Whether reflecting on the past year or looking forward to the year ahead, these quiet days offer many chances for us to look inside and discover that peace and wisdom are within our grasp, anytime we choose to accept them. Here are some thoughts on how to move forward from here on out in love, optimism, and freedom.

You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.  – Thich Nhat Hanh

Grow with great love. Now more than ever is the time to be caring, generous, and patient with ourselves as we are with others. We tend to live with our vision turned outwards, wondering what the rest of the world thinks of us. To strengthen our being, all we need to do is to look inwards with compassion – knowing that what rests in the heart is valuable and worthy of our careful attention.

 

Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Begin to live with happiness. Joy and optimism are worth fighting for in this life; they are the lights that guide us through the dark. The world tugs us in many directions, and we chase dreams that aren’t ours. Yet the remedy to this imbalance can be simple – one meaningful smile, one genuine laugh, or one happy embrace with someone we care about can rekindle the flame of peace that always burns within.

 

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize that prisoner was you.  – Lewis B. Smedes

Evolve towards personal freedom. Sometimes all we need to do is step away from the “self” to discover balance and warmth in our being. The ego tells us who we should be and what we should think, making us feel out of sorts when we face rejection and inflating our pride when we taste victory. But beyond the ego there is a simpler person waiting to be set free; our true selves are living within, waiting to surface, waiting for us to release the ego and embrace the humble, triumphant spirit from which we originate.

Transformation begins with our love, happiness and freedom above all else, no matter what other forces exist in the world. And while we may find many diverse paths and helpful guides to help us discover the key to changing our lives from the outside, ultimately the only person holding the key to our inner peace is staring back at us in the mirror.