2020 was an intense year for all of us ┄ in ways we never would have predicted. After all of the conflict and chaos both in our personal lives, and in the world as a whole, 2020 has left us with exhaustion and uncertainty. Going into 2021, one of my main goals is to be kinder to myself, give myself the space to process everything that has happened over the past year, and take steps towards healing.
Being kind to myself has never been my strong suit, and the stress of 2020 truly brought this out of me. Despite knowing on a surface level that going through a global pandemic and several political crises is inherently traumatic, I rarely gave myself permission to be inhibited in any way by this stress. If I felt myself falling behind in school, or even feeling more lethargic than usual, I internalized it as a personal failure┄ a sign that I just needed to try harder, and everything would feel under control. But this lack of self-empathy only led to burnout, self-loathing, and no way to relax whenever I encountered stress.
Going into 2021, I have decided to make self-empathy a goal of mine, even though it may be a hard pill to swallow in terms of my own pride. I would like to think that stress doesn’t really bother me, and that I am resilient enough to just carry on during the most difficult times I have ever experienced, but the past year has shown me that this is not the case. And that does not make me any worse as a person. It would be unreasonable to expect peak performance from myself while the world seems to crumble around me, and ultimately trying to be kinder to myself is a step in progress, not a descent into laziness, not a failure.
In the new year I hope I can become less critical of myself and become more understanding of the “unproductive” habits I have turned to during quarantine. No more feeling angry or discouraged that I am unable to function “normally”. I know, however, that there will likely still be hard days. There will be days where I get down on myself, and find myself unable to put a positive spin on life, or have empathy for myself. Furthermore, I also hope to have empathy for my hypercritical personality the way it is, in a way to still keep myself on track, and to continue building a future. At the end of the day, I hope to make 2021 the year where I let myself to practice self-empathy and patience, something I have never quite allowed for myself.