For many people, the past year was one of the most challenging times of their lives.
Among other things, Jewish people witnessed the re-emergence of Nazism; poor Filipinos died caught in the cross-fires of a drug war waged by their own president; refugees were used as a political tool by the powerful; and, perhaps, most worrisome of all – the digital world began to be plagued by fake news.
One could say that the last twelve months brought out the worst in all of us. But 2017 also spawned a number of triumphs.
There have been significant breakthroughs in mental health research. Women are finally feeling safe enough to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment. Marriage equality continues to spread globally. Thousands all over the world stood up to oppose different forms of oppression and in support of the marginalized.
And that’s just to name a few of the awesome things humans have recently accomplished! Plenty of which were swept under the rug, eclipsed by the dark periods we were preoccupied with handling.
Like most of you, I have experienced both sides of the coin.
Since moving to Denmark a year ago, I was constantly worried that I would never learn to speak Danish and integrate into society. I felt isolated, lonely, and aimless. My sense of self disappeared, and I frequently questioned my identity and capabilities.
Yet here I am – the same, but different.
Today, I am attending language school instead of sulking at home doing nothing. My depression and anxiety still exist, however I have found a renewed motivation to learn better ways to cope with them.
And here you are, too!
Such a development applies to all of us. Whether it was a heartbreak, tragedy, identity crisis, financial stress, or health issue – we’ve all had something that stood in our way which kept us from our goals. Perhaps you’re still even having a difficult time now as you read this. Nevertheless, please remember that we survived.
We survived it all, although most days it felt impossible.
Therefore, it is my wish that we take last year’s life lesson with us:“trust in yourself.”
I hope you have the courage to trust yourself and to trust your journey, wherever it takes you. Because there is always a solution, no matter how frequently you may think that everything is lost and hopeless. There is always a way out, even if it often seems like it’s out of your reach.
This new year, we shall love ourselves gentler than we’ve ever done. And while we’re at it, let’s continue to fight for our rights and that of our fellow human beings; for our right to exist and thrive and prosper.
May 2018 be kind to us, but if not, then let’s be kinder to ourselves.