It’s the morning of New Year’s eve 2020 and awhile since I’ve blogged. Unlike many, 2020 has been an okay year for me. I rediscovered camping, with my brothers which was very fun. My daughter; a college student has been living at home since March. For her, this is not a good thing. For me, it’s a gift I have not squandered. Time with our young adult children is precious. I launched my private counseling practice in February and while learning the ins and out of telehealth was daunting I am proud to say my practice is thriving. In session with clients, I often talk about learned behavior from family of origin (your extended family going back generations). For me, what I learned from my family of origin is to not focus on the negative but instead move forward focusing on that which I control. My mother passed away in January at the age of 90 years of age. The expression she used which summed up her life philosophy was “It’s easier to laugh than to cry.”
It’s important to cry or process the negative emotions when something bad happens. That’s a lot of the work in therapy. However, staying mired in the negative isn’t going to move you down your path. Do I miss my Mom? Of course. And when I do, I remember a fun memory – almost always a trip somewhere. And then I usually get out there and have an experience. I am not traveling now but a day trip or even a hike reminds me of the gift of exploring both my parents gave me.
In session, my clients and I spend a lot of time recognizing the learned behaviors from family of origin my clients want to change. In 2021, I am going to draw attention to any positive learned behaviors they can think of to use as a tool for moving down their path as well. For me, I don’t dwell on the negative and can pivot and continue moving forward well. However, there were years when I struggled with anger because I was mainly stuffing my emotions. It’s probably why I enjoy working with clients who struggle with anger issues themselves. I know it’s a learned behavior that can be adjusted because I’ve done it. Anger is an important emotion. It’s a tool our nervous system uses to warn us of danger. However, when our nervous system is constantly “warning” us it’s a system that needs recalibrating.
2021 will be our year of recalibrating. I hope, like me you’ve found some silver linings in the pain and upheaval of 2020. Many people talked of enjoying the holidays for the first time because there were less expectations and requirements. Many people took up exercising by getting outside and walking, biking, and camping. People discovered new hobbies or rediscovered old ones. If 2020 was a year of non stop grief and hardship, I’m sorry. Sometimes we can do nothing more than breathe through our pain. My mom was on to something; laughter is a wonderful medicine. See if you can find something you control to focus your attention on this coming year. I continue to focus on eating at least 50% grown or produced from within 100 miles of my home. Thanksgiving dinner was 98% locally grown and produced! Now it’s Winter and it will be harder to eat locally. So I’m focusing on other areas of the house for locally produced. We now have 2 local soap producers we love. Our goal for 2021 is no plastic packaging in the shower! Milk, flour, baked goods, condiments are produced locally year round and I’ll focus my attention there as well.
Do what you can and focus on that. I spent far too many years lamenting what I missed out on or didn’t have. Who’s the only person you control? YOU. There is no freer feeling then letting go of control of others. What lesson or goal will you keep from 2020? Where will you recalibrate?