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My New Year’s Offering to Anyone With a Mental Illness


Christmas is a beautiful time of year. For many it brings joy. For others it can be difficult. But nothing in life is flawless. Even grievances add to the pristine and raw splendor that Christmas brings.

For many of us, it’s a celebration of religion or collaboration with family and friends. While these are all the most important aspects of the holiday, one of my favorite parts is the giving of gifts. Now, before you stop reading because I sound materialistic, I want you to consider this: when you’re given a gift, you’re expected to accept it. Maybe it’s a silly white elephant gift. Maybe it’s homemade and packed deeply with nostalgia. Whether we cherish it or re-gift it, we have a chance to say thank you to someone for showing physically that they care.

Thanksgiving gives us a chance to say we’re grateful. Christmas gives us to chance to show we’re thankful. New Year’s Day can be equally beautiful because it brings hope. On Thanksgiving we muster up something that keeps life worth living. On Christmas we might not be able to give or receive a gift. But the New Year helps us remember to say maybe this new year will be better.

For the New Year, we don’t give gifts. But this coming year I would like you to consider taking an offer.

An offering doesn’t have to be accepted as a gift does. It gives you the chance to say no. Why? Because gifts are meant for your enjoyment. Offers, on the other hand, are given with a sense of duty.

For this new year, I want to make an offer of acceptance. Not to just accept the offer, but accept the offer of acceptance. I told you that holidays are beautiful because they aren’t flawless. People are the same way. As a sister to three siblings with disabilities, as an aunt to two nephews with autism and as a woman that struggles daily with bipolar disorder, I’m an advocate that “imperfection” is beautiful. More times than not, it’s easier to admit that with humility than with pride.

For some our differences are inevitable. For others they are controversial. But without enduring hardships, without conflict, we cannot find resolution.

For this New Year, my wish is that you will accept the offer to accept others. My resolution is to enable you to find freedom in this acceptance. This offer may not be easy to endure, but the hope that will be gained is the gift of a lifetime.