by Rebecca HOlt
Letting go of who you are not
What if your New Year’s resolution was to be perfectly imperfect this year? Would that change the age old saying “new year, new you”? New beginnings feel like a way to start fresh and leave old habits behind, but often we forget to nurture the authentic self in the process. Resolutions can set us up for cognitive distortion patterns like “all or nothing thinking”. We go back to old patterns we were trying to change, and our brain tells us “all is lost”. I know in that moment my brain loses all self-compassion and I think “better luck next year”.
It may be a good time of year to assess the five core issues of codependency. When we find balance in the core issues, we are our most authentic self. So, let’s review!
The first being self-esteem. How do you plan to esteem yourself this year? A great way to start is using daily affirmations, I remind myself each morning I am a fallible human being who makes mistakes but that doesn’t make me less than. I love the book we use during our retreats “Affirmations for the Inner Child”. Each passage provides an affirmation and a way to connect with self.
Secondly, consider your boundaries. Are you setting boundaries in a way that honor yourself? Sometimes saying no is essential to self-care. Over the holidays, I found myself back in those old patterns of making sure everyone was happy and abandoning my need for self-care. I needed to set some boundaries to allow time for me. Remind yourself of the talking listening boundary. We don’t have to take on other’s emotions or offend them with our own.
Next, look at your cognitive distortions. Are there cognitive distortions impacting your reality, your relationships, your view of self? Identify one or maybe all of them you want to be mindful of this year. I often disqualify the positive. There will be ups and downs this year but that doesn’t mean you are worthless. You can own your truth.
The next core issue is dependency. Maybe you have a goal to be more interdependent this year, is there something you can accomplish on your own or possibly something you need help with? You have the right to ask for help! It may be a way to deepen some of those healthy relationships in your life.
Lastly, my personal favorite, how are you balancing moderation with joy and spontaneity? How are you going to let that inner child out this year? Find healthy ways to be playful. Examine what brings you joy. Is it a hobby, travelling, or maybe art? This might be the area to set goals for the year but balance that list of “to-dos” with a list of “to-dos that bring me joy”
One of my favorite quotes from Pia Mellody is, “Recovery isn’t about changing who you are, but letting go of who you are not.”
What is my resolution, you may ask? I choose to give myself grace in the face of my humanity. I will do this when I’m out in public and realize I’m covered in dog hair, I will do this when I judge myself for my performance at work, and I will do this when I eat way more sugar and carbs than needed. Instead of attacking self, I will be compassionate and check in with myself to understand the unhealthy action.
As we enter this new year, let’s examine ways we can embrace the authentic self and make a special place for that precious person.