Last year, I wrote about New Year’s resolutions and the pressure to compete for prizes of self-care valor. I asked for a pause on the toxic pressure to be incredible — there’s no need to overcommit to a plan of self-improvement if that’s not your thing. But I do think it’s important to intentionally reflect on how you can improve your relationship to the world, and the first week of January can be a great time to do that.
I have many personal resolutions for myself this upcoming year, one of them being to say hello to people I know in person. I have a bad habit of ducking away when I see an acquaintance or old friend, mostly out of social anxiety (and sometimes out of laziness). Over time, this has resulted in the loss of those connections, and in turn made me feel more isolated. I resolve to change that habit. It turns out saying hello to people, even briefly, is one of the oldest ways of staying socially connected. It is a simple but impactful way of reaffirming your place in your community, and community is the most important thing we have..
Going into 2024, I hope we can all resolve to care more about each other, seriously. I mean going beyond saying hello to people and really involving ourselves in the world around us. Making community a habit is what will save us and make 2024 a better year. When so many of us, including LGBTQ+ young people, struggle with loneliness, depression, anxiety, connection will be the antidote. The 2023 Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People revealed that anti-LGBTQ victimization and social ostracization directly contributes to the high rates of suicide risk, mental health issues, and other forms of marginalization. LGBTQ+ young people have been getting the message that they are not worthy, that they don’t deserve community or joy. The world has become increasingly hostile and tensions are at a peak. The need for care is incredibly great.
If you consider yourself as an ally to LGBTQ+ young people, consider making a resolution to be in community with them. Really be there for them — advocate for their rights, listen to their stories, ask for what they need, say hello to them. This is especially true if you are a teacher, a community leader, a parent, a family member, or anyone who has LGBTQ+ young people in their life. And even if 2024 is likely to be a tough year, this can still be the year we all make a difference in the real conditions of people’s lives. Nothing happens in isolation. We are all intricately connected to each other, and the more we strengthen those connections, the more we strengthen our ability to weather tough times. In 2024, let’s resolve to strengthen our bonds to each other. Make a resolution not only to yourself, but everyone around you.