What are your personal resolutions for the new year?
Answer: Allow me to
turn the answer to reflections and resolutions for the new year. The
idea of reviewing one’s behaviour, and resolving to improve, is no
doubt very beneficial. Businesses, corporations and religious
communities issue annual reports which include a review of the year’s
performance. Why should we do any less for our individual spiritual
life which holds much higher values at stake? In the Bahá’í Faith,
Bahá’u’lláh counsels his followers to “bring thyself to account each
day” (The Hidden Words).
The person who never reviews personal actions with a view to improve
character is stuck in self-satisfaction. Spiritual progress comes hard
if one finds his character to be satisfactory in every way. Smugness or
self-righteousness may result, a frequent criticism of the religious.
Most of us have issues, but excessive scrupulosity can be
self-defeating. Self-knowledge is subtle and challenging; subjectivity
resists objectivity. The teachings of the prophets provide the best
inventory of the self. Emotional healing requires skilled physicians.
Assuming we are dealing with overcoming bad habits, firm resolve is a
necessary first step. But longstanding, ingrained, bad habits, usually
require professional help. Forgiveness of both self and
others, which the renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung said was key in
healing most of his patients, is helpful along the way.
Self-and-other-forgiveness brings acceptance, and with acceptance,
comes the possibility of real change. “Hope springs eternal in the
human breast,” said Alexander Pope in his Essay on Man. Hope is by
nature optimistic; scepticism is by nature pessimistic. Which one best
favours character development?
My personal resolutions, valid this new year and every year, are to be
more thankful of the many rich blessings bestowed by the Creator, and
to be content with my lot in life, secure in the knowledge that all our
life-tests are stepping-stones not stumbling blocks, provided we accept
them in the right spirit .
In ones sense, a believer’s greatest sin would be not to be happy, for
life itself, so often taken for granted, is the greatest blessing
because it provides the framework and possibility for everything else
that we do. Resolve to be happy and to provide happiness to everyone in