2016 has been a rough year for many of us. There have been deaths, losses, grief, disappointments, heartbreak, and more. It is easy to dismiss 2016 as a horrible year that we would like to forget. However, when we don’t reflect on what we’ve been through, we miss the opportunity to learn from what we’ve experienced and move forward in healthy and constructive ways. It can be alluring to externalize all of the hard things we went through, feeling as though we had no role to play, no power or agency in difficult situations. While this is any easy stance to take, it puts us in a passive position and keeps us from learning from our experiences. Additionally, when we fail to take stock of what has happened we may overlook things that feel proud of or positively about.
Despite the challenges most of us have faced this year, the beauty, creativity and strength of Black women has shone through 2016. Black women have continued to lead as activists, in the arts and entertainment industries, in business, politics, sports, literature, and health care fields. We have continued to push the needle forward, speaking truth to power, advocating for our communities, and encouraging each other along the way. It has been a tough year and like a tea bag put into hot water our bold, sweet, strong flavors have been highlighted as we were immersed in 2016.
As this year comes to a close, let us spend some time reflecting on the ups and downs we experienced throughout the year, the mistakes we’ve made, the things we’re proud of, and the ways we’ve grown. Reflecting on difficult experiences can be painful because it may bring up feelings of guilt, sadness, and regret. Acknowledging and accepting these emotions is an important step in healing. While many of the difficult things we experience in life are circumstantial, the way that we respond to these difficult circumstances can make a difference. It can be empowering to focus on what we can do instead of feeling stuck in focusing on the things we can’t control.
This reflection will allow us to consider what we would like to do similarly or differently moving forward and can lead us to develop constructive new years resolutions. You can answer the following questions in relation to your family, friendships, romantic relationships, work, health/fitness, and/or volunteer activities; consider all aspects of your life that are important to you.
I encourage you to reflect these questions in whatever way feels right for you. Some people may prefer to write their answers, others may want to spend time quietly reflecting and meditating on them, others may want to talk through the answers with a trusted friend.
What have been the highlights of 2016 for you?
What have been the hardest parts of 2016 for you?
What have you done that you feel proud of over the last year?
What mistakes have you made over the last year? What do you wish you had done differently?
What would you like to continue to do in 2017?
What would you like to do differently in 2017?
What lessons from 2016 will you carry with you into 2017?