1. I will cultivate gratitude toward my body.
It took a long time to come to the understanding that my body deserves care beyond basic maintenance. Treating the vessel that carries me through life with kindness is one more way I can practice self-respect, though, and it’s helpful to think about how amazing my lungs are when I don’t like how I look.
2. I will stop associating my self-worth with the food I eat.
For me, it’s difficult not to conflate certain foods with success or failure. If I’m eating something “bad,” I will forgive myself, enjoy it and consider whether I need to address an underlying stressor or if I simply enjoyed a treat I like (which is great!).
3. I will listen to my body when it tells me to slow down, rest and recuperate.
Capitalism insinuates that my productivity determines my worth, but this is a lie. Calling a timeout is not a sign of weakness. I want to create more as a writer, but that won’t happen if I spend downtime shaming myself instead of letting go and reflecting. Let’s allow ourselves to breathe.
4. I will not shame myself for showing signs of aging.
My forehead shows more wrinkles than most other 26-year-olds I’ve met. I’ll remind myself that these lines are symbols of persistence and think about the ways ageism contributes to gendered beauty expectations. As for my perpetual under-eye dark circles? Purple is my favorite color, anyway.
5. I will avoid consuming media that triggers hateful thoughts about my body.
We live in the age of the airbrush, making this affirmation particularly difficult — I often choose self-checkout to avoid eye contact with women on the covers of glossy magazines. There are social media accounts I could unfollow, though, and I could be more intentional about divesting from companies that promote harmful messages about which bodies are good and which are bad.
6. I will contemplate my privileges as a young, white and able-bodied ciswoman.
2017 was a tough year for my relationship to my body, but I must remember that I benefit from my proximity to Eurocentric beauty standards and from living in an able body that matches my gender identity. I must speak up if I hear someone denigrate a marginalized person’s body and think about how I might contribute to body or food shaming myself. Because we all deserve to feel good and safe and joyful in our bodies.