Guest column: Make liking yourself a priority in the New Year
Licensed Professional Counselor
It’s a new year and with it comes an avalanche of resolutions and good intentions. Making plans to improve your health, lose weight, or quit doing whatever is a great idea. However, if you’ve tried this before, you might notice that in time we almost always go back to the same old habits and resume or increase the problematic outcomes. This ultimately creates an enormous amount of self-loathing and shame.
So, what’s the answer? We all have something to improve. Why not try some self-compassion first? It’s hard to do something nice for someone you don’t like, even if that person is you. First try finding the things you like about yourself. I promise there are plenty of likeable qualities in you.
Once you discover, or rediscover that you really like yourself it’s much easier to take good care of yourself. Anne Lamott, the incredible author, talks about feeding ourselves as we would a beloved friend. Something as simple as sitting down to eat nutritious and delicious food that will nourish our bodies on an actual plate is taking care of ourselves. Going on a fad diet or starving yourself or starting an impossible exercise regimen that could be designed for Michael Phelps is punishment. It’s not sustainable and you will retaliate.
This year, how about making it a year of self-compassion? Treat yourself as you would someone you truly love. Take yourself out to go skiing or for a walk. Learn a new skill or delve into something you’ve always been curious about. Help someone else. It is always so rewarding to reach out and help another person. There are countless non-profits in our community. Find one that you feel passionate about. It will make you feel great about yourself.
Most importantly of all, get help if you need it. There are many skilled therapists in our community. If you are looking for a support group, AA, Alanon, and many other groups that provide help in many different are available to you. I promise you, you are not alone.
Make this the year you fall in love with yourself. You’d be surprised what a little self-love can do.
Ericka Anderson, MA, LP, is a licensed professional counselor specializing in the treatment of trauma. She has been in practice for 16 years. She has an office in Basalt.
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