Self Love in Recovery: Why It Matters and How to Achieve It

“Self-love in recovery” or “Learning to love yourself matters.” I’m sure you’ve heard these things a million times.

How many times has society told us we need to love ourselves in order for others to love us? And how many ads, self-help books, articles, tv shows and songs have tried spreading this message globally? But how many times has it only made us feel worse?

This is a common response because loving ourselves isn’t something easy or something that we accomplish within a day or two. How can it be, with the impossibly high standards that we are spoon-fed since birth?

Learning to love yourself in recovery isn’t always easy

Society has set impossibly high standards for us. So it makes sense that whenever we hear this piece of advice, our first instinct is to feel bad about ourselves. Because hey, it seems we’re failing at the universally acknowledged chore of self-love.

So here’s the thing. Learning to love ourselves in recovery matters, of course it does. But for entirely different reasons than the ones we’re led to believe by society. Is it really because people around us can’t love us unless we do it first? Why learning to love yourself actually matters

Loving ourselves actually matters because the person in the mirror we face every single morning is the one person that will always, unconditionally, be there for us. It’s not your mom or your dad or your siblings or your best friend. It’s you.

The person who will share every single moment with you, each experience and memory you hold dear in your heart… is you.

How are we expected to live a happy, healthy life if we can’t bring ourselves to even stand being around that person? That’s why self-love in recovery is deeper than you might think.

Loving the person you see in the mirror

Let me ask you a question now: Have you ever felt lonely? And if so, does it feel like a thick rope wrapping around your body, one that you’re unable to break from no matter how hard you try? Well, here’s a little secret tool I’ve learned to deal with loneliness, too: it becomes so much more bearable when you actually like yourself. Because you start enjoying the time you spent by yourself. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Self-love pays off.

Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Okay, that sounds good and all but how am I supposed to do that?” “How do I find self-love in recovery?” Yes, as I said, it’s not easy. We’re constantly bombarding our brains with information. And believe me when I say at least 70% of that can be harmful to our well-being, especially our self-esteem. 

Comparing ourselves to others through social media, hearing during our entire life what other people think about us, and shaping ourselves into a version that will be liked by everyone. All of these are extremely damaging habits we do on a daily, most times without even realizing it. It’s all about habits. Our minds can get used to anything. Absolutely anything. We can teach our mind to think positively, we can teach it to reshape its mechanisms and instead of feeding us with negative ideas about ourselves, actually do the opposite. And yes, it takes time. Of course, it takes time

You can’t achieve this kind of thing in a day, a week, or even a month. But the results are long-term. Once you learn to appreciate the little things about yourself, you start seeing your real value, and accept what you can’t change… it sticks. It becomes a habit. And I promise life gets a lot easier when you learn to like that reflection in the mirror. And I’m not just talking about looks.

5 practical steps you can take toward embracing self-love in recovery

1. Start doing something you love every day

The truth is we spend most of our days either working or studying or sometimes both. We usually don’t prioritize taking some time during the day to do something we truly enjoy. But it can be an amazing serotonin boost and foster self-love in recovery and beyond. It’s been scientifically shown that doing the things we take pleasure in can have a positive impact on mental health, including reduced stress and improved well-being. It’s important to make time for leisure activities and hobbies in order to promote mental health and well-being (Östlund et all., 2018).

2. Be smart about social media

Do you follow any content creators on any social media platform that make you feel bad about yourself? Do you find yourself comparing your life to others, wishing you were them, or thinking you’re not doing enough to either get or deserve that kind of lifestyle? And do you feel like self-love is possible for them but not you? Unfollow, unsubscribe, unpin or delete anything from your feed that brings you down. After all, that old saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is actually true and you’ll be surprised by how much better you feel when you start providing your mind with content that only makes you feel better.

3. Drain your life from toxicity to encourage self-love in recovery

Pushing toxic people away is an extremely difficult thing to do, especially if they hold a big place in your heart. But the truth is if you surround yourself with people who make you feel bad about yourself, chances are it’ll be a lot harder to break that vicious cycle and start on your journey of self-love in recovery (and beyond).

Sometimes it’s not just about someone being toxic because they mean to, but people we love perhaps saying things that hurt us. Communication is key if that’s the case. Teaching others what is harmful to us makes it easier for people to understand us. And hopefully, if they love you, they’ll respect your boundaries and make changes. Surrounding yourself with people that care makes it easier to start loving yourself too.

4. Transform the target of your inner voice into someone you love

Now, this is a technique I started using a few months ago, and it’s given me great results. It’s pretty simple and you can start practicing today

Whenever that little voice in your head (you know which one I’m talking about), tries to bring you down, blame you for things you have no control over, or punish you for making a mistake…think about that voice talking to someone you love instead of you.

What if your friend made that awful mistake? Would you punish them the way you’re punishing yourself right now? What if your little sister told you how she feels about that flaw of hers? Would you tell her she’s right and make her feel worse? Probably not. 

This exercise is effective because it makes us realize how cruel and unfair we often are to ourselves. It teaches us to be kinder, more patient, and react the same way we would toward the people we love the most. Because at the end of the day, that’s the goal.

5. Put yourself first

This is probably one of the hardest ones. Trust me, I understand. We’ve been told for years that putting ourselves above others means we’re selfish, egotistic people. That is not the case.

You can still care about others and be a great person, while prioritizing yourself when needed.

You’re important. You matter.

All in all, when it comes to self-love in recovery it’s all about baby steps. It’ll take time, and the journey is different for everyone. I’m still learning every day, you never quite stop. 

But I believe in you, and I promise it will make life so much better once you start learning to love yourself.

References:

Östlund, S., Västfjäll, D., Rönnlund, M., & Slovic, P. (2018). Leisure-time activities and mental health: A systematic review. Health Psychology Review, 12(2), 195-213. https://doi.org/10.1080/17437199.2017.1389723

Join the Conversation

3 Comments

  1. says: Emma

    There are a lot of problems and negative emotions in our life, we are like in a closed space. It is very important to find an effective method in time in order to restore your strength and believe in yourself again. Therefore, you need to learn to live in harmony with yourself and the world. There are ways to achieve inner balance, you can find a lot of useful information on positive mindset here

  2. says: Mary T. Woods

    I loved reading your materials on the importance of learning to love oneself struck a chord with me. It’s crucial to prioritize self-care and self-acceptance. In a similar vein, I recently discovered an article on how to choose and hire research paper writer. I think it is a great way to show self-love and care of yourself. Our mental well-being depends on the way we think and way we live, so we need to be interested in our personal growth and educational achievement.

  3. says: Amanda Woodsons

    Thank you for this insightful post on the importance of learning to love oneself. The journey to self-love is indeed transformative, and your words resonate deeply. As you rightly point out, self-love is not just a luxury but a necessity for overall well-being.

    I was particularly drawn to the idea of self-compassion and understanding the roots of self-doubt. It reminded me of an excellent resource I recently came across that provides practical steps to boost self-esteem and foster self-love. If anyone is looking for actionable ways to embark on this journey, I highly recommend checking out the article on Calmerry’s blog titled 6 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself and the tips shared there complement the ideas presented in this post, offering a well-rounded approach to cultivating a positive self-image.

    It’s heartening to see the wealth of resources available to support individuals on their path to self-love. Let’s continue to spread awareness about the importance of this journey and empower others to embrace and celebrate their unique selves.

    Thank you again for sharing such valuable insights!

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