2020 has certainly been a year like no other. We experienced shared change and uncertainty like never before. Yet through fear and suffering, we have also discovered levels of unity, gratitude and hope that perhaps only such a unique year could bring.
So how do we best reflect on a year that has been nothing less than an emotional rollercoaster?
When taking a positive look back at the last 12 months, there are a few clear themes that have come up again and again. Focusing on these will enable you to step into 2021 with a more positive mindset, able to appreciate what there is to gain from any challenges ahead.
The first is Kindness. The pandemic and its consequences (lockdown, poverty, school closures, loneliness…) have shone light on human nature at its best, highlighting the kindness of neighbours, key workers and relatives we had lost contact with. We have also appreciated the need to be kind to ourselves, as growing anxieties and fear became a pandemic in itself.
The second is Learning. Through every challenge and every struggle, we grow and we learn. It is not always possible to realise this immediately, but building resilience and personal strength is a special lesson that is learned only through experience. In addition, many of us found opportunity to try new skills or develop knowledge during the pandemic, whether this be for personal growth or to support the relief effort.
Thirdly, is Gratitude. When control over our plans and hopes feels like it is taken from us, our focus returns to what we do and can have. It is easy for the uncertainty to lead to sadness, but many of us discovered gratitude to focus on finding happiness in the now rather than in the future. It also became a time to re-evaluate what really matters.
Here are some prompts based on these themes to support your reflections on 2020:
- what acts of kindness have you seen this year?
- who did you check in with this year?
- if you were kind to yourself, how would you describe your journey?
- what did you learn about yourself this year?
- what new skills and/or knowledge did you gain?
- what did you do differently this year?
- what have you felt grateful for this year?
- what positive relationships have you had this year?
- what have you got that money can’t buy?
How we reflect shapes how we frame our memories, as well as how we approach what happens next. We do know that 2021 will present us with more change. Every journey in 2020 has been unique, but I hope that in your reflections you have realised own personal strength and resilience. These will be invaluable as you enter 2021 and the years to come ready to face any challenges, whilst living a fulfilling life.