Let’s be real. 2020 was tough. By many accounts, the past year has been one of the most challenging on record. A pandemic. A national reckoning on social and racial justice. Social distancing. Rampant wildfires. Lockdowns. A financial crisis. Isolation from family and friends. The list of 2020’s trials and tribulations seems endless.

Throughout this difficult year, many people encouraged us to reflect on the positive things born of these challenges. If you’ve been on one of the millions of Zoom calls hosted this year, you may have heard one of these virtual icebreaker questions:

  • What positive things have happened to you as a result of the pandemic?
  • What’s your silver lining for 2020?
  • What new skill or hobby have you learned due to the pandemic?
  • How has 2020 made you a better person?

At Reasons, we believe in the power of positive thinking and the importance of mindset. We also believe in the power of speaking truth to what is real, to what is hard, and to what, quite frankly, just plain stinks.

With that in mind, we want to create a safe space to acknowledge the difficulties of this passing year. Instead of forcing a re-framing to the positive, we invite you to embrace all of the feelings that resonate with you:

  • Anger
  • Joy
  • Loneliness
  • Connection
  • Anxiety
  • Peace
  • Sadness
  • Happiness
  • Confusion
  • Clarity
  • Boredom
  • Determination
  • Grief
  • Hope

The options are endless. The experiences of this past year have brought to the surface emotions across the full spectrum of feeling. We invite you to explore what is true for you. What has 2020 brought up? How have you felt? How have you responded to those feelings? Allow yourself the grace to sit with your emotions and reactions, exactly as they were this year.

As you think back on 2020, consider which types of self-reflection can best center you for the journey into 2021. Many of the reflective exercises we encourage during treatment can prove useful as you say goodbye to the passing year. Journaling, making art, meditating, creating a collage, dancing, or a simple heart-to-heart conversation with a confidant can all help you process your feelings. Choose whatever unique method resonates with you.

Your feelings are uniquely yours, but you aren’t the only one with unique feelings. While nobody experienced exactly what you experienced this year, everybody experienced their own version of the 2020 emotional rollercoaster. We each struggled, even if we struggled differently. No two experience are alike, and no experience is categorically better or worse than another. Resist the urge to compare your 2020 battle scars with others. Instead, focus on respectful acknowledgment.

In a year marked by so much isolation, it’s especially important to recognize the ways in which we remain interconnected. The collective hardships of this passing year were a shared experience, even if our individual journeys were unique. Connect with others and reach out. Give those you love a safe space to explore the weight of this passing year. Perhaps, in a year marked by so many challenges, sharing our individual experiences can draw us closer and can unite us in taking on the new year. Together, we can provide each other the space and grace necessary to cultivate strength and resilience for the year ahead. Together, we can honor our individual experiences and approach the new year with strong hearts, clear minds and open arms.

Goodbye, 2020. Here’s to the year ahead.