What If The Only Resolution We Made This Year Was To Love Ourselves More?” (By: Ashton Maguire)

The new year frequently introduces pressure to create goals that oftentimes are unattainable. Frequently the resolutions that are made upon the New Year involve an expectation of change, of improving ourselves, but ultimately, changing ourselves. In a world that constantly expects change and improvement, how can we focus on self-compassion rather than change? How can we focus on acceptance and love rather than pressured improvement?

In terms of eating disorders and disordered eating, the expectation of change during the New Year presents the expectation of perfection. This perfectionism, as we know, furthers the tendencies of those struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating. Let’s say someone decides that their New Year resolution is to go “all in” into recovery from their eating disorder. This may work for a week, a month, 6 months, a year, two years. But at some point, a slip-up may occur. At that point, the perfectionism is lost and there is a decision to give up or get back on the wagon. Instead of making resolutions to be perfect and to live up to a standard, how can we engage in a resolution that promotes self-love, self-compassion, and grace?

The beauty in making a resolution to love ourselves more is the expectation of grace, rather than the expectation of perfection. There can be a desire to change, a desire to improve, a desire to engage in recovery from an eating disorder or disordered eating, but there is the underlying requirement of grace and self-compassion for mistakes and slip-ups. Thus, when a slip occurs, the pressure is not there to give up or jump back in. Instead, there is an expectation of grace to acknowledge the slip and move forward with that same self-love that underlies the resolution.

In a world that expects perfection and change, how can we engage in recovery and in life with a resolution of self-love? It takes practice, but it is definitely worth it.

About the Author

Ashton is Renewed’s Outreach Coordinator. She is an alumna of Furman University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Her passion for the study of eating disorders began in her undergraduate education where she researched eating disorders and witnessed disordered eating habits in the college environment. She currently attends graduate school at Vanderbilt University where she will earn her Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling in May 2024. Ashton plans to pursue licensure as a professional counselor working with those recovering from eating disorders as well as co-occurring disorders.