I debated a reflective post for the end of the year given that it’s cliché and will probably be similar to what every other blog has to offer but that’s kind of what I like about it. Again, it shows the similarity of the human spirit despite all the differences in opinions we typically have. At this time of year we collectively feel a little burnt out and tired from the triumphs and trials of the previous 365 days but…
The ‘but’ is my favorite (go ahead and insert the joke, I did it on purpose)! The ‘but’ means that even if we’re crawling into the finish line of 2017 we are gathering our strength to start over. It means we still have hope for what is to come. The idea of resolutions and fresh beginnings might be one of the few things we have left of our child-like spirit. Despite the fact that we already know that no 24 hour difference means that the universe will shift and everything little thing will go our way, we don’t care! And I love that!! How lovely that we are given the opportunity to reflect and decide to change our perspective and actions. How lovely that our hope cannot be quashed.
Just the other day I was having a session with a teenage client who is still adjusting to the separation of her parents. As it typically goes when we feel that we have been let down, it was easier for her to villianize a person than to accept that there can be good and bad hand in hand. As I was talking to her I had a moment of realizing that the words I was telling her were for me too. I was trying to make a very hurt and disappointed girl remember that because things did not turn out how she wanted to at the end, or that her parent had shown her a side she had not seen before, that it didn’t take away from the affection and happiness that she had experienced with her family when they were still a unit. She doesn’t have to question the love that her parent felt for her from the beginning of time just because he’s been having trouble keeping his visitations consistent right now. She doesn’t have to view her parent as an entirely bad person because he is flawed. As soon as the words left my mouth I felt the impact of them.
Don’t wash away 2017 because where you are today is not what life should have given you. I guarantee there were moments you felt happy and accomplished. Moments throughout the year that gave you hope. No matter how small you have to look to find them, they were there. It doesn’t matter if as the story of your year developed it is hard to find value or truth in those moments as you look back at them now. Because as they were happening they were real. Hold on to that and let the other voices that want to rob that joy fall away.
Friends, the lesson that little girl is learning we are learning too. Disappointment and happiness can co-exist. One doesn’t override the other but it is a choice. A deliberate perspective we have to take. It takes courage to sit with the ambiguity that comes between the standard of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. But what helps us heal, grow, and feel better at the end of the day? To look back and say “well that was worthless”, “this year did not turn out the way I planned it to” OR to say “Even with all that happened I can remember the moments I felt happy”, “I didn’t see this coming but man did I have hope”. The latter promotes healing and rationally balances what was and is.
As I do this for myself I suddenly transform from a woman who questions her worth and feels cheated to a woman that feels grateful for the experiences of the year and the lessons it taught me. It takes me from a place of feeling like I wasted my time and hope to being at peace and proud of the person I am and am becoming.
So I challenge you to reflect on your year and find the moments you are grateful for (even amongst the difficult times) before trying to erase all memory of 2017. Your bitter may be at the surface but your hope is fighting to come through.