New Year, New You?
As we approach the end of the year, it is a good time to check on those New Years resolutions we may have made. Some of us feel renewed and excited to continue with the changes, wondering why we didn’t start them sooner. Some of us may be fatigued with the effort, or perhaps have given up completely. For those struggling to stick to their resolutions, this blog is for you. I believe it is so easy to feel like failure at a new endeavor and then give up completely. We approach undesirable behavior with the perspective that it is all bad and needs to get out of our lives completely.
But what if we shifted that thinking? Sometimes by making something “bad” and trying to push it away, it becomes stronger, ready for a fight to stay engaged as an active part of our lives. Whatever that part is, it can also serve a purpose. It hasn’t been all bad all the time, because if that were true we would never have wanted a change in the first place.
Let's take an example, such as food and overeating. When used in the wrong way it can become extremely detrimental in our lives. While it may feel good in the moment, it is doing more harm than good to our overall well-being, so we perceive eating too much as “bad”. If we change that perspective, we can see that wanting to overeat may be trying to help ease some pain. The part that wants to overeat might be trying to provide an escape from uncomfortable emotions and a way to cope. We can’t just simply tell that part to go away. It is trying to help us to feel better. If we can find a way to draw on other strengths within us to prove that we are capable of soothing uncomfortable emotions without the crutch of food, we can feel safe enough to quiet the urge to overeat.
The ultimate goal is that we develop new coping strategies that allow us to experience all our emotions, even the unpleasant ones, in a safe and healthy way. These emotions can give us wonderful insight into ourselves and what we need to do to live a happier life. We can draw on options that can help us take care of our needs, rather than artificial relief with food; we can choose to exercise or meditate. We can show ourselves that we are alright now. We don’t need it the way we did before, but we can still value what it gave us to some degree, and by doing so we are soothing it.
This is a brief synopsis of an EMDR technique I use often in therapy. It is an exercise to meet all the various ego states or various parts of self, and to get them to work together for the overall good. It is a powerful technique and one that has so many applications for helping us get unstuck and find the strength and resources to resolve some of our deepest struggles. So as you continue to work towards your New Years resolutions this year,
I hope this will help to encourage you along your path. I’m here to help and can support you on your journey to be your best self this year.