Mental Health

No More Self-Hate Resolutions

No More Self-Hate Resolutions | Libero Magazine

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The last week of December often prompts a lot of self-reflection in people. We use New Year’s Day as our checkpoint for how much self-improvement we’ve done in the past year. Are we better off than we were on December 31st last year? Did we follow through with our resolutions or did we drop them 3 weeks into the new year?

For some, it’s an incredible time to look back on how many amazing things have happened–vacations, promotions, new relationships, big steps in recovery. For others, it’s a self-inflicted guilt trip. I know for me, I always cringe a little bit when I think about all the things I haven’t done that I promised I’d do before year’s end.

I always get a little down on what I haven’t changed.

As someone who struggled with an eating disorder for many years and now lives in recovery, I can certainly see the huge progress I’ve made since I was 15. However, if I’m being completely honest, sometimes those negative body image thoughts creep back in. My New Year’s Eve celebrations typically involve a ton of picture taking with my friends, and unfortunately that gives me the perfect opportunity to body bash myself and compare my body shape with what it was last year via Facebook albums.

When I clicked through the pictures from my last two NYE’s on Facebook, all I looked at was how my body looked in them.

Forget noticing how much fun I was having or the hilarious expressions on my best friends’ faces–my thoughts instead revolved around: “Are my thighs bigger this year than they were last year? Ugh, why is my face so puffy? Oh my god, my thighs look unacceptably huge in those tights.”

Unfortunately, after the photos were posted last January, I made a silent resolution to myself that I wanted to slim down–just a little!–before next New Years. There were no healthy intentions attached; it was purely because of my insecurity and disgust that my body as a 23-year-old woman didn’t look the same as it did a few years ago (or when I was in high school, for that matter).

It was a year of struggling with my self-image. And a recent trip to the doctor’s office revealed that my weight didn’t change at all from last year.

But you know what? I am through with resolutions that are rooted in self-hate.

I am done quantifying events in my life by how good I looked during them. I am tired of not being present in the moment because I’m too busy thinking about my body.

I no longer want to make resolutions that just fuel my insecurities.

Instead, I want to make a goal that I can apply to different areas of my life.

Henry David Thoreau said,  “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

When I looked at the photos of me from this New Years, I decided to change what I saw. Instead of searching for imperfections in my thighs or the hint of a belly under a skirt, I decided to see a healthy woman who was having the time of her life with her friends.

I saw the fun outfit I decided to rock even though it would showcase the body parts I was insecure about. I saw the hysterical stories that surrounded the pictures I took. I saw a LIFE, not a body.

Instead of seeing all the arbitrary ways I had come up short in the past year, I decided to see the real progress I’d made in other areas of my life.

My anxiety was worlds better than it was last year, I’d learned how to process difficult emotions in therapy, and I’d maintained a relationship with an amazing guy.

I don’t want to resolve to change something superficial about myself, but I want to make a goal to change the way I see my life.

When I catch myself looking at something negatively, I want to challenge that perspective and see something good.

This might be difficult, but what matters is that I’m trying. The way I see it, I can either spend another year preoccupied with fighting my body, or I can channel that energy into loving it and truly start living.

Melanie is a twenty-something living in Chicago. She has an undergraduate degree in communication & media from DePaul University, where she also minored in sociology and gender studies. When she's not working, she enjoys photography, collecting recipes, finding new music, and writing. After struggling with an eating disorder for several years, she decided to get help and is now living in recovery. It's the best choice she's ever made.


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