“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung
When I engage with people on the topic of how they experienced 2020, I have two clear camps. One group of people who loved this year and the other who can’t wait for it to end and put it behind them.
There is no disputing it has been a tough year. For me, there are elements I will be carrying with me into the new year and some aspects that can remain.
Embrace the gifts of 2020
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli
When you think back to the first lock down, the first day in isolation – there is so much fear related to that time. The unknown, the uncertainty and the loss of control.
There is a loss for the freedom you used to have and the small incidental conversations with colleagues at your favorite coffee shop.
This period was associated with feelings of anger, sadness, resentment and fear.
Moving into 2021, I am letting go of those feelings but will keep the growth, lessons and outcomes of who I had to show up as in order to thrive in 2020.
Memories without the emotional charge becomes wisdom.
You don’t find your inner strength during times of ease and comfort; it is when you are forced out of your comfort zone that true courage emerges. It forces you to dig deep and this is what develops true resilience.
It makes me sad when I hear people wishing away this year and trying to dust 2020 under the rug like it never happened.
I get that it’s been tough. People have experienced severe loss on all levels.
However, you get to choose to take the lessons and leave behind the emotions of anxiety, stress, worry and sadness.
Replace those emotions with a better focus. The way to generate focus is through a better set of questions:
- What did you learn this year?
- Who have you become as a result of it?
- How have you grown personally?
- Are you the same person you were in January 2020?
Stress and uncertainty have always been in your life.
Think back to a time that was your most challenging. Now that you have the benefit of hindsight, what did you learn?
How did the situation happen for you and not to you?
Perhaps right now it feels too raw and there isn’t enough distance to see the bigger picture yet.
The reason it’s so important to leave behind the emotion is that memories can be confusing.
Have you ever met someone in your adult life who reminded you of a teacher or family member from your childhood? One small interaction can pull up memories from years ago and the same feelings of anger and rejection suddenly flood your system?
Knowing what you do now, you can see why those feelings came up, you have a context.
Therefore, it is so important to leave behind those feelings now. There will be times in 2021 where you are reminded of similar challenges and you don’t want to recreate the old emotions associated with it.
When you drop the emotional charge, you are left with wisdom to navigate the way forward.
Remember, you have delt with the stress now. You know what to expect. Remind yourself who you want to be and how you want to show up when challenges arise.
These are part of life, but it is how you choose to deal with it that will determine your 2021.
Leave behind the labels
“Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!” – Steve Maraboli
It is the meaning ascribed to an event that creates the suffering around it. Labelling the experience terrible, a nightmare, survival is what creates the tension.
I know many people who were faced with their businesses imploding and made the choice to reinvent themselves. They could have labelled the event as devastating but instead chose to use the language of opportunity and growth to reinvent and recreate themselves.
“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” – Ann Lander
Although you know what to expect now, it doesn’t make it any less difficult to deal with the challenges.
Remember, you are not the same person you were one year ago, you have more knowledge, experience, courage and strength.
When the stress shows up, greet it as a new chapter without anything negative associated to it. Don’t label it another 2020.
If you can leave behind the negative labels and take the creation with you into 2021, you are ahead of most.
Here’s to facing 2021 with a fresh perspective.