Reflecting on Experiences: How You Want to Grow and Change

Category: Play Therapy

As this year is coming to close, it is naturally a time that many of us reflect upon our past year and all of the progress or setbacks we have experienced.  When reviewing the past, many people tend to first think of all of the negative experiences they have had and often fall short on recognizing and acknowledging all of the progress and growth they have had that have enabled them to reach certain goals or overcome certain feats.  If your mind naturally goes to the negative, Congratulations, you are normal and this response is something that our society has placed a high value upon as evidenced by the popularity of crowd-sourced review forums such as Yelp!

With that in mind, I encourage you to review your year much like you would review a restaurant or business that you have recently visited and then left a review for.  Part of the process of learning, involves looking at all of the positive and negative aspects of something and trying to figure out ways to change things if they did not meet up to your standards or disdain.  This process allows one to critically think about ways they would change or improve things if they had the power and ability to do so in the future. 

Instead of searching for positive experiences I encourage you to let the negative experiences and memories be a starting point for you.  This is a great way for one to decipher areas where they would like to see change occur.  For example, off the top of my head I can easily say that I wish I was surrounded by more diverse and healthy restaurants where I live.  Like most people, this was not the year that I won the Lottery, so I can’t go into the restaurant industry and open the kind of restaurants I would love to see come to my town.  However, I can brainstorm ideas that will help facilitate more ease in accessing healthier foods in the future which will help fulfill this desire.  Here are a few ideas of how I can achieve the goal of finding tasty, healthy food options that will satisfy my pallet. 

  1. I can begin to tackle my dislike for cooking, and look up recipes of tasty foods I enjoy eating and to learn how to make and enjoy them at home.
  2. I can take advantage of my surroundings and try eating at new restaurants when I am away from home.
  3. I can start a food finding fund, that allocates a certain amount of money that I can use on a monthly basis to buy new ingredients or try new restaurants.

Although this may not seem like a large goal for the new year, when broken down into smaller pieces I am able to see that my goals for the following year include: being open to new experiences, being more socially active, focusing on healthy eating and creating a sustainable budget that includes dining.  I encourage all of you to Begin with The End in Mind to help decipher what you are searching to fulfill in the New Year!

Amber Sanner, LMFT