‘New year, new me’. That’s the saying, right?
Everyone says they’re going to commit to their New Year’s resolutions, the gyms fill up for a few weeks, then things go back to normal. I’m very curious to know: has anyone reading this ever actually followed through with a New Year’s resolution? And not just for a few weeks before giving it up?
Thinking back, I honestly couldn’t tell you if I have or not. I don’t really think I make New Year’s resolutions, either, actually. I tend to stick to the good Catholic Lent, as it’s easier to do something or give something up when there’s a set amount of time on it.
I mean, that was the thought I had when I was younger and giving up chocolate or a certain TV show. However, over the past few years, I’ve tried to make my Lenten initiatives go on longer and have a more positive impact on my life and the lives of those around me — so I guess you could say it counts as my New Year’s resolutions, as well.
For the past several years, I’ve been giving up negative emotions. Anger, jealousy, hate, negative stress. Emotions like that.
Many people I talk to often include sadness when I mention this, but I don’t necessarily think sadness is a negative emotion. If it’s present in extreme amounts, sure, but I think most emotions could be considered negative in extremes.
A healthy dose of sadness is often more positive than negative. A good cry never hurt anybody, and sometimes it’s nicer to get that emotion out and truly feel it, rather than keeping it in.
However, some emotions, like the ones I mentioned previously, are really not positive for yourself or anyone around you. It’s these emotions that I’ve been trying to give up for the past few years, starting with Lent and then working it into the rest of the year.
And let me tell you, it has NOT been easy. Especially with everything 2020 has thrown at us, anger and excessive sadness have definitely been rampant around the world.
But even the years before that didn’t make that resolution easy. However, I think the most important thing starting that resolution has taught me is, not necessarily stopping those negative emotions, but noticing them and becoming aware of myself experiencing them.
Once I started doing that, I started noticing just how little it took to set those negative emotions off. Someone did better than me on an exam? Jealousy. I wasn’t invited to a specific get together? Anger. Little things that had absolutely nothing to do with me, yet affected me so deeply.
And once I started paying more attention to these spurts of negative emotion, very slowly it became easier to keep them in check and start dealing with them instead of just feeling them and letting them affect me.
I started meditating, doing yoga, working out more; things that would help me move my mind and my body and find ways of coming to terms with difficult things without having to resort to making myself or those around me feel bad.
Have it mastered it? Absolutely not! Have I gotten close to mastering? Again, absolutely not! Have I gotten better at it over the years? I’m going to give myself some credit and say yes.
I definitely still get angry and jealous and spiteful; I’m human. But I have learned and have taught myself some better ways to deal with the emotions so they and the situation at hand affect me less and are around for a shorter amount of time.
And after everything 2020’s brought, that feels like a good resolution to stick with this year. 2021 might not be better than 2020, who’s to say? But it can be another year to work towards bringing happiness and kindness to those around us, and doing the little things to help make the year even a little bit better for ourselves and our communities.
So Happy New Year, Kitimat (and all those who read this paper)! May 2021 bring you a little bit more kindness, a little bit more happiness, and a whole lot more peace in your day-to-day lives.
— Clare Rayment, Kitimat Northern Sentinel editor