The snow is falling softly outside in a dancing kind of way and I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to start the new year in a positive and active way. As I turned on my computer and made my coffee, I reflected back on the year that's passed. Something had changed in my thinking process and I found I was no longer thining about the negative things that happened.
Instead the only things that came to mind were the positive transitions that had happened; the changes that had occurred in my life that were difficult at the time, however culminated in a stronger more determined and healthier me.
For this I am thankful.
Daily I hear of tragedies on the news and through people I know.
How often, I thought, in considering our own lives we magnify the negative and yet, if we stopped and compared it to the things that are happening in the lives of others, our problems are not so bad afterall.
As all of these thoughts rolled around in my head this morning, I thought of how fortunate I am.
How lucky I am to have parents who are still living and are healthy.
Parents who are positive, kind and giving. Parents who consider me still in all they do and are always there for me.
Perhaps it is because of this that I am the person that I am. A person always looking for the positive in others and often feeling hurt or disappointed when it doesn't readily jump out at me.
Perhaps, I thought, perhaps the people who are often inconsiderate or cruel or negative or critical have not had the same opportunities in life that I have.
Perhaps their parents were not kind and considerate and loving to them and perhaps, just perhaps, they were just never given half of the love that I was given.
It's then that I look at them differently.
My hurt or confusion over their actions softens and I begin to see the world through their eyes.
I know of people who trust no one. How sad, I always thought. To trust no one.
Now I understand that perhaps it is very hard to trust others when you could not trust your primary caretakers to be there for you, to love you and to be consistent in their thoughts and actions. It's then that I remember what I've always told my sons when they were judging other people in a not so bright light, "Everyone does the best they can with what they have." and I firmly believe this.
There was a saying that I often heard when I was a child. Having family roots that go back to the 1600s in Canada and the USA, my ancestors mingled with their aboriginal neighbours and many married into various native tribes and so, this saying was very common amongst my elders. I believe I used to hear it from my Mother quite often.
"Don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his mocassins."
Over the years the meaning behind this saying sunk deep into my soul and gave me the opportunity to cultivate a greater compassion for my fellow man and woman and not to judge them so quickly, if at all.
This year, I will work harder on that compassion and learn to help more, to give more and to do what I can to make the path that others walk, easier. They just might not be fortunate enough to have a strong support system around them, and so, perhaps I can extend one small part of mine towards them.
It just might be all they need to carry them, right at a time when they need it the most.
Jo-Anne Smith, the author of this article, is a REALTOR® with Brekland Realty Group, Oakville, Ontario and welcomes your real estate inquiries. To contact her, visit www.oakville-burlingtonhomes.com