At the risk of over-generalizing, I think that it's relatively safe to say that no one (save for the most pessimistic and hopeless) ever goes into the new year thinking, "This is the year it falls apart!" No... we all enter our new years with hopes and dreams and plans and expectations for good things. But, sometimes it falls apart anyway, doesn't it? There is only so much that we can control, and sometimes hard things come into our lives that we can't do anything about.
And then what?
I've come to believe more and more that the hard things aren't hard by themselves. The hard things are hard because we allow them to be hard. We give them substance and power over us instead of taking control over them. I've begun to understand that the introduction of a hard thing doesn't mean that I have to accept defeat and that things are now going to pot. When things I can't control rear their head, I can't stop them HAPPENING, necessarily. But I can control the influence they have on me by my response to them. I can give them power to darken the clouds in my sky. Or I can strip them of that power and send them packing.
There are always exceptions to the global sweeping generalizations... but I've learned a lot in 2011 about taking personal responsibility. It's easy to be a victim. It requires nothing from you but to be the person that someone else took advantage of. But, it takes more strength and honesty to look at those situations and understand that you had a choice. And you made it. Your martyrdom isn't a result of you being a victim, but is a result of your own choices. It's understanding that you had a choice, and what "happened to you" is a result of that.
I think that's a powerful understanding. It gives you the power over your situation. Sure, it's not very fun sometimes to look at the situations you're in and have to take the responsibility on yourself. It's a whole lot easier to blame others for the place you find yourself in. So, it's not always comfortable. But, I'm telling you the truth... it's powerful to understand that YOU have the control. That you have the power to determine what influence the things that come into your life have over your day, your week, your year. Over YOU.
This won't be the year that everything falls apart. Maybe I'm tempting fate with that one, but I'm going to claim it anyway. This will be the year that I respond to the situations in my life with optimism and hope, determination and strength.