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Building Bridges by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante  

My wish for you in 2016

by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante

Another year has come and gone! The year 2015 saw notable global events such as the election of a new Canadian prime minister, developments in the Syrian refugee crisis, humanitarian efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Nepal, and the tragic shootings in Paris. Also in the spotlight were ground breaking firsts. For example, the first-ever model with Down Syndrome walked down the runway during New York Fashion Week, new emoji icons with different skin tones were released, liquid water was shown to flow on Mars, a transgender person was nominated for an Emmy award for the first-time, and Disney Pixar released its first movie, Inside Out, starring an average girl, not a princess.

These notable events this year, along with hundreds of others, have all been greeted with great interest and the usual response of criticism, fear-mongering and negative commentary. But of greater note are the other types of comments; those that exemplify empathy, kindness, and support for fellow human beings. Comments of compassion for others and hashtags such #westandtogether, #loveoverfear and #prayfortheworld have a lasting effect on social media. This tidal wave of positivity and support meets the negativity and slander head on and in my humble opinion, wins out.

There is no doubt that there exists a positive energy out there that is a growing force. There are many stories out there that highlight the goodness in people, and mainstream media often overlooks these tales of heroism and kindness. They are captured in smaller snippets on social media sites, and together with the positive responses, this is 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.

Let us keep this in mind as we head into 2016 and begin to dream of the year ahead. I wish for you kindness, courage, compassion, selflessness and hope. The human spirit is strong and will carry you through the joyful and difficult times. Remember:

  • Mistakes are gifts. Stop punishing yourself and think about what they havre taught you.
  • Push yourself past your comfort zone. Challenge yourself and grow. To stop learning means to stop living.
  • If you are carrying fear, sadness, guilt or shame, stop ignoring it. The only way to ease the pain is to go through it. Talk about it, feel the emotions, and then let it go.
  • Material things are just things; they are replaceable. Don’t let them get in the way of relationships with loved ones, which are unique and meaningful.
  • Build your team. Surround yourself with supportive and positive 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 able of developing compassion for others.” – Dalai Lama

Cheryl Dizon-Reynante is the founder of Nexus Counselling and a licensed therapist with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. She is a proud member of the Manitoba Filipino Business Council and a provider for the Blue Cross Employee Assistance Program. Cheryl has experience helping clients with issues such as grief, depression, relationship difficulties, parenting, aging and illness. She can be reached at (204) 297-6744 or