{via etsy}

I came out of the womb nervous, insecure and afraid — of everything from roller-coasters to exams to extreme emotions. (Likely thanks to a combo of genetics and birth trauma.)

I’ve lived most of my life second-guessing myself, being indecisive, listening to others (instead of myself) and truly believing that I wasn’t good enough as I was. That I needed to change many things.

My negative body image stemmed, in part, from these deeply ingrained beliefs. That I had to earn a positive body image by losing weight and looking a certain way. That I had to earn respect, love, connection and a meaningful life this way as well.

I’ve written before about how my insecurities — about being worthy, a good enough person — lurked beneath my desires for thinness.

I didn’t just have a negative body image. I had a negative view of myself as a whole…for years, decades.

Thankfully, the older I get, the more self-acceptance I gain. The more I understand myself. And the more I realize that I do deserve great things, regardless of my clothing size or recent accomplishments.

It’s these recent more positive beliefs that will inform my intentions for the New Year. Similar to last year, I’d like to spell out these intentions. Putting my thoughts down on paper always helps me make sense of them, to refine and fine-tune them. Then these final thoughts serve as a reminder, as my compass for the entire year.

If you’d like, write down your wants as well. It doesn’t have to be anything organized or concrete or measurable. Take several minutes to yourself, maybe reflect on the last few years, and write down what a fulfilling 2012 looks like for you.

In 2012, I want to listen to myself. Really listen. To listen to the whispers of my wants and yearnings. And to let these wants guide my decisions. My words, and my voice, before I even ask anyone for advice.

I want to do things that scare me a bit (but I’d really like to do) despite my fears. For instance, for several years, I’ve been wanting to start a blog on my personal website. I’ve gone through a litany of reasons why I shouldn’t. (I’m not a good enough writer, there are so many blogs out there already, who cares what I have to say?) And then slowly, I realized that this was something I truly wanted, so why not?

Writing it has been liberating, and I’m so glad that I ignored my own naysaying thoughts. (If you’re interested, here’s the link.)

I want to continue learning more about myself and respecting myself. I want to take good care of myself, regardless of how I look, because I know that I always deserve care and compassion.

I want to keep moving my body and finding joyful ways to do that. To get outside and explore the world more, with my feet, my hands, my eyes and my camera.

I want to grow as a writer, and find other ways to express myself. I want to focus on the important things.

As Patti Digh says, “Life is short. Live accordingly.” And that’s really my intention for 2012.

What do you want in 2012? What are your intentions?