, it is this: it will do you no good.
Overthinking magnifies our feelings of defeat in every situation we face by bringing us down to the slippery slope of negative thoughts and emotions. It makes us feel that we have already lost the battle even before it started. Even if 2021 might be the same or worse than 2020, when we avoid overthinking, we can be sure that we won’t be and that we will get better.
How do we avoid overthinking?
Face one battle at a time. Whenever we try to carry a load that is too much for us to handle, the harder it is for us to complete the task and will create more reasons to be worried. We will win the battles ahead of us when we keep on fighting the battles in front of us.
Choose your battles. Not all battles are for us. We need to learn not to make the small things big and the big things small. Choosing which battles to fight is not an act of fear, but a courageous act of humbly admitting that we are limited. And surprisingly, this admission helps us win against overthinking.
4. Avoid restlessness by spending a day of rest for yourself.
Not having enough rest has cost us much more than having much of it. Sleepless nights and a full week of activities gradually give us restless souls. We thought that by pushing ourselves, we are able to accomplish more, not taking into account the emotional, physical, and mental toll on our bodies. We have neglected the limitations and pushed ourselves to run on low gas for a long trip.
Resting is more than just time to relax to watch an episode of your favorite series or play a game. Rest is when we take a moment to connect with God, to remember that He is actively involved in our lives. We’ve become tired from all our work and studying because we couldn’t take the time off to appreciate and celebrate the work that God has done through us and with us.
We can avoid having an overworked life by simply being intentional in having rest for ourselves. And you will be surprised with how much work your hands can do by having a rested soul.
It is true that there are many things in life that we cannot avoid, but it doesn’t mean that we should foolishly go through life without any regard for warnings. May we become wiser people in 2021.
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.