As we begin this new year, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Yes, you may have made some mistakes in 2020, maybe even some massive mistakes. However, with its promise of a fresh start, the new year is as good a time as any to try to make a change. Instead of writing the same old list of resolutions that you’re not going to keep, focus on just keeping one: making your mental health a priority by going to counseling and being committed to working through your “stuff.” Make a promise to yourself that you’ll use this year to become committed to the work and time it takes to change for the better.
Two of the goals that I keep missing year after year are self-care and boundaries. I take care of everyone else, but it’s hard to take care of myself in those particular areas. As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to realize why that is the case. In my experience, there generally are two types of people: givers and receivers. I have recognized that I am generally a giver, and I have no problem with that identity because everyone should honor themself by acknowledging who they are. As a giver, I have to be in charge of giving my gifts, money, time, care, and love.
When we recognize that others are not as gifted in the giving area, we become disappointed and hurt because we expect them to do the same in return. Recognize that with every offer, you must deem the other individual worthy of your giving nature because some takers don’t have a problem “taking.” They will joyfully receive and say, “I didn’t ask you to do this for me but will gladly accept” – even when you make them aware of your needs or what you notice.
I say all of this to say that you have to start getting to know yourself. Going to therapy can be a fantastic additional gift that helps you create goals, set boundaries, and love yourself more. Identify your need to please others or identify your need to receive or take without noticing the need to give back to others.
Another way to prioritize your mental health is by learning how to create firm boundaries. Start your year off right by practicing a few examples:
If you can’t give it, you don’t lend it.
Instead of feeling obligated to pay a person’s entire bill, give that which you can afford.
Allow yourself to be comfortable receiving (this is a mindful gesture that needs to be practiced by the giver sometimes).
Remind others how you need them to help you and support you. They can’t read minds.
Allow yourself to give to others from time to time, even if you don’t feel like that’s natural for you (kind words, an act of service, quality time, and gift-giving).
Use your voice and set boundaries. Say, “No!” Say, “I can do this, but not that.” Say, “I can be available at this time” versus being so accommodating.
- Follow Danny on Instagram at DLRoss72