At the root of our addictions and mental and emotional health issues is often a pervasive, all-encompassing feeling of self-hatred. We don’t believe in our own self-worth and our value. We see ourselves not as we truly are but with a self-image based on self-rejection and shame. We criticize ourselves at every turn and judge ourselves even more harshly than we judge others. Our self-hatred often comes from the unhealed trauma that is informing how we feel about ourselves, causing us to feel inadequate, and tainting our self-perception. Healing our self-hatred and developing self-love to replace it requires building our sense of self-worth.
A powerful way to start believing we are worthy is to give time and energy to a self-gratitude practice. Let’s go beyond the things we usually feel grateful for – our loved ones, our health and safety, a roof over our heads. Let’s go even deeper. Let’s venture into what we’re grateful for about ourselves. What are our gifts and strengths? What are our natural talents and passions? What do we admire about ourselves? What characteristics are we most proud of? What things about ourselves cause us to feel self-respect and self-appreciation?
This practice can take concentrated effort and might not be easy at first. We’re quick to want to think of our flaws and imperfections. We have everything we don’t like about ourselves at the forefront of our minds. We’re also conditioned to think it is arrogant or vain to praise ourselves. The truth is confidence and self-love are very different from arrogance. Our intention with this practice is to lift ourselves up, not put others down. We want to get into the habit of recognizing our greatness and seeing our worth. When we do this, we feel less threatened by other people, less inclined to feel like we need to compete with them. We’re able to see the good in other people without being afraid that it will diminish our light. We want to practice praising ourselves, giving ourselves the validation we so desperately seek in other people. We want to feel whole within ourselves so that we no longer need to put other people down in order to feel better about ourselves. We want to shed the fears of inadequacy, inferiority and unworthiness that manifest as envy and jealousy. We want to learn self-awareness and self-acceptance, rather than attempting to escape ourselves through our addictions.
Practicing being grateful for the beautiful things about ourselves helps us to open our hearts to ourselves with self-love. We shed the self-rejection that has been causing us to harden our hearts to ourselves. We become more aligned with who we are meant to be. We see our unlimited potential to soar to new heights. We start to believe in ourselves. Our self-hate becomes a thing of the past, a memory of a former self, replaced by an unshakeable conviction and faith in our self-worth.
Part of developing self-love is surrounding yourself with people who know and understand the issues you’re facing. Let Bayview Recovery be that community of people for you in your recovery. Call 888-570-7154 today for more information.