At the end of every year, we all tend to feel an urge to reflect upon the year and set goals for the upcoming one. We see this manifest on social media as people share both their highs and lows of the year, but as we all know, more often than not, it tends to be a highlight reel of people’s lives. This year has been a rough year in particular for lots of people, as normality as we once knew has been upended due to the pandemic. As people begin to share their accomplishments of the year despite the turmoil of the world, we should not fall into comparison game nor pit our successes and failures up against what others choose to share about what happened to them or what they may have accomplished this year. As the classic saying goes, comparison is the thief of joy and we should strive to feel grateful for all that we have, all that we have lived through, all the people who we love who share their time and energy with us, and all that we have accomplished no matter how insignificant it may seem. Most of all, we should be grateful that we are still here to see another day and we should carry on never losing hope that better days are yet to come.
As we approach the new year, we must choose optimism. An optimistic outlook is always a choice because as we all well know, the world will always give us a million reasons to be pessimistic or skeptical. Optimism, like joy, happiness, and peace, depend more on our state of mind and our own will more than any external factors. There is so much freedom and power in this choice. The world will always throw obstacles at us but this should not ever lead us to feel powerless. Life is an ebb and flow which leads us to both great heights and terrible lows and our joy cannot depend on neither our perceived successes nor much less our perceived failures. Worldly accomplishments are faulty, unstable objects on which to fixate our inner joy and happiness. The power in choosing optimism exists in so far as we are not choosing it naively and blindly, but that we use it to carry on and fight for the brighter future we believe in for ourselves, our loved ones, and our community at large. We cannot let our definition of ourselves or our self-worth depend on what cards the world has dealt us. Our worth is stable and constant no matter what we are going through or what the world is going through, and we must learn to recognize it and believe it in the depths of our hearts as well.
The new year will not solve all the problems we may have, but there is something to be said about how the mere idea of a new year and a fresh start can provide us with the opportunity to reset our mindset and reorient our thoughts and goals. We should look at the new year as an opportunity to stabilize within to be able to continue to work to stabilize to the best of our ability that which is outside without letting the outcome determine our worth or deter us from our commitment to optimism. A positive way of thinking will prevent the world from stealing our joy and will prevent anyone from stealing our commitment to hope and work for a better tomorrow.