Those of us struggling with addictions and mental health issues often have in common a belief that we are inadequate, shameful and unworthy. Oftentimes we are filled with self-hatred that compounds, perpetuates and exacerbates our difficulties. We hear about self-love and maybe we know we ought to love ourselves, but how do we go about finding self-love?
We are not just our addictions, our drugs of choice, our behaviors and thoughts. We are not just our mistakes and wrongdoings. Underneath all of that, and including all that, we are beautiful manifestations of our higher power in human form. Before and after we became addicts and/or mentally ill, we were unique, special, strong and powerful. We have unique gifts and talents to share with the world, whether or not we are conscious yet of what they are. One way to grow in self-love is to focus our energy on finding that beautiful soul within us. Our souls are the essence of who we are. Our fears and pain don’t destroy our souls, in fact they can be a source of strength and empowerment if we allow them to be.
How can we strengthen and empower ourselves? With self-love. Every day, as often as possible, tell yourself things like “I love you. I believe in you. You are strong. You are resilient. You are healing.” Look in the mirror and repeat these words. This can be hard to do. When we hate ourselves, sometimes we can’t stand to even look at our own reflection. Give these exercises as much of your energy as you can. Try to infuse your energy with hope, faith and optimism. Start to work to shed the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Use positive, self-loving affirmations to reprogram your subconscious mind.
See your addictions and mental health issues as one part of yourself, not the entirety of your identity. Love yourself for all of it, the good, the bad, and everything in between. Love yourself for not giving up. Love yourself for still trying. Love yourself for seeking help. Love yourself for getting out of bed today. Love and forgive yourself for your shortcomings, mistakes and wrongs. All of it makes up the wholeness of who you are, and you deserve love because of it, not despite it. You survived to tell the stories, and every day is a chance to learn, do better and move forward.
See yourself the way your higher power sees you, a flawed human being who is perfectly imperfect but perfect nonetheless. Finding ways to love ourselves unconditionally, and to love all the parts of ourselves, is crucial to our healing and recovery.
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