When living with addiction and mental illness, we have a tendency to always feel as though there’s something wrong with us, like there’s always something that needs to be fixed, added or taken away in order for us to be good enough. We feel inadequate as we are, unworthy, and undeserving of love and happiness. We think our shortcomings make us destined to fail. We believe we’ll never succeed in recovery or be able to create lives we’re satisfied with and proud of. These beliefs and feelings hold us back in our recovery, because instead of giving ourselves the gifts of compassion and self-acceptance that nurture us and help us to heal, we’re beating ourselves up and constantly telling ourselves that something is fundamentally, pathologically wrong with us, that something is missing, something is off. How can we stop feeling like there’s something wrong with us?
We want to get to a place where we feel whole and at peace within ourselves, comfortable in our skin, and confident in who we are. We can’t get there when we’re telling ourselves all the things we should do to be good enough, when we’re striving for unattainable levels of perfection, and when we have unrealistic expectations for ourselves. We can only get to that place when we’ve developed unconditional self-love and self-acceptance, when we make the choice to love ourselves for who we are, instead of always criticizing ourselves for not being who we think we should be.
Self-acceptance comes with practice. Let’s write down all the things we think are so wrong about ourselves, all the things we think need fixing, all the things we would eliminate from ourselves if we could, and all the things we wish we could add. Let’s explore all the ways in which we don’t feel whole, complete or adequate within ourselves. Now let’s take a look at our list. When we see everything in writing, it can desensitize us to the pain we’ve come to associate it with. It can take out some of the sting to look at it head on, especially when we’re accustomed to trying to avoid thinking about just how wrong and inadequate we feel we are. Let’s read our list and let’s repeat, “I love and accept myself, including my ____,” and fill in the blanks with the things we’ve written down. I love and accept myself, including my habit of self-criticizing. I love and accept myself, including when I’m not feeling pretty. I love and accept myself, including my mistakes and the things from my past that I regret.
The more we practice believing these statements, the more they will ring true for us, the more we will develop unconditional self-love and self-acceptance and stop feeling as though there’s something innately wrong with us.
Riverside Recovery understands all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and is here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.