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A new year usually holds much promise and hope for the future. After the year 2020, it seems even more important that we look for and find hope. I believe we need it collectively and also individually. Someone once said that "Hope is the air we breathe". So how do we cultivate hope for today and for tomorrow?

I am going to begin by intentionally practicing self-compassion in order to bring hope to me and those around me. It's not a new concept but it seems fitting as we enter 2021 to dust it off again. So much in our world right now is working against our ability to be kind to ourselves and others. Doubt in the goodness of others is reinforced almost daily. Self-compassion can be an antidote to all that seeks to discourage us.

Experts define self-compassion using three components: self kindness versus self-judgement, a sense of common humanity versus isolation and mindfulness versus over-identification when confronting painful thoughts and emotions. Given the events of recent days on top of an unrelenting pandemic, kindness, a common humanity and mindfulness seem like necessary tools for a respite from the negativity that threatens to become universal.

The past year has been difficult for all of us. The joys we were given seemed quickly overshadowed by the pain, unkindness and inhumanity. I have searched for hope in conversations and reflection. I know that hope is not gone; it is waiting to be given breath. The ancient words say 'hope does not disappoint us.' If I can be compassionate to myself and to those around me, then I think hope has a fighting chance.

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