If you are recovering from or are in treatment for addiction, you might not have had the most positive sense of self. Focusing on yourself, your happiness, and your well-being over others might feel foreign or even wrong. There might be parts of you that feel like you don’t deserve to prioritize your needs or indulge in fun activities. In the past, you might have been overwhelmed with responsibilities, not allowing for your own time. There are many reasons you might find it challenging to take the time to love and care for yourself; however, it is vital to learn how to love yourself to feel at peace during recovery.
Many Forms of Love
Valentine’s Day forgets to tell us that we shouldn’t just celebrate romantic love, but rather all kinds of love. There are plenty of forms that love takes. The love you feel for your partner isn’t the same kind of love that you feel for your parents. The love you feel for yourself might be different from your love for your pets or your best friends. There are endless ways we can love someone or something. Love means we care about that certain someone or something and hold them near and dear to our hearts.
Often, society tends to forget about self-love, or they might see it as a weak kind of love. Loving yourself can have negative connotations, from selfishness to narcissism, or can even be seen as laziness if your form of self-love is letting yourself rest after hard work, for example. Looking into a mirror and admiring all of the unique parts of yourself might feel foolish.
Self Love Isn’t Selfish
Those new to putting themselves first might feel awkward practicing self-love because they have been taught it is selfish. They might not have been given a concrete example of how to love themselves in the past. They might have received a lot of criticism throughout their lives even though they grew and learned just like everyone else. Those feelings of inadequacy or not living up to your full potential can weigh on your self-esteem like a ton of bricks.
However, self-love is healthy and natural. Viewing yourself as a human deserving of happiness, love, and life fulfillment doesn’t mean being selfish. Every human being deserves kindness, patience, and grace. What makes your case any different? You are entitled to the same love and patience you give to others.
Filling an Empty Cup
Parts of self-love are about the positive words you associate with yourself and positive actions. Self-care is an intrinsic part of self-love because by taking care of yourself, you are showing yourself that you do care. It’s essential to take time for yourself, paying attention to your needs and wants because when neglecting yourself, it’s hard to give to the world if your cup is empty. If you aren’t taking the time to make sure that you are okay, you can’t provide the same energy that you want to give to your other loved ones in your life who might need the love and care you give.
How to Put Yourself First
It might be hard to know where to start if you aren’t used to putting yourself first and practicing self-love. There are plenty of ways to show yourself the same compassion that you do others, some practical, some not. There isn’t a wrong way to show yourself that you care, as long as you keep in mind your well-being and do not indulge in self-destructive habits instead. Here are some ideas to get you started:
#1. Say positive things about yourself in the mirror. This might feel silly at first, but there is nothing wrong with looking at yourself in the mirror and saying something positive about what you see. You can start by saying something you like about yourself physically, or even something simple like, “you are a good person.”
#2. Make a checklist of your needs. When things get busy, it might get hard to remember to take care of yourself. When your day gets hectic, write a list of your needs and check them off as you complete them. This can include anything from personal hygiene to exercise to taking fifteen minutes for yourself to unwind.
#3. Make yourself your favorite healthy dish. Sometimes the best way to our hearts is through our stomachs. You could start by preparing yourself your favorite dish. Maybe it’s something that reminds you of childhood or food you like at your favorite restaurant. Start from scratch and make something delicious for yourself.
#4. Spend time with people you care about. Self-love can even be as simple as being around the people who make us feel full of life. Reach out to your friends and family and make time for them. This can be accomplished through a simple phone call or even grabbing a cup of coffee and talking about things.
While Valentine’s Day might focus on romantic love, self-love is a powerful form of love in its own right. This is especially true if you are in treatment or recovery. You might hesitate at the thought of practicing self-love. It might feel silly or indulgent saying “I love you” into the mirror, but loving yourself doesn’t need to be weird, and it isn’t selfish. You can try simple actions to put yourself and your needs first. Pour water into your glass before pouring it into others. You can’t pour an empty cup. Self-love isn’t always taught to us when we are young, especially if we’ve had to be responsible early on in life. Learning how to practice self-love takes time but is vital to your recovery journey. To learn more about how we teach self-love at Jaywalker Lodge, call us today at (866) 529-9255 and speak with one of our caring staff members.