With all that has happened in the world this year, life can be difficult to face. The level of difficulty goes up exponentially for those of us who have been using substances. With anxiety and depression levels so high already, substances just compound the issues. Yet now is the perfect time to change all of that. We can use this time to make wholesale changes in our lives, changes that demonstrate our love for ourselves. Choosing to enter recovery now can make this summer our summer of love.
What Is Self-Love?
There are a lot of misconceptions about what self-love is. Certainly, it has nothing to do with narcissism, which is more selfish and obsessed with vanity. Instead, self-love is truly accepting and loving ourselves, just as we are. When we truly love ourselves, we have a strong sense of self-worth and are willing to seek what we deserve instead of settling.
Another component of self-love is to take care of ourselves and our own needs, rather than put everyone or everything first. That is not to say that we do not sometimes sacrifice to care for others or do things for people in need, only that as a general rule, we make sure that we have addressed our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being every day. Prioritizing our needs instead of overextending ourselves for others shows that we truly love ourselves.
How this can look is to set up a regular time every day to exercise, for example. Let’s say we have a 7:00 pm yoga class every evening. If a friend calls and says they want to meet for dinner at 7:00 pm, rather than missing our class, we might suggest a later time, such as 8:00 pm for dinner. This simple act demonstrates to both us and the friend that our yoga class is important, that we are important.
How Can I Obtain Self-Love?
Inherently, everyone has some self-love inside of us, it is up to us to find it and nurture it. Too often, it is buried and stifled by guilt, shame, self-blame, and more. Our self-esteem may be lacking, and without that belief in ourselves, it is difficult to love ourselves.
In order to find our self-love, we need to reach deep and heal the pain inside of us. We need to learn self-acceptance, to be willing to accept ourselves for who and what we are, rather than tie our self-esteem to the ideas of who we want to be. We need to forgive ourselves and ask for forgiveness for any of the mistakes we may have made that are preventing us from freely loving ourselves.
The Forgiveness Process
One of the biggest barriers to truly loving ourselves is forgiveness. We hang onto every mistake we have made, and we feed and nurture those events with negative self-talk and pain. We don’t give equal time to all of the goodness or our triumphs. Instead, we ruminate and allow our pain to fester until our mistakes are all we see. We can obtain forgiveness, however, of both self and others:
- Own our mistakes – this is not about beating ourselves up. It is about accepting what we have done and being willing to make changes going forward. One of the most powerful changes we can make is to attend residential treatment for our substance use.
- Offer amends – this process involves apologizing and correcting any wrongs that we can. Some mistakes may not have any way to correct them, however, being truly sorrowful can help heal a lot of wounds.
- Ask for forgiveness – apologizing alone is only part of the process. We need to ask forgiveness of those we may have hurt. They will always have the choice to forgive us or not, but our burden can be lifted simply by asking.
- Forgive ourselves – the most difficult step is to forgive ourselves. To truly be able to look inside and tell ourselves that we are forgiven, no matter what we have done, is one of the greatest manifestations of self-love.
Healing from Addiction
When we struggle with substance abuse, our minds are clouded with pain, stigma, and self-loathing. While we are active in our addiction, it is truly impossible to develop self-love, because our substances will always come before ourselves. However, as we enter treatment and begin to heal from our substance use, we can discover the love we had for ourselves all along, and nurture it as we heal. This process is so powerful, and there is no better day than today to begin it.
Learning to Truly Love Myself
As this summer is upon us, there can be no better time to learn to truly love ourselves. We can learn to accept ourselves fully, each and every day. As we make mistakes, and we will, we can be forgiving of ourselves and move forward with forgiveness and self-acceptance. As we develop our self-belief, we will also develop a greater love four ourselves.
Making this summer the summer of self-love is your opportunity to change your life. Call AToN Center at (888) 535-1516 to schedule your journey to self-love today. As you find treatment for substance use, you can explore self-acceptance and forgiveness as well. By making wholesale changes in your life, you will foster greater belief in yourself. Discover how to heal from substance use and foster a deep love of yourself this summer.