Gentleness and optimism for the new year

Anna Malesiewski, Assistant Editor

Well, we made it. We made it through 2020, a year with so many twists, turns, ups and downs. This past year was certainly unprecedented with COVID-19, social unrest and the tumultuous political landscape, among other things. It was difficult to survive, let alone thrive.

But we made it through. And as we reflect on 2020, it is important to recognize that we lived through significant events and to show kindness to ourselves for how we dealt with them. Some of these events can be considered traumatic, and everyone deals with trauma differently.

It’s OK if all you could do last year was survive. In a year like 2020, that is no small feat. We are all dealing with a lack of stability, ruined plans and fear of what the future will look like. There are families who can’t be together, couples who missed their weddings, business owners who have lost their livelihoods and seniors who have lost their graduations. It is OK to experience heartbreak during these times.

It is OK if your body or mind is not what it was at the start of 2020. It is OK if you put on a few pounds or your mental illness was exacerbated. Your body is trying so hard to keep you alive during this pandemic. Thank it for that. Your mind is reacting to unprecedented circumstances that are difficult, or near impossible, to navigate. Show gentleness for that.

It is OK if you experienced heightened anxiety this past year. Not only is almost everything uncertain because of COVID-19, but the political and social landscapes are trying.

As we walk into 2021, let us give ourselves grace for this past year. Let us forgive ourselves for all of the guilt we hold. There is no right or wrong way to deal with these things. But we are all doing the best we can. At the end of the day, we are all just human beings looking for answers to unsolvable problems. Acknowledge that you are doing your best.

Let us have hope for this new year. Let us be excited about new beginnings and new opportunities. Let us use this new year as an opportunity for greater self-exploration. We can take the hardships of this past year and learn from them. Let us make our New Year’s resolutions this year about showing kindness, not only to ourselves but to others.

Let us work out for health rather than to change our bodies. Let us be committed to our mental health and vow to seek help when we need it. Let us strive to forgive ourselves for the last year and recognize our strength and perseverance. Let us actively work to break toxic cycles and toxic habits.

While 2020 was hard, it was also filled with so much beauty. I left behind so many toxic relationships, people and habits. I learned that life is filled with more laughter than tears and more joy than sorrow. I learned that I have immense strength and beauty within me. The hardships of 2020 showed me that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought I was.

I am grateful for what I have gained, and I am grateful for what I lost.

Here’s to a year of gratitude, growth, prosperity and love. May your 2021 be beautiful, and may you never forget the power you have inside of you.



[email protected]