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I have been noticing the significance of the holidays this year more than ever- not just with myself but also with my clients. We are now approaching the New Year and for many it is hard to believe 2016 is around the corner. I have had the most often played New Year’s Eve song, Auld Lang Syne, stuck in my head for the last couple of days and I finally looked into the lyrics and significance of it. After all of these years hearing the song, I have never slowed down enough to really consider the meaning behind it. After a quick search on the internet it was easy to find the basic interpretation of the song, which I translate into life and relationships.
My sophisticated google skills offered me the following explanation of this song in that it is considered to be, “…one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbors’ hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future.* Many can experience a great deal of stress with the year ending and a new year beginning, and this song can offer a sense of inspiration in these moments. My friend and I were laughing last night because the only words to this song we know are the first verse and the chorus. As I read the lyrics, maybe the first verse and the chorus are all we need to guide us into the new year:
It can be easy to look upon the past year with criticism and pick out all the things you wish could have been different- in your life and/or in your relationship. Many people experience a great deal of stress and anxiety with this critical view of the past year. “Auld lang syne” directly translates to old long since, which I interpret as all that has passed. To “take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne” is to look back on the past year of life and relationships with compassion versus criticism.
One way to catch yourself in moments of criticism is to recognize when you think/say things like:
- I should have…
- We should have…
Anytime I hear, or catch myself saying, “should have” or “should” in general, I immediately think about how to embrace what is versus what should be or what should have been. We are all human, and we are doing the best we can. If you feel like yourself or your relationship has fallen short this year, then it is an opportunity to look back with kindness and move forward with hope and optimism.
Setting goals for yourself and your relationship can be one helpful way of creating optimism for the next year.
Goals, big or small, can help guide you ahead with a sense of purpose. Also, challenging yourself to look back on the last year and find the things you are proud of can also be a good way to start the new year- build on past accomplishments whether they feel big or small. Looking to the new year with kindness will likely start you off on the right path with less room for stress. And, making an effort to find ways to be compassionate to yourself and your relationship can greatly impact confidence in meeting any new goals or resolutions for the new year ahead. So as 2015 transitions into 2016 tonight, I will be there with you all with a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
*Scotland (April,28 2015). The History and Words of Auld Lang Syne. Retrieved from http://www.scotland.org/features/the-history-and-words-of-auld-lang-syne/