Self-love is, unfortunately, not something that comes easily for a lot of people. We can be hyper-critical of ourselves, spend too much time focusing on guilt or regret, or simply not take the time to develop a love for ourselves. This can be even more true when we struggle with addiction because our behaviors do not always reflect who we are or our core beliefs. We can learn to develop self-love, however, even after addiction.
Most of us have regrets, guilt, and shame. These feelings are there to guide us and help us stay true to ourselves and our core values. However, they are not meant to stay with us forever. While they can remind us when we have not been authentic, we can learn to make peace with ourselves, accept ourselves and what we have done, and then move on. Until we are willing to accept our whole selves and everything we have done, it will be impossible to love ourselves.
Accepting ourselves is not about ignoring the parts of us that don’t reflect who we are; it’s about acknowledging all of our parts, all of our past and present behaviors, and realizing that we are more than just our weaknesses. Acceptance means that we can see our strengths and weaknesses and know that we are a sum of all our parts, not just the positive or negative parts. Self-acceptance is crucial for us to develop self-love.
Self-forgiveness is another key aspect of learning to love ourselves. Being willing to look back at our worst mistakes and forgive ourselves, despite whatever pain we caused ourselves or others, demonstrates our willingness to love ourselves again. We know we are not perfect, but we also know that we are working to be better.
Forgiveness is a key part of loving someone. When a loved one hurts us, our ability to forgive them can strengthen our relationship with them. Our forgiveness often inspires them to do better next time as well. We can be better when we are willing to stop blaming ourselves and instead be inspired to do better next time for ourselves.
Falling in Love All Over Again
As we strive to develop self-love, we need to learn more about who we are. Too often in active addiction, we lose ourselves. We forget who we are, what we like to do, and may even lose sight of our core values. Within recovery, we spend a lot of time looking at who we really are. We have the chance to look at our values, our likes and dislikes, our goals, and our aspirations for our future self.
Taking ourselves apart and putting ourselves back together again gives us the opportunity to fall in love all over again…with ourselves. As we begin to heal, we re-discover little things that we lost along the way or that got pushed aside in our pain and substance abuse. We can also discover new things that we love, as well as characteristics and qualities that we may not have remembered having before. Just like rediscovering a past romance, we can literally fall in love with ourselves all over again.
Empowering Our Hearts
After we learn self-acceptance, forgiveness, and we begin to fall in love with who we really are once again, then we can empower our hearts to a place of self-love. Empowerment is not overlooking faults or mistakes, but rather continuously accepting and forgiving ourselves, as well as being capable of acknowledging our strengths and our triumphs. By being willing to look at ourselves without judgment, self-love is fostered and can improve our self-esteem.
Changing Our Future
When we move from a place of self-judgment, guilt, shame, and regret to a place where we accept, forgive, and love ourselves, we change our future. We can move forward with confidence and conviction in our purpose and our actions. No longer are we victims to negative self-thinking, no more are we weighed down by our past.
Changing the perception of ourselves and learning to love ourselves is not easy. But as we heal from addiction, we can learn to do just that. Self-love frees us to choose whatever path we want for our lives going forward. We can step forward boldly and create a new future for ourselves, a future where we love ourselves completely for who we are.
Learning about self-love is difficult, even more so after addiction. But as you move forward into your recovery, you will find greater and greater love for yourself. Learning to accept yourself, forgive yourself, and love yourself for who you are will actually empower you to become a better person. At Rancho Milagro Recovery, we want to help you find your self-love again. If you want to know more about our beautiful Temecula, California ranch, call us at (951) 526-4582 today. Your love for yourself can be found once again and you can forgive yourself for anything in your past. No matter where you are coming from, or how hard it is for you to get back onto your path, loving yourself goes a long way to getting you back where you want to go–and further. Make your life whatever you want it to be by learning to love yourself again.