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2021 - Healing: Empathy over Shame

island, volcano, healing




  1. the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again. "the gift of healing"


  1. tending to heal; therapeutic. "a healing experience"

While 2020's word/phrase didn't come until the very end of the year, 2021's was clear from day 1. Healing. I imagine that will be the word for many people or something along those lines. Especially those of us in healthcare or other essential work. I've included two of healing's definitions above, however, healing has a vast array of definitions and meanings.

What does healing mean for you in your current season?

Healing can pertain to your physical health, your mental health, financial health, relationships, spiritually, emotionally, and so much more. Healing takes time, patience, and quite a lot of work. Healing isn't a straight line, but rather a squiggly one with a lot of bumps and bruises along the way.

But healing, healing is what helps us to overcome.

Healing makes us stronger and braver.

Healing is an experience like no other.

Healing is a gift with unmatched value.


Chaos is a word that has described so much of the last year. Chaos is what describes what happened in our nation today. I was busy at work and hadn't checked my phone for quite a while. I went to check on one of my staff who then informed me - The Capitol Building Had Been Breached. I think I sat there for a moment digesting what she had just said.

2021 - you're supposed to be better than this.

My husband and I have recently started watching "Designated Survivor". Today it felt like things we've been watching in a dramatized TV show became a reality.

But isn't that true for the last year? We watched Grey's Anatomy and other drama TV series come up with these crazy situations. Watching them is fun, but we thought they would stay on the TV. Now, these are crazy situations we've been living in more than ever in this last year.

Chaos is everywhere.

But I also feel chaos may be helping to drive the healing. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but hear me out.

While there are so many rough things that came out of 2020 -- I feel like for the first time I'm seeing this raw and realness on social media. With the lockdowns, suddenly people were forced to stay home. The fancy events and adventures aren't currently happening (at least mostly). Suddenly the work out clothes, no make-up, everyone's trying to juggle everything, raw realness is there.

Has anyone else noticed this? Or is it just me?

We're naming things and calling out things as a culture we never have or maybe it's that the majority of us weren't listening.

We're not hiding behind the masks of perfectionism like we were.

We're being more honest, real, and open than I've ever witnessed in my 34 years.

And I love it.


My first goal for healing personally in 2021 is developing shame resilience and learning more about how I inadvertently cause others shame. I would like to think I would never purposely do it, but in reading Brene Brown's "I Thought It Was Just Me But It Wasn't" book, I'm learning that I do it without thinking. So I want to learn how to identify it when I start to trend in that direction.

I'm learning shame resilience is going to help me to be a better wife, daughter, leader, friend, sister, and all the other roles I play. Shame resilience will help me from shutting down, when I need to speak up. Will help me from identifying when I'm snapping at someone I care about - not because of what they've done, but because of how I'm feeling.

Shame is helpful for no one.

Facing what causes me shame is hard. Like really hard. It makes me look into the deep dark crevices that I've avoided for so long because they are so painful. It makes me identify the things that truly shut me down. It makes me recall really really painful memories. It makes me take a hard look at who I am and where I am at.

But I can tell you - it also brings me healing.

For the first time in my life I can look back and see beauty where I only ever saw pain before.

I am setting boundaries and standing up for myself where I used to just get quiet and back down.


My healing journey for 2021 is only just beginning. All of ours are. There is something so powerful about a New Year. I know for me - this is my first step of healing. I'm wondering what yours looks like? Does it resemble where I am headed or look completely different?

Wherever you are, and wherever you need to head in your healing journey is ok. I hope you know that.

I hope you know that it's ok to struggle.

I hope you know that you aren't alone.

And I hope you know that you are loved - for who you at this exact moment.

I think the best thing we can do for each other in 2021 is practice empathy. Per Brene and her extensive research, empathy is the antidote shame.

Will you join me on the empathy train for 2021?

“shame resilience. I mean the ability to practice authenticity when we experience shame, to move through the experience without sacrificing our values, and to come out on the other side of the shame experience with more courage, compassion, and connection than we had going into it. Shame resilience is about moving from shame to empathy—the real antidote to shame.” - Brene Brown

peace, empathy

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