Self-rejection is a huge problem for those of us struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Deep down we hate ourselves, and this is often a contributing factor in our suffering. Our lack of self-acceptance can be debilitating. We don’t believe in ourselves. We lose hope. We can feel as though life is meaningless and like we are worthless. Learning to accept ourselves with all of our flaws and faults takes a shift in perspective. We tend to think that we are only worthwhile if we’re doing well, if we’re successful or happy, if we’re able to compete with other people. We have to start measuring our worth not in our accomplishments but in our ability to grow. Our capacity for change, for healing, for transformation – that is where our strength lies, not in the amount of money in our bank account or the value of our house or what we look like.
Every mistake we’ve ever made is an opportunity to learn something valuable about ourselves and the world. When we’re too busy beating ourselves up and refusing to accept ourselves for who we are, we miss out on these important opportunities. We don’t learn the life lessons, until our patterns repeat themselves and we’re forced to learn them with even more harshness and potentially drastic impact. Let’s start seeing our mistakes not as examples of our failure but as stepping stones in our evolution.
We can take an organized, methodical approach to learning self-acceptance. When you think of your worst mistakes and biggest sources of shame, what things come to mind? Let’s use a journaling practice to help ourselves get to the root of our self-rejection. List the things that bother you most about yourself and your past. Be as specific and detailed as you can. What did you do, and how does it make you feel? Perhaps you feel disappointment with yourself, shame, embarrassment, regret, remorse. Write it all down. Now read your words again. Read them over and over again, like a meditative practice, to help yourself come to terms with it. Seeing it written down and facing it head on in this way can help us desensitize ourselves to it. It can help take some of the sting out of it.
Now think about the big picture. Are these things you can move on from? Can you forgive yourself? What were the lessons you’ve learned? What wisdom can you glean from them, and how can you use that moving forward? How can you help others? Use these questions and this writing exercise as often as you need to, to help you face yourself and therefore learn self-acceptance.
At Riverside Recovery, you’ll be surrounded by a community that understands addiction and recovery firsthand. We’ve helped countless people succeed in recovery, and we’re here to help you too. Call (800) 871-5440 today.