Every new year welcomes the opportunity to shed your past and start anew. Although it’s just a technicality, it’s easier for some to conceptualize change with the marking of a new year. Our minds pair the start of a new year with a longstanding crowd favorite tagline: a fresh start.
With all of the loss, disappointment, and isolation normalized throughout 2020, the craving to transform in 2021 grew exponentially for human beings. And for some, a certain amount of pressure can be motivational. If that works for you, this is a great mentality to bring into the new year. It’s great if that’s what pushes you towards accomplishing your goals, but that doesn’t work for everyone.
New year celebrations invoke a standardized pressure to start anew and set forth on a bright new path the exact moment the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. On January 1, the ball drops, and the pressure rises to perfect that fresh start and leave everything that no longer serves you behind.
But moving on can’t always be packaged that nicely; in fact, it hardly ever is.
Whether you’re trying to move on from heartbreak, the loss of someone, adjusting to a new environment or traumatic experience, or accepting deceit from someone close to you, there is no perfect timeline for acceptance and getting on the other side of it.
Even when a person does all of the work to move forward from any sort of hurtful situation, that pain can resurface when you least expect it. Something someone says or does can trigger our subconscious and remind us of past pain, revealing that you may not have moved on the way you thought.
Our environment also impacts how we handle change and move forward. But our environment is always changing, and it can support or prolong getting over something or someone. For example, choosing to be around people connected to someone you’re trying to forget is one environment that will hold you back. On the flip side, taking some space from anyone or anything that reminds you of someone you lost is only going to push you ahead.
In all scenarios, you don’t get to choose how fast you move forward. Time truly does heal, but the amount of time is always different for every situation. There are too many factors to estimate your travel time to get over it—whatever it may be. You can do everything right on your end, but moving on from loss or heartbreak takes different periods with various routes.
So what does this mean for anyone that’s feeling a little discouraged a few days into 2021? I want you to remember that the best day for a fresh start is the day you’re ready.
You can’t rush feeling your way through the pain. You can’t go around it, over it, or under it. You can only go through it with no ETA of reaching the other side.
So, if you’re still reeling from heartbreak, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ll get over that person or that incident at your own pace.
Don’t feel like a failure for not starting this year with a spotless slate; a messy slate will do you just fine.
That slate will clear up as soon as it’s ready—as soon as you’re ready.