There are many ways in which we limit ourselves and hold ourselves back when dealing with our mental and emotional health issues, including our addictions. When we don’t accept who we are, we fall into patterns of self-rejection which can contribute to our addictive behaviors and self-destructiveness. Learning to love and accept ourselves unconditionally is a hugely important part of the recovery process. Without unconditional self-acceptance, we’re always vulnerable to the self-loathing that fuels our addictions and our self-destructive attempts at masking our pain.
Self-acceptance is a foreign concept for many of us. We might feel think it’s an impossible and unattainable thing for us. We may feel we’ve made too many mistakes to forgive ourselves and accept who we are. We might be filled with too much regret and shame. We may feel we’ve hurt too many people. Recovering from our addictions requires that we work to heal our deep inner pain, which includes our wounded self-perception, the perception of ourselves that we are unforgivable, that we are bad people undeserving of love, forgiveness and acceptance.
We’ve grown used to feeling that certain parts of us are wrong, bad, abnormal and unacceptable. We try to hide these parts of ourselves. We shun them. We keep them in secret, where they continue to bring us shame. Our self-rejection contributes to our worsening lack of self-esteem. We don’t feel worthy or deserving. Often these parts of ourselves are the addictions we need to address but feel it is easier and safer to avoid and hide away.
When we are living with addictions, we have patterns of doing things we feel ashamed of, usually compulsively in ways that feel beyond our control, and then rejecting ourselves even more for them afterward. We want to escape our shame and feel better about ourselves, which often leads us back to those same compulsive addictive behaviors that give us some relief temporarily but which cause us to feel worse about ourselves every time. As we’re working to stop our addictive behaviors, we have to heal the underlying painful feelings we’re holding onto about ourselves. We have to heal the shame and accept ourselves for who we are – flaws, issues, mistakes and all.
What would radical self-acceptance feel like? What would it feel like to be at peace with yourself, without feeling ashamed of yourself? How would it feel to accept even the most difficult parts of yourself? Try to imagine these feelings and work to adopt them. Start giving yourself the acceptance you may not have gotten from others in your life. If you felt rejected, abandoned or neglected as a child, that may have contributed to your cycles of self-rejection.
Call 888-570-7154 for information on how we can support you in your recovery.