2020: Reflect, Relate, and Remember
By: Dr. Dave Cornelius
Most people would like to view 2020 in their rear-view mirrors, nothing more than a distant memory. So much has happened this year that speaks to our resilience, loss, and agility. We can adapt to changes, which has been proven with our endurance to the new societal norms.
My first response was to align my feelings with the attitude of “throw away all of the 2020 experiences and forget it ever happened.” However, I soon realized that behavior was reminiscent of an ostrich. I believe that I have far more courage than just sticking my head in the sand, avoiding reality.
I want us to reflect, relate, and remember the experiences we had in 2020. This way, we can be ready to deal with the possibility of enduring our current trials and tribulations, learning how to triumph over them.
Before we can learn from our experiences, we must begin by reflecting on them. Think about these experiences and answer the following questions:
- What challenges did you overcome?
- How did you fall short during the year?
- What did you have to learn to let go of?
- Did you learn any new skills that made this year better?
- In what ways did you create fun in your life?
Even though you cannot dwell on the past and the negativity of the experiences, you can use them as a blueprint. The blueprint will help you learn how you need to plan going forward. Think of the answers to these questions based on how you will approach 2021 amidst the current pandemic.
The five stages of grief can allow you to really identify and assess your emotions. Grief allows for the emotions to move through you so that you may relate to what was difficult for you, your organization, or your community. The five stages of grief are 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression, and 5) acceptance.
Allow yourself to connect and relate through these emotions. You can do this by answering these questions:
- What trauma(s) burdened you and continue to do so today?
- How would you approach the situation differently if you could?
- Were you kind to yourself?
- Did you learn anything new from these experiences?
- What relationship(s) that you want to focus on in 2021?
Working through your emotions about the experiences you encountered during 2020 can provide you the necessary stronghold you need to approach 2021 positively.
When approached with an unfavorable situation, we revert to a lizard-style brain and choose flight over fight. We want to avoid the feelings of pain and discomfort because we remember those traumas that were experienced. You can safely approach your feelings without feeling like you are backed into a corner. Try asking yourself the following questions to ease into remembering your experiences:
- What experiences stood out to you the most?
- How will you learn from the mistakes that you made?
- What was the best compliment that you gave?
- Who are the people you forgot to thank for their support?
- How did you live by your core values during this time?
- What new habits did you start?
Remembering 2020 doesn’t have to be a sour spot in your mind. You also don’t have to turn to fight or flight mode. You can use your experiences to help work through other experiences you may encounter.
Tune in January 2021 for “Back 2 Your Vision”
To summarize, stay focused on what matters to you. Stay tuned for the upcoming January 2021 article entitled “Back 2 Your Vision” to help you prepare for the 2021 phenomena of experiencing growth in the middle of a pandemic. Remember, 2020 is a time for you to reflect, relate, and remember.