Move Into 2021 With Forgiveness & Gratitude

How to have the best year ever.

The next time I speak with you again, it will be 2021!!! While I can’t wait to bring out the bubbly and say hurrah, I’d like to encourage everyone to take a moment and reflect on 2020.

Many people’s lives have been turned upside down and many have suffered losses. Loss of loved ones, homes, jobs. But I encourage everyone to take some time to find the silver-lining among all the chaos, and go forward into the new year with gratitude. I know this can be hard–really hard. Especially for those who have lost a loved one unexpectedly. The wounds may still be fresh, but whenever I get into this mindset, I like to remind myself of this quote:

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

The original source of this is quote is unknown, but it has been used with some variations through the years because it is so powerful. Being angry will only rot away at your own soul–the pandemic, the economy, the heads-of-state have no feelings. The world continues to turn, even if you decide to stand still.

I want to be clear here, I’m not asking everyone to just “move on” or “get over it”. Take the time you need to process your loss, process your grief. This will indeed take time. But we need to put forgiveness on our to-do list. We need to make forgiveness a priority because if we don’t, our brains will start to recognize that emotion as a pattern–it becomes habitual. Then, like any habit–it will take that much longer to break away from. I’m also not saying that just because you forgive, that you’ll forget. Especially if you’ve lost a loved one, it does not mean that you won’t miss them, or get sad when you think of them. You will, and that’s okay.

What I’m talking about is walking around with a chip on your shoulder, or turning into that grumpy old man everyone avoids because no matter what, they are unhappy. Because that is what will become of you if you don’t forgive. You will be stuck in a perpetual loop of unhappiness–and that benefits no one. Not you, not your family, not anyone in your world.

So, how do you prevent this? Gratitude.

When you are in the state of gratitude, you cannot feel anger. When you are in the state of gratitude, you cannot feel fear. Gratitude is like the super-hero of emotions. It knocks the bad feelings out and replaces them with calm and contentment.

But the key is not just to say you’re grateful, or to act grateful. You need to feel grateful. This part takes a little bit of practice. This process can be a bit different depending on your particular situation. A good way to start if you’ve suffered a deep loss, is to maybe jot down some memories beforehand, or look through some old photos to remind you of the good times. Maybe you need to go through the year and think of one or two good things that happened to you each month.

For me, I lost my job of 12 years. It was a good job with benefits, a good salary, and a pension. I remember that although I didn’t really love the job (my true passion has always been acting), it was our primary source of income at the time. I was fearful of our financial future. I was fearful of the unknown, and I was angry at the pandemic for closing schools down, for making my job obsolete.

But, somehow, we made it work. Somehow, I’m standing on the other side of this job loss, inspired by new career and money-making opportunities, a deeper connection with my kids, and more resilience than I’ve every truly known. I’m grateful for the big moments (losing 5lbs, booking new roles, my husband getting a big commission cheque), and the little ones (having time to cuddle with my boys on the couch, family movie nights, baking Christmas cookies for our neighbours). It may be hard to recognize, but there truly is gain in every loss.

Once you’ve figured out some moments to focus on, you need to quiet your mind, and simply remember the good times. Let this feeling sink in, and overwhelm you. It could be big moments or little moments, or just something as sweet as a smile on a loved ones face. Cry if you need to, laugh if it feels right, let it all go. Sit in this feeling for a few minutes everyday. The best times are in the morning upon waking up, or just before going to sleep–when your mind and body are at a relaxed state. The more your practice, the more you will have to be grateful for. You’ll train your brain to find joy in the smallest moments throughout your ordinary day. You will feel inspired, good things will seem like they are flowing naturally to you, and goals will be easier to achieve. And that is how you set yourself up to have the best year ever.



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