Damn straight I am.
This year my only resolution is to be kind to myself. Starting a new year comes with a lot of pressure to start over. It means starting a diet or workout regimen. It means quitting bad habits. It means reflecting on the shitty parts of yourself and forcing yourself to change them. I’m realizing my worst habit is being unkind to myself.
All of my bad habits—all of my coping mechanisms—are what have gotten me through my worst moments. That doesn’t mean I want to keep them forever, but it does mean I want to accept what they’ve been worth. I needed them once and they worked for me. I may not need them anymore but I’m grateful for what they allowed me to do. My coping mechanisms weren’t always ideal, but they allowed me to survive.
This year I’m taking the time to reflect on all of my coping mechanisms. Some will go, some will stay, but all will be seen with gratitude for once. Thank you for what you’ve provided me: safety, survival, comfort. Thank you for being there when I didn’t have the necessary resources to cope in healthy ways. Thank you, but your job is done.
I don’t expect this to be an easy process. Today I don’t need to rely on disengaging through sleep, TV, or food. But tomorrow I might need those things. This year, I’ll work on accepting myself and allowing myself to survive in the best way I can in that specific moment. That may mean working to replace unhealthy coping skills with healthy ones. It is not an easy process, and I accept that. I accept the challenge and will forgive myself for momentarily reverting to what is familiar.
This year I’ll reflect by asking myself these questions and giving myself these words of encouragement:
How am I feeling? It’s okay to feel what you are feeling.
What do I need right now? It’s okay to feel like you need that.
Is there a healthier option? It’s okay to be unsure.
My only goal this year is to learn to treat myself how I treat those who are most important to me. I want what’s best for them. And I’m learning to recognize what’s best for me.
Janie Contreras Johnson, The Strange is Beautiful’s Staff Community Outreach, is a Mexican-American feminist working constantly to overcome sexual and childhood trauma.
Read her posts here.