The courage it takes to share your story might be the very thing someone else needs to open their heart to hope
From a young age, I believed that the magical day of January 1 st was the day where I could remake myself. I remember staying up late on my computer, creating lists of what I hoped to accomplish the next year and planning how to do so. When I was little, I wanted to get my middle splits. When I was i n middle school, I wanted to become the fastest runner on my team. When I was in high school, I wanted to “get in shape”. Last year, my New Year’s resolution was to get my body healthy again after an eating disorder.
However, as this New Year approaches, I think back on my past resolutions, and I realize how not one of them has been fully realized. I never got my middle splits. I became faster, but I was never the fastest. In some people’s terms, I am in great physical shape, but if you ask others, I am still very weak, and my body has definitely not recovered from the tax of my eating disorder. After reflecting upon these past resolutions, I felt a sense of failure.
I could have wallowed in this sense of failure and then planned how to make next year better, but I decided to try something new this year. I decided to shift my perspective, instead focusing on my successes and small victories. When I was little, I worked hard to gain my left and right splits. I practiced hard at Cross Country and slashed my times. I realized my body is incredible; from running to studying to petting puppies, it allows me to do many of the things Ienjoy! Finally, in the past year, I have endeavored to reanalyze my relationship with food and my body to start the long journey of recovery. I really have achieved so much, even if my achievements have not been right in line with those January 1st promises I made to myself.
This year, I have decided not to make a New Year’s resolution. Instead, I am challenging myself to appreciate what I have accomplished without jumping to what could make me better. I want to love myself for where I am at right now, and here is the best part. There are NO rules or programs on how to achieve this, and no definitive markers of success. I do not necessarily have to get 8 hours of sleep every night, go to the gym every day, write self-love letters, or follow any other regimen. I only have to acknowledge that, while I still have goals and aspirations for myself, I can also be content with who I am and where I am right now.
It is refusing to allow my past “failures” to dictate how I will treat myself in the future. It means wanting good grades because I want good grades, not because I messed up last semester or have less worth without them. It means running because I love it and want to spend time moving outside with friends, not because without it am lazy. It means acknowledging my unimpeachable self-worth and not letting any outside object take that self-worth away.
This New Years, I challenge anyone, especially those of us who are always pushing to reach new goals, to take a step back and appreciate where they currently are in life. Thus, we can appreciate ourselves for who we are in this moment. In this mindset, our future achievements are just icing on top of an already super delicious cake!