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The recovery process, like any personal development journey, is full of ups and downs, challenges and obstacles, successes and perceived failures. What we come to realize is that what feels like a failure, or a mistake, or a flaw, is actually an invitation to open ourselves up even more to the process of learning how to love and accept ourselves. The more we build our self-love and self-acceptance, the more we naturally align ourselves with healing and transformation and enable ourselves to make positive changes for ourselves. When we beat ourselves up for the things we’ve done wrong, the failures, mistakes, shortcomings and imperfections, we actually stall our forward momentum and hinder our progress. Harsh judgment and criticism don’t carry the energies of growth and expansion. On the contrary, they are very restrictive and limiting. They make us feel worse about ourselves. They make us want to shut down and close ourselves off from other people. They make us want to stop trying and give up altogether. Self-forgiveness and self-love enable us to accept ourselves as we are, the perfect jumping off point for developing ourselves, for continuing to learn and grow and make improvements to ourselves.

Many of us are perfectionists in both our everyday lives and our healing work. We are extremely hard on ourselves and demand perfection from ourselves and from the people around us. Being this hard on ourselves often comes from a need for control, and this need very often comes from a place of fear. We’re afraid of what will happen if we mess up. We’re afraid people won’t forgive us. We’re afraid of failing. We’re afraid of being looked down upon. An important part of healing ourselves is recognizing that we can never be perfect, no matter how much we might try or wish we could be. Perfection is simply unattainable. What can we realistically attain, that would be healthier for us to strive for? Growth, learning, expansion, development, improvement, change, transformation, healing. We want to get to know ourselves on a deeper level and connect with our inner selves. We want to become comfortable with who we are now, so that we can make healthy changes to become the strongest, most authentic, happiest and healthiest version of ourselves.

If we’re constantly trying to fix ourselves, we forget to live. We forget to wander, discover, reflect, meditate, search and explore. We forget to love ourselves. We’re so busy trying to be perfect that we don’t let ourselves enjoy our lives. If we’re so consumed with constantly trying to fix ourselves, we’ll miss out on this moment, and this moment, and this one. We’ll miss out on all of the beauty that life has to offer. Life is about healing ourselves, but it’s also about loving ourselves.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.