Give Thanks for Yourself (For a Change)
Around this time of year, there’s much talk about gratitude—for family, friends, health, etc. Some of you may even have a gratitude journal that you dutifully write in daily. But, since many dysregulated eaters don’t have great self-esteem, I’d love to see you scribbling away in your journal about why you’re absolutely tickled pink to be you.
The way I see it, being grateful for being more fortunate than others can only take you so far in valuing and loving yourself. Even by saying you have wonderful kids or parents, neighbors or co-workers, a lovely house or a loving community says very little about your worth. It’s all about what surrounds you, even if you view that as what you’ve chosen. The emphasis isn’t on how wonderful you are, how unique and special, how much you admire and respect yourself. Instead, it’s on what you have, not who you are. I have clients who squirm in their seats when asked to express self-admiration or talk for five minutes on the wonders of being them. Maybe you’re like that as well.
Even though Americans are viewed as brash and boastful, we often feel uneasy touting our talents or successes. It feels so much more comfy and familiar to be humble, self-effacing and self-deprecating. Maybe such values come from religion or simply the way we were parented, but they leave a large gaping hole in sense of self if you’re seeking to see yourself in a balanced light. It’s so much easier to focus on what’s wrong with us than what’s right, which brings me back to the need to be grateful that you’re you.
What would you write in a grateful-to-be-me journal? Could you fill up the pages with big and small things that make you proud of yourself and highlight your finest qualities? Or would that be like pulling teeth because you keep thinking about all that you’re not rather than all that you are? Maybe you continue with dysregulated eating because you don’t think you’re worth treating well. Maybe you’re so busy thinking about how wonderful people around you are and wishing you had their job or their hair, their body or their self-confidence, that you feel less than and not good enough.
This holiday season, do a one-eighty and start writing a new kind of gratitude journal: one that is all about you. Write about what makes you proud of yourself, your unique talents, ideas, strengths or creativity. If you’re twitchy about making “I” statements, write in the third person using “he” or “she” or use your name. You’re allowed to feel fabulous and be fabulous and thank the stars every night that you’re no one else but you.