I’ve never liked the phrase “New Year, New You”. A “new” you isn’t you at all. You have history. You have memories. You have friends and family and ambitions and dreams and loves and fears and more; why would you want to discard it all? It doesn’t make any sense. At the same time, the New Year is a time for renewal. It’s not time for a “new” you, but a better you; someone who’s learned from the lessons of the last year and grown into a better person because of it.
What is renewal, then? Rather than thinking of it as discarding the whole, think of it as letting go of what is no longer useful to you. Resolutions are often dedicated to the things we want to improve; we want to lose weight, or eat better, or exercise more, or be kinder. These are all incredibly useful and positive changes you can make, and they can certainly make you feel like new. That said, sometimes emotional barriers might make these goals hard to accomplish. When that’s the case, focus on letting go as part of your renewal, a reduction of emotional scarring.
You might feel sadness or guilt or hatred or fear from an event that happened in 2018; try to let it go. You might worry that you didn’t do enough in 2018, or that you didn’t fulfill a resolution; let it go. That year is past now; take from it the strength you earned from the lessons you learned, and let go of the weakness. Of course, letting it go doesn’t mean forgetting it; what happens to you will forever be a part of you. Rather, it means reconsidering it, re-contextualizing it, viewing the situation or the person with more empathy and kindness. That’s why it’s renewal; it’s about taking something that was old and worn and making it new, by the power of your perspective.
Of course, the year can affect you physically too, and physical changes can seem like barriers to emotional change. The mind and body are not as separate as society would once have had us believe. You might be dissatisfied with elements of your body because of emotional stress, and emotional stress might be caused by dissatisfaction with your body; it can be a bit tricky to figure out if the egg or the chicken came first. That’s why it’s always important to be mindful; consider why you feel the way you do, and whether or not how you feel is within your control. Can you change your perspective to it matches your reality, or change your reality so it matches your perspective? That’s how you deal with cognitive dissonance.
Like emotional scarring, physical scarring can’t be entirely removed, but it can be re-contextualized. Facial scar removal is better termed as restoration or reduction, because it significantly reduces the appearance of scarring by allowing the tissue to be renewed. The similarities between emotional and physical healing are astonishing, and one can often lead to the other. New Year, Renewed You.