During Elul as we reflect on the past year and the ways we want to be better in the new year, it’s equally important to consider everything that went right. Yes, we need to improve ourselves; yes, we need to atone for our mistakes; but we also need to acknowledge all the positives from the past year. For whatever new leaves we vowed to turn at this time last year, we can now be pleased at what we were able to accomplish.
If at this time last year, for instance, you decided to work on being more patient, take some time to reflect on all the ways you made that happen. Be happy about it, too! This is a critical step, and will actually make your chances of following through with this year’s plans more successfully.
This is also a good time to think about what brings you joy and to make sure you have that in your life. When our dog died this past May, it made me realize how much I love having a dog. I already knew that, but my dog’s absence has been even more devastating than expected. My husband very much felt the same way, and so, this weekend, we got a puppy! He is extra precious and already filling our hearts with joy.
It’s not a requirement to be somber during Elul and High Holidays. Rather, you should be completely honest with yourself—considering everything that is going right in your life and also how you need to make things better. We are each a work in progress, and Elul and the High Holidays are an invitation to do a complete evaluation of where we are in our lives and where we want to be.
Be proud of how far you’ve already come, and many blessings to you for a continued revealing and inspiring Elul!