When I was a psychotherapist, one of the homework assignments I would give my adult patients was to have them write their own obituary. I know this sounds like a strange assignment, but many people who are stuck, depressed, unsure or angry can benefit.
The obituary should be written as if it would be placed in the local paper or perhaps read at your funeral. It can be a very powerful personal reflection exercise. The process of writing helps clarify how you want your life to be, what you wish you were doing and how you wish you were living.
Sometimes, patients would discover that they were really doing a lot of what they wanted to be doing. Or, more often, they saw they had been side-tracked onto a different path. During the session, I would ask the patient to choose one or two things from the obituary they could do right now, and we would work on these goals together.
In the end, when you take the time to look back on your life, you may realize the things you thought were so important (ie. what other people think, money, goods, etc.) are not really crucial at all. What will be important is up to YOU. I can almost personally guarantee that on your list will be: being a good person, giving back to the world (as you can always find someone with less or in more need), and leaving the world a better place than how you found it.
Almost every life-changing decision I have made has sprung from practicing what I preach, taking time to think about the kind of person I want to be in this life and considering how I’d like to be remembered. I live my life striving to be the best wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, teacher and person. Can I always do it? NO. But I try. At the end of the day, that is all you can really ask of anyone. TRY to be the best you can be.
As we start the New Year, I hope this moment of reflection will propel you forward to find how you can give back and therefore become the BEST you can be! As I end this reflection I just want to say that that there are so many worthy organizations that need your help right now. If every one of us took the time to give back, our world would be a different place.
I have chosen to put my efforts into keeping KidSafe. If you would like to join us in our mission to keep children safe, please join our Facebook Group, Follow KidSafeMoms on twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org.