Happy New Year, lets be kind in 2021

Happy New Year, lets be kind in 2021

By Sarah Clavin, Miller Swim School

Happy New Year! Can you hardly believe we are saying it? A. New. Year. We made it, we survived. I say that lightly because I recognize that many did not. Many lives were lost; a great toll was taken on emotional health, marriages, our children and their psyche. You and I, dear reader, we stand to live another day, and what a glorious day it is. 

Quite generally I enter a New Year feeling fresh and light, viewing the upcoming months with a clean slate. But this year we entered wounded. It came full of baggage that still feels heavy and unprocessed. Though our backs may still bend under the weight heaved up on us from 2020, we continue to press forward, each step lighter than the one before. 

And just so, we declare 2021 to be a year of restoration. Our goals are different, our perception aligned, and our focus on things more intimate. This past year taught us a great many lessons, none of which we will take for granted. Family matters most. Respect others. Support local. Be kind. 

Kind. 

I think that will be my word for this year. Like many others, each year I pick a word, a focus, an alignment if you will. One year it was mindful, another it was perseverance. This year I am choosing kindness. 

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Having experienced extreme kindness, and lack there of over the course of the past year, and having been on both the giving and receiving ends of it, I have formed an unprecedented value for the art of being kind to self and others. 

Most generally speaking, I am a bit more on the abrasive side of things; I value persistence, loyalty, grit, and integrity. I am not one to choose empathy or compassion as a skill I hope to improve, quite possibly because I view myself in them as a lost cause. But over the past 365 days I have found a new respect for kindness in my life and the lives of those around me. 

So this year, in 2021…

I vow to be kind to myself. I will apply critique when necessary, tough words when applicable, but I will crawl out from the depths of self-hatred and speak life-giving words to myself. I will work to view my faults and assets alike through a lens of grace and look on myself kindly. 

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I vow to be kind to others. Whether we agree or disagree, whether helpful or hurtful, whether gracious or not. I will choose to be kind. Kind in both my words and my actions. I will do my best to lend a helping hand or a word of encouragement when necessary, and in the interim I will simply be nice, caring and sympathetic. 

I vow to teach my children to be kind to both themselves and to others. I will work hard to teach my girls value and self-respect and how to look and speak to themselves in a kind, loving manner. I will teach my son how to be kind with his actions. And most importantly I will model what kindness looks like towards others in hopes that they will be the nicest kids at their schools. I will teach them that kindness trumps popularity any day, and that a servant is a true model of leadership, how to extend a helping hand with no expectation of anything in return. 

Mark Twain said it this way, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  Slowly I will trudge forward, a constant work in progress, not berating others or myself for our faults or differences but speaking in a language all can comprehend. And I will deliberately seek opportunities for kindness, graciousness, and compassion. 

What theme will you align yourself with this year?

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”                                                        Maya Angelou

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