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Now that 2018 has finally come to a close, many of us are just breathing a sigh of relief that at least the literal apocalypse hasn’t yet occurred. Picking just one New Year Resolution is rather difficult this year, seeing as there are just so goddamn many things in my life that need immediate fixing. Will 2019 be the year we finally kick our straight guy fetish? Does 2019 hold a version of me that restrains himself from 4 AM dating app hookups? In all honesty, probably not. Old habits die hard, but there is one catch-all resolution that many of us in the LGBTQ community could use some brushing up on. I’m talking about finally learning to love yourself.

Self-loathing, self-destructive behavior, sexual shame, dysphoria--these are unfortunately all too common “perks” of the queer identity package. And sure, we can blame centuries of homophobic culture for instilling these qualities into so many gay men. But as we combat oppressive hetero-normative culture, it also preeminently important to love ourselves.

Everybody has things about themselves that they wish they could change. But rather than highlighting our biggest flaws each January--how about instead we focus on accepting ourselves for who we are and stop judging ourselves so hard. Surely you don’t apply the same toxic aspersions that your ego lobs at itself to OTHER people. So just go easy on yourself, dude.

Self-betterment is totally fine and good in moderation and when used strategically. But so often it seems we create totally unrealistic resolutions for the new year and just feel like even more of a piece of shit when we inevitably break them. Of course, I’m not going to stop eating Taco Bell. Who am I kidding? Implementing changes to make you a healthier and happier adult will always be slow and gradual. You need to learn to bargain with the wild animal within you. First starters, maybe reduce your Taco Bell intake to three nights a week instead of seven. See, these are small baby step goals that can you ACTUALLY accomplish and feel proud of.

But at the end of the day, even if you never touch a Crunchwrap Supreme again, what good does it do if you don’t love the man who abstains? Being happy with your habits and who you are is the most important thing. So who knows, if you start practicing radical self-love, then maybe you don’t even have to change your diet after all.

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*** Andrew Christian Inc. does not claim rights to any images posted in this blog post. If you find your picture here and would like to have it credited or removed please email [email protected]

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