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The idea of the “year of yes” typically gets tossed around in January with the intention that the year ahead will include saying yes to invitations, opportunities and situations that one would normally shy away from or decline. Sometimes it’s a simple “buzz phrase” and sometimes it’s about going out of your comfort zone and being curious with what you find there. 

The concept of the “year of yes” has always intrigued me because I found that in some ways it resembles what life looks like in recovery. In recovery, a lot of places in life that used to have a firm “no” or hesitation around them, become a “yes.” And to clarify, this doesn’t look like a blanket “yes” to all people and things that blatantly disregards your boundaries and the space you need to protect yourself. It’s about a “yes” to life’s possibilities and an open mind that can lead you to places you could’ve never anticipated. 

To elaborate, here is a list of some particular things I found myself saying yes to in my recovery: 

  • Yes to dinner with friends visiting from out of town – time to show off some of my city’s best spots for an Italian dinner and an ice cream cone. 
  • Yes to impromptu weekend breakfasts with the roommate – now Sundays just feel wrong without pancakes or waffles.
  • Yes to making cookies with my younger siblings – and not only that but enjoying the fruits of your labor after! 
  • Yes to life. A life that is sometimes infuriating, sometimes magnificent, never perfect and I get to be an active part of it each and every day. 

In general, I find writing lists to be a helpful practice of getting what’s swirling in my mind down on paper – it suddenly becomes clearer and takes shape. If you have the time, space and desire to do so as well, it may be helpful to journal on the following related prompts as you reflect on your process:

  1. What does my disordered eating force me to say no to or make me feel like I can’t be a part of? 
  2. What do I want to say yes to? It can be big, it can be small. It can be silly, it can be serious. 
  3. What are some things I could do that may make saying yes easier? This could be coming up with some affirmations, going to therapy, bringing a friend for support, etc. 

There’s no hard and fast rule, and everyone’s process will look different. But regardless, the “yes” that comes with recovery is hard-fought and beautifully worn. You’ve got this. 

By: Maddy Weingast, Assistant for Therapy for Eating Disorders and Body Image