2020: A Year of Reflection

Every year, I write an end-of-year reflection. Usually it’s fun for me and comes naturally – just reflecting and revisiting. This year has a much different feeling for me. This reflection is hard, exhausting, and difficult to articulate.

Aside from the obvious hardships we were all experiencing together (COVID-19 probs, amiright), 2020 was a year of massive growth for me. I can’t think of a single other year in which I was handed so many lessons – or in which so many tears were shed. My endurance and resilience was tested, along with my faith in humanity, in love, and in life in general. It was a year of healing, dealing with new emotional wounds and coming to terms with old ones.

When I think about the person I was when I started this year, I see arrogance and naivity. I used to think that thinking in only “good vibes” and blocking out the bad was the best way to live. Anyone that was in a bad place seemed a little unrelatable to me. I wanted to have fun, to not take life so seriously. I was lost and unsure of what I wanted. I didn’t know how much I had under the surface that needed to be worked out. Lucky for me, the universe had other plans.

What followed was what I consider to be a massive awakening for me. And I think I will look back on this year with gratitude, as one of the most important years of life I’ve had to date. 

Here is what I learned this year:

  1. Feeling lost is required in any transformative journey. Allow yourself to not know which way is up because it means you are growing and becoming a better you. You might not see the end of the foggy tunnel you are in, but if you keep going, I promise that one day you will wake up with so much clarity slapping you in the face. And you’ll look back in awe at how beautiful the journey actually was.
  2. Real awakening requires a lot of painful and depressing moments. You’re going to feel really sh*tty at times.  Anger is part of the process. Do not suppress it, but try not to direct it at anyone (journal it or vent to a trusted friend who is unrelated to the matter). Get it out. Loneliness allows you to get to know yourself. Feeling betrayed allows you to examine your expectations and unhealed wounds. You have to feel all of these emotions so that they are no longer inside of you. Allow them to pass through you. The truth is that profound growth can only be achieved through suffering, but you will get through it and be better than ever.
  3. Unconditional love is real. You can’t realize it for another person until you feel it for yourself. But once you feel it, it fills you with so much joy that you’ll know it is the purpose of life.
  4. No amount of common sense can save you from your own self-destructive behaviour. The only thing that will stop self-depreciation is to discover and deal with what is causing it. Yourself. It requires self-examination.
  5. The key to self-love is to explore yourself until deep issues you didn’t even know you had start to surface. It sounds twisted, but (like our emotions), getting it out is the way to free yourself and find inner peace. We feel guilty about things, we are bitter, we blame ourselves or others – we have to let go of all of it if we want to be happy.
  6. How others treat you has little to do with you and everything to do with them. And if someone triggers you, it means you just found an area you need to work on within yourself. Be sympathetic to others’ journeys and grateful for them helping you identify where you can be better.
  7. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. But if we realize our mistakes, that’s the first step toward improving. Guilt and beating ourselves up does nothing productive. Make a note to be better next time and move forward.

And finally, I think the most obvious lesson I learned this year is that I am resilient. I can’t be held down. Life hands us lots of tough moments, and sometimes they seem to happen all at once. But we can keep going. We can take what we are given and become even better – we just have to see the opportunity in the struggle.

I am leaving this year feeling fierce, confident, and unshaken. I am filled with love and contentment. I feel like I have a clear path, and I know exactly what I want. And I just wouldn’t be here if things didn’t happen the way they did.

So here’s to the New Year! I hope you are able to find some gratitude in all that 2020 brought to us. Comment something good that 2020 brought you below. CHEERS!

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