“What the new year brings you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” – Vern McLellan
This is the time of year where many people make vows to themselves to do something different. Often times folks lend themselves to catchy phrases in furtherance of leaving behind the last year or last decade of memories, behaviors, pandemics, etc. Some of googles top ranked saying are things like, new year, new you; out with the old, in with the new year; it’s my year; this is a new chapter, make it a good one; etc. And while these sorts of mantras can be appealing and lend credence to change, others may find themselves in a spiral of shame if for some reason the self-proclaimed vows go unmet. There are inherent issues with each of the mantras mentioned. Some deny and debase the past rather than embrace, others create overwhelming pressure, and almost all deny ourselves the opportunity to love who we are in any moment whether it be a new year, new decade, or new moment. Thus, no matter what is happening in our life, what the year is, or how we feel in any given moment, we must show up with self-love.
Self-love can be described in many ways, but perhaps the most important sentiment from any definition is the message of compassion for oneself. Here are some helpful ways to practice self-love with yourself starting today.
Revise Your Self-Talk
Allow a mistake to be a mistake, not a failure or catastrophe. Remember that mistakes are opportunities to grow and learn. Be kind with the language you use and speak to yourself as you would speak to a loved one.
Begin to celebrate the positive things even when they may feel small. You have the opportunity to treat yourself the way you want to be treated, and not the way you have been treated. Regardless of what others have done in the past, you have the power to change how you treat yourself and how to show others how you ought to be treated. People often learn to treat us the way we treat ourselves. Allow yourself to be kind, loving, and respectful of yourself.
Surround Yourself with Supportive People
Evaluate your relationships and make clear to those who you value that self-love and love for one another is a priority in your life. If neither are being honored give yourself permission to love from a distance. Surround yourself with those who believe in you and are willing to support your journey.
By Cole Timonere, JD, MA, PhD Student