Inviting All Our Mixed Emotions and Defining On Our Own Terms Expectations and Experiences

It is a New Year, and for many of us, it may not have started the way we have hoped, whether it is…

  • Being diagnosed with Covid.
  • Having fear and anxiety about you and your family members getting Covid as work and schools are now in session post Holiday.
  • Feeling frustrated that we are starting this year facing similar challenges as we have in the past two years. 

YES! all of the above can be extremely frustrating, upsetting, disappointing, aggravating, etc. What do we do when our reality is out of alignment with the socially constructed expectations of what New Years represents? This is true for New Years, Holidays in general, and Birthdays. I have had a few Birthdays where my reality was out of alignment with how we are “supposed” to be feeling on that day. Have you?

For me, one of those Birthdays was in 2012 when I was receiving chemotherapy to treat a transplant-related Lymphoma. I wanted to be feeling great and excited but that particular day, I was really feeling the effects of the chemo. I was experiencing extreme fatigue and bone-chilling nerve pain. There were many times that day that I thought about canceling the very small gathering we were planning. Each time that I thought about it- I reminded myself that seeing my adorable niece (who was two at the time) as well as my sister, and my brother-in-law, in addition to my then-boyfriend now-husband and my mom who were already with me could and probably would make me feel better.

When we do what makes us feel good- our mind, body, soul, and spirit all respond to that energy. I embraced my reality by not “pretending” that all was great but by showing up as I was and inviting in feeling good, letting others see and support me when I wasn’t at my best. I allowed my true feelings of pain, tiredness, some sadness, anger to be there in addition to inviting in connection, feeling good, and celebrating in a way that felt right and good for me on that Birthday. The picture above is of me in my hat wig with my now-husband, Mom, Sister, and Niece as we had a low-key celebration for my 31st Birthday.

What we may be experiencing can downright stink and we can feel sad, mad, anxious, frustrated, disappointed, physically and/or emotionally drained, etc. While we feel all of this- let’s also give ourselves the permission and opportunity to invite in hope, optimism, and act in a way that feels good to and for each of us. We can feel both angry and optimistic, despair and disappointment while simultaneously still feeling a sense of determination and fortitude. We can feel all of it ALL AT ONCE! As we define on our terms what special events and daily life looks like and feels like for each of us as individuals. We can embrace all of our juxtaposing emotions and not buy into the socially constructed ideas of what “should” be done and instead do what feels aligned and right for you as an individual. 

How can you invite in all of your various emotions and not allow socially constructed expectations to influence and/or dictate what this New Year means to/and for you?