Self-love in recovery can be a challenge, but it’s part of the process of overcoming all the complicated self-esteem hurdles that can come with the early stages of recovery. Before you can love anyone else, you have to truly love yourself!
1. Look in the mirror, honestly. Not just when you’re looking and feeling your best, but when you first wake up, before you’ve gotten dressed, in all your must vulnerable moments. To get confident with what you truly look like, start appreciating all the ways in which you are naturally perfect. Maybe your eyes are an amazing colour? Perhaps you’ve got an awesome dancing booty? Whatever you look like, start acknowledging and appreciating that you look great, just the way you are.
2. Let go of shame. When you’ve made mistakes, do what you can to correct them, and move on. If you find you’re making the same type of mistake repeatedly, try to figure out why you’re doing it, but the same way you would forgive somebody else, forgive yourself. And remember that a lot of mistakes are also a chance to learn; what can you do better next time?
3. Pay attention when you do something you’re proud of. Acknowledge the moments you catch yourself doing the right thing for yourself or for others, and recognize that being a good person is part of who you are. You’re the kind of person who holds doors for others, who eats healthily, who volunteers, whatever!
4. On that note, volunteer! Spending some time focusing on other people and their needs is a great way to get some perspective and take a break from working on your own recovery. When you’re done, you’ve got one more thing to pat yourself on the back for.
5. Practice self care. Doing little things to take care of yourself every day is a great way to build a habit of treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated. For example, you might want to get in a quick workout every day, drink a certain amount of water, eat a proper breakfast, or sleep a minimum number of hours. While you’re still building these habits, use a habit tracker app to monitor your progress.
6. Celebrate your successes! Whenever you achieve something special or unusual, make a point of celebrating in some way. Did you push yourself to go rock climbing when you were pretty sure you’d be terrified the whole time? Did you pay off a credit card or finish a course or get a new job, or meet some other personal goal? Tell a friend about your accomplishment, and let them shower you with praise! However you choose to celebrate, be sure to also add your achievement to a list of reasons you’re awesome.