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  • Writer's pictureHeather Cowie

January - a lesson in holding hope in dark times

I don't know about you but I'm not a fan of January. In fact I really dislike it. I have tried every year to embrace January but to no avail and I suppose I've found that hard, as I like to think of myself as a positive person. Why can't I like January? I'm a counsellor for goodness sake, why can't I get over this dislike? Practice gratitude, enjoy Wintering? What am I doing wrong?

However, this year instead of trying to force myself into positivity, I've decided to do something I'm always telling clients and accept my feelings and be curious.

So, a quick google tells me that January takes its name from Janus the Roman god of beginnings and endings. He's a protector of gates, doorways and transitions. And suddenly this all makes sense. I've never felt that January was a beginning, and it's not. Although it's the start of the calendar year, it's the middle month of Winter. It's a transition. And transitions can be tough. Things can feel neither one thing or another. It can feel like we are standing still. Stuck between the end and the beginning. The dark continues into January for example - you don't really notice the light days until February. But things are slowly moving forward. The light is returning.

So maybe January is a lesson in transitions and holding hope in dark times. We may not feel like we are making progress. We may feel stuck. We may think things will never get better. But we are slowly turning our heads to face forwards and moving on. January is the month that reminds us that changes can be small and unnoticeable but they do make a difference.

It's also a lesson in accepting your feelings and being curious about them. Sometimes our own judgements about our feelings can stop us exploring what they mean or even amplify them. So I'm allowing myself to dislike January but I will hold in mind that it won't last forever. And now I feel suddenly a bit lighter, as I don't have to fight this feeling or feel unworthy for having it.

Happy 2024 everyone!

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