Reflecting on this year…
The word reflection brings to mind such interesting associations. My first instinct is to think of scenes that are pretty as a picture, like nature reflecting off a placid lake or thinking about a positive relationship or learning experience. On second glance, perspective comes into play. For instance, when you look at your reflection in the mirror. Do you see beauty or are your eyes drawn to the imperfections and your thoughts searching for things to correct?
From that perspective, reflection serves a dual purpose to help us appreciate and experience the positive while also noting and understanding the negative.
The hardest part about considering this is being able to see the duality in each reflected piece. Often as therapists we ask our clients to sit in painful emotions and listen to what those emotions have to say.
As we review this past year, we can listen to our reflections in the same way. What do the struggles need us to know and understand? How do we effectively grieve what was lost in this past year: a job, a loved one, our sense of freedom/safety, while also appreciating what we still have aside from loss? Perhaps grieving a job loss provided an opportunity to evaluate a career path or unveil a desire to spend more quality time with family. Perhaps this year allowed you to discover your support system during moments of challenge. Maybe you learned how to lean on others or be that person ready to lend a hand when someone else was having a difficult time.
Even the counseling center faced unexpected challenges this year. We spent our last staff meeting of the year reflecting on all that we accomplished this year and celebrated how overcoming these challenges brought our team closer together. As 2020 tested our systems in many ways, the result was creating new ways of doing things. Our counselors mastered a therapy format that we were unsure about at first (telehealth) and our administrative staff was brought closer through troubleshooting a plethora of issues, while working at a distance.
As we enter a new year that is sure to be filled with more changes and adjustments, we do so with the knowledge that we exist in a community of support and collaboration and confidence that we can come together to face every challenge.
So let me ask: as you reflect on this past year, what duality can you find? What strength was discovered through your own grief and missteps? How can you lean into the reflection of your hardships and find the lesson or opportunity? And how can you take that knowledge into this next year and utilize it to rise up and meet whatever is asked of you?
NFCC will continue to be here with you on this journey in 2021.
With hope and love,
Tracy Lehman, LMFT