Finding Peace and Moving Forward in the New Year
The New Year is an opportunity for many to put aside the past and focus on new beginnings. Many of us make New Year resolutions like going to the gym, starting a diet, and getting healthy while others decide on a word that they choose for the upcoming year, which helps them stay grounded on what they want to focus on for the year.
But for those who are grieving or going through a difficult season in life, the new year can bring up a wave of emotions. While others are celebrating, counting down to the last seconds of December and welcoming in a new year of possibilities, for those grieving, New Year’s looks different. It is hard to look at 365 days of opportunities ahead of us when all you can feel is the pain of loss and the suffering of life challenges.
I’ll never forget the first New Year’s eve after Michael passed, while others went out to celebrate, I stayed home sobbing on the sofa. The intense pain I felt was not unusual; for the first year of his passing, I felt numb. As I faced entering a new year without him, it hit me hard, and truthfully I didn’t know how I would get through another year without him.
But I did, and we do, and the pain lessens over time. You will never “not” grieve because you loved, but you will learn to manage through it, accept that you will have days of pain and days of happy memories as you grow towards a place of healing.
Depending on how you feel and which stage of the grieving process you are in, you can determine how you want to spend your New Year’s eve.
Wouldn’t it be nice to resolve to find happiness and a spark of joy in your life in the new year? I made that decision to work towards finding joy again that first New Year’s eve after the passing of Michael. By allowing myself to lean into my grief and to learn and understand what I was going through, I was able to process it and find the peace of moving forward in my life while accepting that I will continue to have days of pain but now mostly smiles of cherished memories.
I am not suggesting that you will ever get over your grief; you won’t because you loved it will be a part of you forever, but constant pain will lessen, and you will even find happiness in the memories.
It’s Okay to Grieve
It is okay to grieve if this is your first year or whether it’s been many years since the loss, or whether you are facing other life issues, it’s essential to acknowledge your feelings, which leads to healing.
Accept that you are grieving/suffering but that you are also healing each day; if you look back, it may be surprising to recognize how far you have come. We change and grow
each day, and though the pain is there, it can make us stronger. Your feelings and emotions will change, and you will not be in the space you are right now tomorrow, a week from now, or 365 days from now.
Don’t resist change; we can attempt to think that to process through grief is trying to stay where you are now, precisely the same. The opposite is true, by allowing ourselves to feel, embrace, recognize, and lean into our pain is part of the healing process.
We grow and heal by ceasing to resist that which can help us heal. It is vital to not hold back on what you are feeling right now even to feel the painful emotions; this is all part of your journey towards healing.
The Year of New Beginnings
Let this be the year of finding new beginnings for you and to work through your pain; you deserve to be happy. Recognize that your life will never be the same; you will need to find your new normal in your life faced with loss.
Finding ways to work through grief and healing will help you discover that though you will never fully get over your loss you can find peace and move forward to your new life. Let this year be a time to heal and a time to learn how to cherish the memories while learning to find peace in your life again.
What is Your Word
A lot of people pick a word of the year, and the idea is that if we choose a meaningful word to guide us every day throughout the year, a word that describes how we want to live this year, it helps keep us focused on what we want to accomplish.
Perhaps your word is peace, joy, happiness? Those are the words we want to focus on while grieving because they seem so elusive.
My word this year is “renewal.” This scripture and the reflection of 2019 are what put me in the place of renewal of my mind, body, and soul.
Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
My focus this year is to focus on eternal and not earthly things. Life is temporary, Heaven is eternal, as someone who still grieves, as someone who faces challenges lies we all do I recognize that I need to focus on renewing my mind to transform my heart and soul towards using my pain and God’s gifts to serve others.
If you decide to choose a word, pray about it and find one that depicts where you want to be. Select one that will challenge you, keep you focused, and that will also encourage you each day.
Create a visual of your word (put it on a mirror, your refrigerator, in your wallet), find a place where you can see it each day and spend time each day working on that word. I find that when I wake up each day, I like to journal, and part of my plan for the new year is to write in my journal. First, I will reflect on my word, then pray the scripture I selected to help me with my word, then write what I want to do that day to help me achieve what I want to focus on towards renewing my mind. You may want to try something similar; the key is to find something that works for you.
This has been a year of growth for me, and as I reflect on 2019, I see how far I have come. Through many stressful situations, I learned that I am strong even when I felt weak. Through the pangs of grief that still hit me, I recognize how far I have grown in my grieving process, I am happy and can manage through the times of trouble. Through life challenges and struggles that made me feel insecure, I found my identity in God and not others. Through family health and job issues, I remembered that family is what is most important.
I made it through it all and will continue to make it through the challenges of 2020, knowing that I grow each day. No matter what life challenges face me in the future, as I look to the past, I see how each moment has made me who I am today. I look forward to the new year, I know that whatever I face will teach me, will help me grow and as I focus on my word “renewal,” I look forward to seeing how far I come in the year.
Give yourself a Gift
Do you want to find peace and move forward, recognize that you deserve it? This can be a year of new beginnings, a year to find your new normal, a year to renew your mind and find peace again.
Consider giving you or your loved one a gift of coaching services. It is not only for those who lost a loved one, but it is also for anyone who is suffering and is struggling. Perhaps you lost a lost one, or are facing a divorce, loss of a pet, financial or health issues I can help you.
Give yourself the gift of new beginnings.
If you would like to explore coaching services, you can go to my website joythroughjoy.com; as part of the New Year, my prices will be reduced (not yet reflected on the website) or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The initial consultation is free.