Farewell or good riddance?

For the last few weeks now, I have heard comments on the radio and TV, read posts on LinkedIn and Facebook and listened to people essentially saying good riddance to 2020. That it has been a terrible year and can’t wait to see the back of it.  Yes, the year has been uniquely challenging, we have collectively faced a major challenge. That challenge started in 2019 and will certainly continue into 2021.

So, what exactly are people saying good riddance to?

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

 — Dr. Wayne Dyer

Every year, on an individual basis, people lose loved ones, people are made redundant, people lose contact with friends.  And, every year, on an individual basis, people learn new skills, overcome new challenges, start new jobs, develop new friendships, offer and receive kindness.  In 2020 more people experienced these things than in a ‘normal’ year.

“Energy follows focus”

– Rob Nairn

If we focus on the collective negative of 2020 that is where our energy will go – into negativity. Negative energy leads us towards negative emotions – anger, frustration, resentment, helplessness. Most years we have negatives and positives and whether we feel we had a good or bad year will depend on which bits we focus on. Yes of course 2020 is different, we are constantly aware of and reminded about the big negative, consequently we can lose focus on the positives. And there are always positives. Many of the positives will be personal to individuals, I certainly have many, but there are also some significant collective positives. Here are just some of them:

  • Significant movement towards equality and social justice
  • Appreciation and recognition of NHS workers, carers and other key workers – collective clapping at 8pm every Thursday during the first lockdown.
  • Increased awareness of mental health and increased openness to talk about it.
  • Whether you wanted to stay or leave, the Brexit deal is finally done.
  • A greater focus on the environment.
  • Many examples of community support, donations to food banks, shopping for neighbours, acts of kindness, fundraising and generally more compassion.
  • Increased confidence in using technology.
  • More flexible working practices.

There are many more if we look for them!

My personal positives

On a personal level I have many positives to be grateful for in 2020.  During the first lockdown my adult son and daughter lived with us for four months, that was time we would not have had otherwise, and I am grateful for every moment. Alison, my wife, secured a job that is perfect for her. My son completed his degree and is now working and living in Manchester. My daughter, after being made redundant, has a new job in in the city she wanted to live in, the company she wanted to work for and happily living with her boyfriend. Mindful Therapies has secured funding to ensure our survival, we have adapted our services, developing more online resources and courses to support people, and we have supported more people than ever before. We have expanded the counselling service and increased the hours of our counselling coordinator, Victoria. I have cooked more, learning new recipes. I have trained and qualified as a yoga teacher. I have started learning a new language.

Yes, there are also bad things that have happened, but this is where I choose to focus my attention!

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”

 – Winston Churchill

I am not ignoring the negatives but I can choose the attitude I respond with.

I can be patient, this pandemic, as with all things will pass; I can accept that things are the way they are for now; I can let go of the need to control things I cannot change; I can respond with kindness and compassion to those that are struggling; Most of all I can be grateful for the time and opportunity to learn new skills, build new connections and my increased resilience.

To paraphrase Christina Aguilera,

2020 I wanna say thank you

‘Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
Makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter