How to Make Peace with 2016

“True forgiveness is when you can say, "Thank you for that experience.”― Oprah WinfreyBig dreams blossom up in all sorts of strange places. At Workit, many of us have stumbled through the haze of addictive behaviors and made it to the other side, to something bright and sparkling. Through this process of addiction recovery, we’ve rolled through the mud, and come out cleaner for it.

As messy as our pasts may be, here at Workit, we turn to those ragged histories constantly. They inform us, drive us, and inspire us. So how do you make a sweet mocktail out of the tart lemons life hands you? How do you wrap up a year that wasn’t your best, make peace with the ugliest bits, celebrate the highlights, and move forward into that big and bold future? Before we talk about making plans for 2017, here are some attitudes to own that will help you make peace with your year, whether it was one for the record books or one to forget.

Grow, baby, grow

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If life was a video game, your character would only level up after overcoming adversity. All those painful, unexpected, or embarrassing moments from 2016 that you are trying to forget? They’ve made you a stronger and more resilient person. In this way, each of our errors and trials in life are little gifts. Imagine this year’s hiccups as stepping stones of learning and experience leading you towards your best self.

Own your own stuff

People make mistakes, we live and breath through them, sometimes maliciously, and sometimes unconsciously. Being imperfect is a fact of life for us humans, just like immediately salivating at a photo of In-N-Out. Owning your mistakes is counterintuitive, as it sounds uncomfortable, but will help you make peace with your past and move on from your misdeeds. It can be difficult to move on from something you are denying, but quick and clear acknowledgement helps clear not only the air, but also your mind and your conscience.

Say sorry

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The end of the year is a perfect time for housecleaning, and once you’ve owned all that wreckage, you might as well make some amends for it. If you need to say sorry for some of the less-than-honorable stuff you’ve done this year, December is a great time to do it. Start 2017 with a clean slate, an open heart, and the intent to avoid repeating 2016’s past wrongs. If you can’t apologize to someone directly, make a living amends by not repeating the same harm again.

Say sorry to yourself

If you’ve apologized to others, why not turn some of that intention inward as well? Realize you are human, and apologize to yourself for the errors you’ve made. Be kind to yourself, and remember that mistakes lead to growth. Loving yourself, mistakes and all, makes the imperfect journey of life much easier.

Celebrate things great and small

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Wishing you could wash this year away? Find an attitude of gratitude about the year’s victories, gigantic and miniscule. Life is hard, if 2016 was a rough year for you, simply celebrate that you made it through. Luckily, we live in an age of miracles, and it isn’t hard to find quite a bit to feel good about—from clean water to instant communication, modern life is a marvel.

Don’t let the internet fool you

The tone of Facebook these days seems to be, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Although headlines are screaming out horrors worldwide, we aren’t living in end times. Steven Pinker, in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature (and a Slate article on the subject) argues that we’re living in the most peaceful age of mankind. If your social media feeds are all gloom and doom, consider seeking alternate sources of news, or just unplug for a few days.

Whether 2016 goes down in infamy for you or lives in your memory as your best year yet, making peace with the past will clear the way to a bright and beautiful 2017.