Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Obligatory Gratitude Reflection and Mission Statement

Let's be honest - there are days when feeling grateful are much easier than others.  When it's sunny outside, it's easy to smile and go for a walk.  When it's rainy, depending on the other circumstances of life and happenings of the day, it's easy to curse and forget all of the good things around us.

I want to be grateful AND express it every day of the year!

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I discovered a series of videos on YouTube by Soulpancake called The Science of Happiness.  (If you've never seen these videos or heard of Soulpancake, I highly recommend watching and exploring their page.)  I happened upon a video where several people are asked to write down a person that they are very grateful for and describe that person and why they are thankful, then they are encouraged to call that person and read to them what they wrote.  Let the tears ensue.  At the end of the video, the commentator noted that those who express gratitude experience it more deeply and report feeling happier.  It's that simple, but it takes a teeny tiny bit of effort to reap incredible benefits.  Everyone is looking for happiness, right?

It's easy to blame our tendencies to want more, have more, do more, and be more on a fast-paced culture and environment, but, really, the blame falls on us for accepting that as a healthy and good lifestyle and not dreaming of a happier, more stress-free, balanced way of thriving as human beings.

As 2014 draws nearer and I reflect upon this last year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and happiness of all of the goods things, people, and experiences that I have had.  

Recently, I began reading a book called I am Malala, and as I read about this young girl's journey to stand up for women's education in Pakistan and how she was shot for it, I have realized all over again how thankful I am for my educational opportunities and my choice to have a career in the field of education.  I was basically handed an education here in America, where Malala describes her fight for education for herself and her friends, making them ultimately more grateful for their books, their teachers, and their schooling.  I want to be that in awe of my education and my life.  I want to advocate for others the way that she does.  I want to be a force to be reckoned with.  And I think I'm in the making to become one.

Having studied schools and their mission statements, I decided that I wanted to have a mission statement for my life and the journey that I am on to be a leader in higher education and to influence the lives of those around me.

I will be FIVE things:

Educator - I will teach those around me at every opportunity that I can, meeting them at their developmental stage and showing them that it is okay to make mistakes.
Speaker - I will speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves or who are afraid to, guiding others to gain the skills to speak for themselves and know that they are worth being heard. 
Thinker - I will continuously think, learn, and observe the world around me so that I can best help and educate others to meet the needs of the ever-changing world and job market.  I will show others that they can think for themselves, create, and participate in education and the world around them
Reader - I will read to open my mind, my heart, and my soul to everyone that I meet.  I will read to know myself and others so that I can help others more effectively and efficiently.
Advocate - I will advocate for every single individual in my life and their equitable rights to education, and thus, happiness.  I will advocate for social justice issues in my community, as well.

There has never been a time in my life where I have known more who I am or what I want to do.  Maybe I don't know the exact job that I want, but I know that I want to shape and form those around me, while caring for myself.  And that I am eternally grateful for.

Thank you for following me and accompanying me on this journey, as I continue to reveal myself and be vulnerable and be free to be me in a newer and more bold way than I have ever felt before.

Thank you.

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