Self Acceptance and self esteem are necessary for long-lasting healthy recovery
If you think self acceptance isn’t important, you are incorrect on this one. For one to live a long, healthy, happy recovery life, both self acceptance and self esteem are needed. We’ll talk about self esteem in another article, in this one we’re focused on self acceptance. To begin, it’s not out of reach and we’re going to go over ways to help nurture the acceptance factor. And just a reminder of why it is so important – us recovering humans need a new shift in perspective about ourselves when we come into recovery. The guilt and shame about the past won’t do for a new sense of self or new pair of glasses. Also, two of the 7 habits of highly emotionally successful people are learning how to find meaning in pain and trauma and gaining control after failure. But let’s back up and define self acceptance.
Self-acceptance is the ability to see oneself as a whole person with virtues and flaws. It involves valuing the self regardless of accomplishment or failure. It is the ability to effectively learn from mistakes, rather than allowing them to internally disrupt psychological wellbeing.
The ability to accept yourself is essentially permitting yourself to be human. None of us is great at all things. None of us is terrible at all of them, either. Accepting what is, and not rating or self-punishing, is a piece of emotional resilience that will improve wellbeing across ages, cultures, and genders.Positive Psychology
You see, people who don’t accept themselves will run into problems eventually. Whether they manifest as physical, emotional, addiction, depression, a secret life, whatever, they will haunt and can destroy. Also, Positive Psychology suggests that positive regard for yourself is essential for personal development, mental health, and goal-reaching. Beyond that, how many people have you known over the years who battled their demons and you could see how demoralized they become over the years only to drift lower and lower? Then, on the other side, there are those who do the recovery work and you’re shocked to see how they rise. Finally, self-acceptance is the key to healthy self-esteem and healthy interpersonal relationships.
Being that self-acceptance is so radically important, how do you find it if you’ve suffered esteem-bruising events such as trauma, addiction, mental illness, or abuse? And, how do you feel good about yourself when you have troubled family members or people around you who don’t treat you well? Often as people in recovery with a past, we’re not starting at the same place as other others. People who had healthy, well-adjusted supportive families raising them or a clean past devoid of crime, bad judgment, immorality, and God knows what else.
Here are 5 ways to find self acceptance
Process any trauma or bad behavior that still haunts you
Sometimes it’s easier to believe if you don’t think about something, it will go away. You may stop thinking about it with time, but it will live like cancer inside you and the misery and destruction will manifest themselves in other ways eventually. There are amazing trauma treatments out there like EMDR, Havening, and a host of other therapies to look into with a professional. 12-step programs have a process with the steps that can be quite cathartic if you like 12-step and trust someone to take you through the steps. But, take the time to heal your past traumas because they might be preventing you from having the relationship with yourself, and others, that you really want.
Learn to love yourself
Like Mama Ru says, “How are you ever going to love someone else if you don’t love yourself first?” Date yourself, meaning take yourself on all the fun dates you hope you get to go on. Find self-care routines you like and maintain them for at least 3-6 months. Try affirmations and self-love meditations. I suggest these things because somewhere along the way I had to do them and they all helped. Buy yourself flowers once a week, if that’s your thing. Do some research and take the time to lose weight or put down the bottle if that’s your demon. Learn how to stop harming yourself and start loving yourself. Pets can be wonderful when it comes to learning to love again. A sponsor once told me, “Dogs open your heart chakra.”
Use Positive Psychology to Invite/Find Self Acceptance
When I got serious about changing my thinking, my therapist had me read, “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Anchor. There are basic activities and tools to learn that will help transform your brain from being negatively focused to positively focused. How do I know? Again, I did it. Whether you use gratitude lists, journaling, affirmations, or any other technique that’s focused on positive psychology, you will see results if you continue the practice for 3-6 months.
Get clarity on what you want
Another trick I was taught was to sit and write out all my hopes, dreams, and wishes. It was a painful activity for me the first time I tried. It made me realize I’d been so beaten down by the concept of past failures, I was afraid to even put down in black and white what I wanted. Once I knew what I wanted, I had to acknowledge that I had some of it already. For the rest, I made action plans for how to achieve. Once I began to feel good about my life and what I was working towards, it took the highlight off the past. You can also, learn more from LifeHacker Guy and derive tips and recommendations on he managed to bounce back from failures due to bad habits and poor past decisions, and how he is now enjoying the reaps of his actions and achievements.
Live according to the four agreements
Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, never make assumptions, and always do your best. These are principles to live by that work. They take practice to get used to. My experience is, none of this is easy at first, but with time it all became second nature. Not to say, I don’t get offended when someone says something that hurts my feelings or I don’t make assumptions, but I’ve learned to pause and think it through. Run it by someone who has good advice to confirm what’s going on in my head is real.
Finding self-acceptance takes time and effort. But, for me, it was one of the main ingredients to figuring out what I want and how to be happy. It’s impossible to live a fulfilled life when you’re unsure of what you want and how you feel about yourself. Basically, the work is worth it.
Check out my book 100 Tips For Growing Up
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