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Battling the Disappointment of 2020

Everyone’s talking about it. 2020 has been one heck of a year, with still another month to go. This year really threw our expectations off the rails, and hurt us in different ways. It caused extra emotional challenges, hurdles at work, and social boundaries.

So first, let’s allow ourselves to feel it. We had to visit our loved ones without being able to hug them, and even cancelled our plans to visit friends out of concern for their health.

That hurt.

Difficult decisions were made to postpone weddings.


Work asked us to be productive from home and limited our interactions with coworkers to Zoom calls.

That was difficult to miss seeing work friends on a daily basis.

Through it all, we feel we’ve lost some of our identity, authority, purpose, sense of community, routines, creativity, and ability to love others how we’ve always been able to love on others.

2020 has been hurtful, and it’s okay to feel it. Mourn what we feel we’ve lost.

Now at the end of the year, many people are choosing to highlight the good on the front of their social media news feeds and conversations. It seems gratitude is the only way we can combat the feelings of disappointment or defeat this year has brought on everyone at different potencies.

Gratitude for more quality time with family, good health for our loved ones, and seeing how friends have still showed up for us in creative ways in the lows this year brought.

Personally, I love seeing the gratitude and extra love that the holidays bring. Some can hate on the fact that we need events on the calendar to help us slow down and count our blessings (queue the “we should be thankful all year long” comments), but there is a gift in scheduled holidays and events created to celebrate special events and people.

As we work through the hard feelings of the year, let’s embrace and encourage the gratitude. Sarcastic videos and memes about the weird, tragic, and disappointing things that happened to us this year make us laugh, but can still leave us focused on the weird, tragic, and disappointing things. Even in the worst of times, goodness can shine through, and I think we need the reminder of good especially now.

Persevere through the hurt and confusing feelings about this year to realize your own good and growth that’s risen out of 2020. Whether it’s just taking a few minutes of silence for yourself to think about what you’re thankful for or if you write them down on a list, do it. Find your good.

Now rounding out the final five weeks of this crazy year, how will we approach 2021 differently and better? How will we combat the lingering hurt and disappointment of 2020 when the new year hits?

I say let’s start 2021 where 2020 ends: with gratitude.

Starting our new year ahead with thankful hearts and mindsets instead of expectations of greatness can make all the difference.

When our thankfulness is dependent upon good things happening to us, that’s an expectation, not thanks. You’ll know the difference between thanks and expectation when something or someone fails you; there are no good feelings of thanks in those moments. However, when our gratitude is ever present and a perspective we choose to carry with us despite our circumstances, there is a joy and energy that even fulfilled expectations cannot bring.

Of course I want to see my family, friends and communities set goals and run after them. Love others. Ask for help. Offer help. Be sad together and rise together. But at the forefront of everything, I hope we choose gratitude first.

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