On Valentine’s Day, we think of love. Visions of glittering cards and red roses frequently come to mind. These thoughts can be an unpleasant experience for those without significant others. Today, let’s talk about loving yourself — the most important person you should be loving.
People with Addiction and Mental Health Issues Know About Insecurity and Low Self-Esteem
We can lack the confidence and sense of awareness necessary to prioritize our health and wellbeing. We tend to reject ourselves so much that our mental and emotional pain gets amplified. As a result, we might resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms that can exacerbate addiction and existing mental health diagnoses. We perpetuate our cycles of self-destruction when we don’t love ourselves deeply. Our recovery requires an essential ingredient: self-love.
Only When You Believe You Deserve to Be Healthy and Happy Will It Happen
We’ll always be sabotaging ourselves and self-destructive if we don’t have genuine faith in our ability to recover. We will reject the parts of ourselves that make us uncomfortable. We will feel inadequate compared to others. We’ll suffer from possessiveness and jealousy in our relationships, and we’ll never feel good enough. We’ll remain overly competitive and tend to compare ourselves to other people’s success and happiness, feeling that it is a personal attack when we lack what they possess. In short, we will always be ashamed of ourselves.
Our emotional patterns and behavioral cycles are all fed by our complexity. Our thoughts, fears of weakness, and feelings of shame all significantly impact our relationships’ quality, both internally and outwardly in our lives. We blame and judge ourselves, and we refuse to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. These unhealthy choices add up: unhealthy relationships are maintained, mistreatment occurs, and we accept toxicity and abuse in our lives. Furthermore, we also respond to others in the same manner and limit our ability to be helpful.
Self-Acceptance and Self-Love are Intimately Connected
We’re taught as a culture only to accept those parts of ourselves we’re most proud of, such as our achievements and accomplishments. We are quick to celebrate our success and hide our failures. We learn that healing depends on bringing those failures to light when we begin along the path to recovery. Psychological interventions, therapy, support groups, and 12-Step programs can help us learn to accept the whole of ourselves: the good, the bad, and the ugly. These interventions can help us move on from self-destructive or harmful behaviors that undermine our self-worth.
As we develop healthier behaviors, we begin to gain self-esteem. We start to do things that align us with our spiritual, emotional, and mental selves. As we embrace our personality, our beings, and our lives as a whole, the more we start to love ourselves. The more we learn to love ourselves, the more we learn to heal and help others do the same.