Frequently, when we’ve had a challenging childhood or upbringing, we get the message that we are not worth caring for. Because parents, caregivers, or other siblings did not take good care of us, we begin to treat ourselves that way too. However, recovery requires taking good care of who you are. It requires knowing your triggers so that you don’t give into them, making healthy choices, and creating a stable life for yourself.
Taking good care of yourself may feel like a challenge. Knowing what to do to keep your life stable might feel difficult. Most recovering addicts often disregard themselves. They tend to have a low self-worth and very little self-compassion. The feelings and thoughts associated with low self-esteem frequently contribute to an addiction. The denial that anything is wrong in the addiction cycle is also the denial of self-harm and destruction.
However, turning low self self-esteem on its head and taking a stand for your life is possible! It can be difficult to do at first. One way to begin is to take good care of your surrounding environment. Tend to your home so that it’s clean and orderly. Create an environment for yourself so that your home feels nurturing , welcoming, and supportive. Make it a place that exemplifies who you are and all that you value. This might be particularly important if you’ve ever experienced homelessness. If you’re living in your own home (or even your own room within a home), you can care for it in such a way such that it exemplifies the care that you want to give to yourself. Although it might be hard to care for ourselves, we can begin by caring for our environment.
Another way to take good care of yourself is to take good care of your belongings. Do you have a guitar? A painting by someone famous? A rare book collection? Tending to your personal belongings with care can be a great lesson in learning how to care for yourself and others. It’s easy to let things age, to ignore the fact that they’re getting rattled, dusty, or broken. It’s easy to just accept that that’s the way it is. However, there’s a certain feeling that you can bring to your belongings. Similar to the way that a mother might tend to her loving children, you can provide the same care to your things.
Of course, if you are a parent, then loving your children and caring for them in the way that you were not cared for can also be a great lesson in recovery. It might take some conscious effort to bring a feeling of care and warmth into a relationship, especially if it’s not been there in the past. Yet, if you can bring these sorts of feelings into the relationships you have with your children, parents, siblings, and even with those whom you don’t know well, then it might be possible to bring care and warmth into the relationship you have with yourself.
It’s not always easy to do something we’ve never felt before. But that’s not ever stopped people achieve in the past. If you would like to learn how to love and care for yourself, start small – learn how to care for your environment, personal belongings, and relationships.
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