Love shouldn’t hurt-ever

What Should We Let Go of in the New Year?
by Teresia Smith

Every New Year many people make resolutions for changes. Flipping the calendar to a new year offers us the feel of a fresh start. Probably the number one resolution most make is to lose weight. There is often a surge in gym membership sales, but the problem is about 64% of those who make those resolutions and buy the gym membership actually abandon them with a month! Maybe carrying a few extra pounds isn’t the most important issue we are dealing with. Let’s rethink some of our unhealthy mental habits and work to lose those so we can thrive in a new year.

First, let’s lose the negative thoughts. Every day thousands of thoughts cross our minds. And even though we don’t seek them out, many are negative thoughts which are usually not even true. Anxiety can make us think about worse case scenarios that aren’t even happening. Research shows that negative thoughts can be so powerful that they can “rewire” your brain to think pessimistically about everything. Once you identify the negative thoughts, you can work to debunk them and replace them with positive ones. Ask yourself if the thought is true and can you absolutely know it’s true? Then ask yourself how it makes you feel and react and what you can do to change it.

Next, stop criticizing yourself and expecting to be perfect. We all make mistakes. We all have regrets. Avoid self-criticism by learning from those mistakes and moving forward. Not everything will work out according to our plans, but don’t diminish the positive success you do have. Adjust your expectations to a reasonable level so you can celebrate your achievements and give yourself some grace. Consider keeping a journal and log all the positive things you are grateful for as a reminder.

Thirdly, it may be time to let go of the grief, blame, and resentment you have been carrying around. For you to be able to move forward, you have to allow yourself to grieve the losses. Often those who escape intimate partner violence grieve the relationship they wanted or the one they had hoped for and not the actual one they had. Allow yourself time to grieve, cry and feel the feelings. It is okay to feel angry about a situation; however, it’s not okay to sit in anger over and over and allow it to poison your life. You can work to let go of the anger by practicing forgiveness. No, that is not saying what they did is okay but instead you are choosing not to allow the anger or bitterness to control you. Forgiveness is for you.

Finally, let go of people in your life who are not healthy for you. Stop chasing people and begging them to be a part of your life and thinking you can change them to be the person you hoped for them to be. Stop accepting abusive behaviors and remember you are worth so much more. People will show you who they really are if you will just look at their actions. You deserve happy, healthy relationships and I hope you don’t settle for less.

If you need help with moving forward in the new year, some ideas may be to talk to a trusted person, join a support group, surround yourself with loved ones, and make time for self-care. Working through your feelings will allow you to move forward. If you find yourself struggling with feelings of depression, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with your physician.
Crisis Services of North Alabama offers free and confidential services to survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. You can reach a trained crisis counselor at our HELPline 24/7 at 256.716.1000. We also have a local office for Jackson County residents that you can call for an appointment at 256.574.5826. You are not alone.

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