Developing emotional resilience requires that we change our perspective – on ourselves, on our addictions, on life in general. Many of us have been conditioned to strive for perfection, and we’re taught that anything less than perfect is wrong and unlovable. We think of our challenges as burdens, and we run from difficulty. This mentality can contribute to our addictive behaviors, because we instinctively want to shun the parts of ourselves that are less than perfect, and we turn to our addictions to try to avoid them. Emotional resilience is about accepting all of our challenges, difficulties and imperfections and embracing them as spiritual tests of our strength and courage. Every time we rise to a challenge, or set a goal and reach it, or push ourselves past what we thought were our limits, we’re developing emotional resilience.
Changing our perspective takes practice. It invites us to take notice of the ways in which we think and feel, especially about ourselves and who we are as addicts. If we are quick to reject ourselves because of our addictions, we can practice seeing ourselves as imperfect but powerful. We are learning, growing and changing. Our addictions are not signs of weakness, they are the tests we’ve been given. Every time we work towards recovery by changing our mentality, we are strengthening our resilience.
Where we once might have been afraid of challenges and wanted to avoid them, resilience invites us to embrace our challenges fearlessly and with conviction, knowing that every time we do we are becoming stronger and more resilient. This doesn’t mean we will never feel afraid. Fear is an inevitable part of the process. It means we make the choice not to back down because of our fear, to keep trying and to keep moving forward. “My challenges are a test of my strength. I will do my best. I accept my imperfections as invitations for growth. My weaknesses are launching points for my expansion. My difficulties are the doorways to my healing.”
When we see our pain as something to be explored rather than something to run from, we make a pivotal step in stopping our addictive cycles from running our lives. What if instead of shunning our pain and doing everything in our power to avoid it, we instead approached it as an observer would, with curiosity, with the intention of learning more about yourself? “What is my pain trying to tell me? What unresolved issues are trying to get my attention? What do I still need to heal from?” Whenever we work with our pain instead of against it, we are developing our emotional resilience and setting ourselves up for a successful recovery.
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