As many of my readers know, I abandoned New Year’s resolutions years ago, and began to take up themes for each year instead. But as this year’s end crept closer I began to worry that 2017 would be themeless. Was I too content? Not introspective enough? Have I become too busy or hard-hearted? Why couldn’t I think of something I wanted to work on, some way to improve?
Then I discussed it with my closest friend. Aren’t good friends amazing? They know all about the icky parts of our personalities, and they love us anyway. Mine reminded me that I’ve expressed frustration with my own tumultuous emotions (yes, I did just say that I have emotions about having emotions) and how to deal with them.
Now, I’ve been annoyed (another emotion…there are so many of them) with our societal expectation that we should all be hard and tough. I don’t think being sensitive is a bad thing. You’ve probably seen the meme going around about kids being called cabbages instead of sissies if they cry? “Don’t be such a cabbage!” it says, trying to be a positive force for gender equality. This meme bugs me (is that an emotion?). How about we let kids cry when they’re hurt or upset, and stop scolding them for how they feel? How about we teach them to cope with and work with emotions rather than suppress them? I often wonder if society could be greatly improved in this way.
And perhaps the problem with my own emotions is that I was never taught how to cope with them, or use them for some kind of good; rather I was taught to “be a brick wall” when people are hurtful, hide my feelings, positive and negative, and that’s not something I’ve ever excelled at. I can try the holding-in thing, but oh brother, that never ends well! There’s got to be another way.
So that brings us to the coming year’s theme: Practicing Peace.
I’m not sure how this will work out. I’m not sure how I’ll learn or what I’ll learn. I’m not sure how much of it I’ll be comfortable sharing here. I have no idea if I’ll succeed or fail.
But that’s why it’s a practice, right?