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Building Bridges by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante   

Lessons and wisdom to bring into 2024

by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante


Another year has come and gone, and what did we see in 2023? Humankind saw the end of international travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as devastating wildfires, storms, and floods across the world. There was political upheaval and ongoing war and conflict. Many famous people died including Tina Turner, Matthew Perry, Ronaldo Valdez, Bob Barker, Suzanne Somers, Lisa Marie Presley, and Lualhati Bautista.

The year 2023 also saw medical advancements in Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, and HIV/Aids. There is also hope in global commitments to reduce climate change, including a historical referendum in Ecuador to stop oil drilling in protected areas of the Amazon rainforest. An analysis of the Amazon rainforest in nine countries saw deforestation rates drop by over 50 per cent.

Just as we see suffering and hope in these global events, we experience this in our personal lives as well. It is important to acknowledge the moments of stress and despair, as well as the peace and joy that is part of the human experience.

No doubt, it is easy to feel discouraged when we experience tragedy in our lives or when we learn about terrible events that happen in the world. But we must remember that there are always people who care, help, pray, and serve others. We can always count on this, and this certainly brings about hope, love, and a positive energy that we need to look for sometimes.

There are many stories out there that can uplift us when we are feeling down. They highlight the goodness in people, and mainstream media often overlooks these tales of heroism and kindness. Generosity of the human spirit is captured in smaller snippets on social media sites, in the comments section or when random acts of kindness are caught on video. These serve as evidence that people do live, act, and think with compassion. Showing empathy, living with kindness and mercy, and understanding differences are gestures and acts that are alive and well, even in the face of hatred and tragedy.

Peace begins at home. Let us keep this in mind as we head into 2024 and begin to dream of the year ahead. I wish for you kindness, courage, compassion, selflessness, and hope.


  • Thoughts are just thoughts. Thoughts are not always fact. When you notice worry enter your mind, try not to judge these thoughts, and imagine them passing you by like clouds in the sky.
  • You only have control over how you react to a situation. Act with kindness, integrity, and courage.
  • Mistakes are gifts. Stop punishing yourself and think about what they have taught you.
  • Push yourself past your comfort zone. Challenge yourself and grow. To stop learning means to stop living.
  • Say sorry when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings.
  • Material things are just things; they are replaceable. Don’t let them get in the way of relationships with loved ones, which are meaningful and can last a lifetime.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Build your team. Surround yourself with supportive people who care about you and others.
  • Look for the good in people.
  • Live by the New Golden Rule: Treat others as they would like to be treated.

“If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not capable of developing compassion for others.” – Dalai Lama

Cheryl Dizon-Reynante is a licensed therapist with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

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