I just needed to give a voice to those of us who have had already had to fight for joy in 2020, who have had to battle shame, who are fighting wars that most people won’t get to see.

For anyone that spends any time on social media, it seems like your feed has been full of posts that say things like:
“2020 is off to a great start!”
“Loving all the good things coming my way this year!”
“2020: New Year, New Me!”
“Already killing it with my goals for the new year!”

Soooooooooo what if your new year hasn’t felt all that amazing? What if you’ve already experienced some pretty hard things in these first 3 weeks? What if you had some brutal circumstances that were a part of your holiday season that have now bled into your new year because hard stuff rarely resolves quickly?

Yeah, me too.

I know that the new year can feel really exciting for a lot of people because it can feel like a reset button, a fresh start. If that’s you, I certainly don’t mean to squelch your spirit. If you’ve got zeal and zest for life right now, hold on to it.

I just needed to give a voice to those of us who have had already had to fight for joy in 2020, who have had to battle shame, who are fighting wars that most people won’t get to see.

I just want to say this:

You are not alone.

Even if our circumstances differ, there are SO many of us who have had a rough start to the year. There are so many of us with weary hearts, hearts that are fighting to heal, fighting to not let shame have the final say. Maybe you screwed up really badly, in a way you never thought you would and the shame has been so sharp and suffocating. Maybe you’re grieving a really significant loss. Maybe you’re still dealing with a chronic illness, with mental health, with tension in your marriage. Maybe you’re exhausted from a really messy holiday season due to unhealthy family dynamics. There are so many ways for us to be heart-broken.

We all know this, but its worth repeating: social media doesn’t tell the whole story. It certainly doesn’t tell mine. While I try to be open and authentic on social media, sometimes the shitty stuff that happens to us is still really new and raw, so we have to process it more privately first. That’s where I’m at right now. My heart has been in a really vulnerable/tender place, and I only have the capacity to engage with a limited amount of people right now. So I’m being very careful and selective with only letting a few people into this new, crappy life circumstance. That could change over time, but I know that I get to choose who I want to share with and how/when I want to do that. It’s easy to see posts of mine that show fun Christmas celebrations or posts about my new job as a life coach that came out this past week, and think everything is positive and magical in my life. I promise you, it’s not.

I too am trying to hold the tension of the Both/And, the weighty reality of this really challenging thing as well as practice gratitude for the things in my life that are still going well. Some days I feel much more consumed by the things that are hard. I am trying to figure out how to deal with the reality that life still goes on, even though it may feel like something has drastically altered the course of your year.


So what now? How do we move forward with the other 345 days of this year, even if the first 21 have been draining?

Well I’m just figuring it out too, but here are a few things I’m choosing to do for self-care right now:

-Identify your safe people and let them love you. It’s letting people help you run errands. It’s accepting gifts like flowers, treats, or a book. It’s saying yes to invitations of going to movie or going to coffee so you don’t isolate yourself in your house. It’s letting people come to your house for a movie day. It’s reaching out to people even if it’s just to receive a text message full of encouragement. It’s letting your people remind you that you are worthy of love and kindness, even when things are hard, when you’ve made a mistake, or feel like you’re failing. Their love and grace for me has reminded me that it’s okay to offer myself grace too. It’s been medicine for my soul. Having to ask for help is HARD when you’re used to being independent, but the truth is we all need help sometimes.

-Tell yourself the truth. One of my favorite ways to do this is by writing truths I need to remember on my bathroom mirror, then I start and end each day by saying them out loud to myself. I did it when I was learning to have healthier body image after my eating disorder, I did it while I was doing EMDR to work through the trauma of having a sexual pain disorder, and I’m doing it now. I pulled a handful of these from author John Lynch’s content from “On My Worst Day” and then added a few of my own.

-Still choose self-care. If you’re like me and your own worst critic when you screw up, you’re prone to punishing yourself beyond what the actual, natural consequences will be from the circumstances at hand. You’re still allowed to eat things that make you happy. You can still take a bubble bath or lay outside in the grass with a good book. You can still listen to music and sing your heart out. Sometimes it feels like you can’t because you feel like you don’t deserve it (that’s the shame piece), but fight for your heart to get those things back because you will NEED them to survive your hard season.

-If you need to, reach out to a mentor, life coach, or counselor. There is no shame in that game. It is WISE to let people you trust sit with you in the middle of hard things. You don’t have to go it alone.

It’s okay if the year didn’t start off the way you planned it. Your year isn’t doomed and you are not doomed. Even on your worst day, you are capable of growth, change, and making amends. Even on your worst day, you still have strengths that are going to help you tackle the challenges you are facing. Even on your worst day, you are not defined by your failures. On your worst day, you are still resilient. Wherever you’re at and whatever you’re dealing with, know that I’m in your corner.