January 13, 2020

New Year – Passivity or Potential?

As we embark on a New Year and decade, Fiona Cook, PTSTA one of the Directors of Physis Scotland reflects on passivity and potential…

Longer days? A new start? New Year resolutions? Review of the past year and hopes for this one? Nature regenerating? Prospect of snow and ice?

We never know what a new year brings, do we? Or what we are thinking about as we embark on a new year. Like every day of our lives we live with a degree of uncertainty but that should not stop us planning or making re-decisions about how we choose to live our lives from now onwards. In one sense we can do this at any time, but a new year can provide us with an opportunity to do this more consciously.

I’ve never been one for consciously making short term, medium and longer term goals in my life if I’m being honest, more taking each day as it comes and see what happens. However, a colleague quoted to Fi and I recently ‘a vision without a plan is a hallucination’. I think it was a classic quote from Henry Ford and it did get me thinking. If I don’t plan for things in my life then, I could potentially sink into some kind of passivity and complacency. Is this what I want?

So, I have been thinking about what matters to me and what is important to me; who matters to me and who is important to me to help guide my thinking, feelings and behaviour as I move forward with my life. I know that I cannot change other people, I can only change myself if I want to, so that is a useful principle to consider as I embark on a new year. I do also have to consider the impact of any new decisions for others in my family, work and social communities, because the minute I choose to do something differently, I know something different will happen. Some of the unknown scares me if I’m being honest. It is easier to stay in a place that I know well, even when I am not entirely comfortable with it, than step into something new where there are things I do not know.

I have long loved the Johari’s window model of self awareness. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window
It was created by psychologists Joseph Luft (1916–2014) and Harrington Ingham (1916–1995) in 1955, hence Johari’s window. The part of me that was always fascinated by it was the reference to the unknown self and how we get to know this part of ourselves better. Those of us in therapy have probably done this kind of work with our therapists, but it still does not have to stop us living out the principles of the window in opening up our open part of self by becoming more vulnerable and telling people about the parts of us we might keep hidden and also inviting feedback from others about our potential blind spots. When we do this, our unknown self becomes smaller and I am not so scared of the unknowns in my life.

Now don’t get me wrong, it can be scary becoming more vulnerable with others and inviting feedback from others can also be nerve wracking. But I know I always feel more connected to myself and others when I do it.

So, what about 2020 for me? Well, what I think I will do is begin to answer my own questions and see where they take me. If I am nervous about my potential responses, can I speak about them with others so that they can be normalised and integrated into my life. Sharing my hopes and fears with others can be liberating and life changing and who knows I might find the support and challenge to take stock and maybe even do something differently. Possibly unleashing potential I did not even know I have in the process.

What about you? Good luck for 2020 and hope all your dreams for this new year come true because you have made them happen!

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