The Process of Learning to Love Yourself

The Process of Learning to Love Yourself – Part Three

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In part-one of this series, we told you it is important to learn to love yourself in recovery. In  part-two, we outlined the process of practicing self-love and explained that love is an action. Now, we’ll give you some actions you can take for how you can actually learn to love yourself.

#1 Continue To Stay In Recovery – One Day At A Time

As you grow in recovery, so will the love you have for yourself. Every day that you stay sober or refrain from unhealthy sex, you are acting in self-love. Engaging in addiction is engaging in self-hatred and self-destruction. Make the commitment every day that you are going to work on your recovery and you are already halfway there.

#2 Change The Way You Talk To Yourself

Changing the way you talk to yourself has to be deliberate and intention. It won’t come easy at first. You are going to have to be vigilant in paying attention to your thought life and replacing self-defeating thoughts with loving, empowering ones.

For example, when you look in the mirror and think, “I’m so ugly!” change that thought immediately to “I am so beautiful. Look at my eyes!” If you think “I am such a loser,” replace that thought with “I am so proud of myself that I am working on self-improvement!”

This will feel strange at first. You won’t believe the new thoughts you are thinking. But, before long, you will start noticing how uncomfortable it is to talk down to yourself. Your awareness will shift and you will start filling your own head with positive affirmations. It really works!

#3 Become Aware Of Behaviors That Harm You And Commit To Changing Them

Notice what kind of things you are doing to yourself that are unhealthy. Do you smoke cigarettes? Do you cut yourself? Do you hit yourself? Do you destroy your own property? When you do things that hurt you, you are not being loving towards yourself. Remember, recovery is about more than just ceasing addictive behaviors. It is about an active change in other behaviors as well.

Don’t feel overwhelmed. We are not asking you to give up your other coping skills until you are ready. We are simply asking you to become aware of your negative coping skills and encouraging you to make the commitment to change them – one day, when the time is right. Just by doing this, you will be amazed at how quickly your desire to be more loving to yourself will begin to take hold. Suddenly, those old behaviors won’t feel so good.  

 #4 Stay Away From Negative People

One of the most unloving things you can do for yourself is to keep company with toxic people. If you are in relationships with people who make you feel bad about yourself, stay away from those people. Surround yourself with people who build you up and empower you. It is better to be alone than in bad company. When you love yourself, you only associate with people who love and cherish you in return. By cutting out negative people and replacing them will supportive ones, you are expressing a great deal of self-love.  

#5 Be Kind To Yourself And Treat Yourself Well

When you love yourself, you take care of yourself. You eat healthy and you get exercise. You get plenty of sleep. You tend to your physical and mental well-being. You do things that make you feel good about you. This may include buying yourself nice clothes or taking yourself out for a nice meal. It might mean taking a hot bubble bath. It could mean painting yourself a picture or writing yourself a poem.

Find out what you can do for yourself that makes you feel loved and do it!

Remember, Learning To Love Yourself Is A Process

After years of abusing yourself in your addiction, learning to love yourself will take time. That’s okay! Give time time. Don’t fall into the trap of beating yourself up because you aren’t loving yourself. This isn’t loving!

The more you practice self-love, the more comfortable it will feel and the more you will want to do it. Just remember: stay in recovery (one day at a time), change the way you talk to yourself, become aware of behaviors that harm you and commit to changing them (one day!), stay away from negative people, and be kind to yourself. Soon, loving yourself will become a natural state of being.  

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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