By Barbara Pinkerton, M. Ed., LPC
Across Counseling Connections, LLC
“New”. New Year, New semester, New upcoming spring season, New month, New week, New day. “New”, what does it really mean to you? Your family? Your community?
By definition, new means: never existing before; for the first time; recently experienced; different; fresh; beginning; affected by time. Read these definitions again slowly.
Most people love new clothes. At what point does a new item become old? After the first wash or the tenth? When it acquires a rip? When it no longer fits? If it is used for the original owner but is new for the consignment shopper, is it new or old? What about pre-owned vehicles? Vintage treasures? Houses built in 1942 and purchased for the fifth time in 2016? Perhaps you can agree, if it feels new to you, then it is “new” regardless of how many previous owners.
How does the concept of “new” apply to relationships? Ideally, relationships are enhanced through time. One key to continually growing is to bring the feeling of “new” into each day. But HOW do you do that when tensions, illness, loss, anger, addiction, and unresolved issues seem to influence every discussion?
REnew each day through:
Making an agreement with yourself to meet this day with positivity
Listening from the heart and not hardened or preconceived thoughts
Sticking to “now” discussions by severely limiting talk of the past except for a mutually agreed time to work through chronic issues
Encouraging and complimenting
Praying for and praying with
Being grateful for what is good and right
One effective strategy is to “begin your day over”. You can begin your day over by walking into the bedroom, taking a deep breath, returning with a smile and “Good Morning!” You can begin your day over as many times as you need. This works with all ages, too.
Equally effective are self time outs. If you feel you might say or do something you will later regret, agree on a Time Out. Go to an agreed spot and restore. This can be through music, looking at an inspiring picture, deep breathing, exercising, or working on a brain teaser puzzle. Return to the challenge with a new perspective. Tough discussions need to stick to the current issue. All effectiveness is lost when negatives from the past are inserted.
Learn to forgive. Forgiving does not mean we forget. It means that we no longer allow the hurt to control our relationship with another whether in the home, at school, at work, or in the community. The hurt is no longer the “screen saver” in our minds when we forgive.
If unforgiveness or past mistakes permeate most encounters, then it may be time to consider outside help. We are given this day, this week, this month, this season, this semester, this year to experience life anew each day. With a fresh and creative approach, there is little that cannot be revived, restored, reconciled, recast, refurbished, regenerated, reimagined, rebuilt, reanimated, refashioned, remade and reNEWED.