We are coming up to a year since we went into Lockdown and I really think there is a danger of us judging ourselves, being highly self-critical and comparing ourselves to others. This could be harmful in so many ways – and perhaps will not be a true reflection of the year we have personally experienced. Let me explain….
On New Year’s Eve we look back at the last year and reflect on the things that we have been grateful for and also perhaps those things that didn’t work out for us. We make resolutions about what we want - to achieve, succeed at, get better at in the coming year….
Whilst this is well meaning, it can also bring a lot of pressure. Not to mention the feelings of shame and failure that can be generated when perhaps we don’t achieve our wishes and dreams!
My sense is that in the next month, people are going to be looking back at the last year and thinking about how they spent it, asking themselves the question “What did I do with my time?”
Whilst some of you may have a positive tangible output – you completed a course, landscaped the back garden, decorated your home, learnt a new skill……. Or perhaps you retrained, started a new career, increased your income significantly, went on holiday…. This is only one measure of perceived ‘success’.
Maybe your time was spent ensuring your business didn’t go bust, caring for family members or friends, keeping your sanity in check, maintaining health so you could continue working or keeping out of debt?
Maybe it was spent focusing on strengthening relationships, bringing the smallest amounts of joy into yours and loved one’s lives to help get you through, supporting your kids as best you could with home schooling, getting out in nature to help relieve stress / anxiety or carving some time out to relax & recuperate?
Or maybe something else.
Never underestimate the energy it takes to deal with significant life events.
We have all experienced some form of loss during this last year. Not everyone’s loss has been the same, our experience of ‘grief’ will be quite different. Some have had more highs than lows, others the converse. So it is not a fair playing field to compare like for like. Because my like – is not the same as your like.
It’s easy to be sucked into comparing ourselves with the next person who seems to have ‘achieved’ so much. I know this happened to me only last week – Why haven’t I delivered more Wellbeing Workshops? Why haven’t I completed that online course? Why doesn’t my flat look like its had a makeover? With these questions came a feeling of shame and regret, an unworthiness that unleashed the negative mind chatter (which I am sure you are all familiar with to some degree).
When I noticed this pattern and downward spiral, I forced myself to pause. To breath. To turn inwards and to ask myself the question ‘So, what DID I do with my time?’
And the answer was one I can be proud of. It came from a deeper place. A true knowing of what I have been through. The challenges I have overcome. The joys and sadness that I have experienced. The highs. The lows. The self-care, courage and determination which have grown inside of me.
Look beyond the tangible, focus in (not out) and you will find something more powerful and inspiring, more courageous and heart-warming.
And this, I believe, is one measure of success that you should not forget about when reflecting over the last year.
Sending Love x