Going through the ups and downs of addiction can often wreak havoc on your sense of self-worth. People in recovery may have already struggled with self-esteem problems prior to their substance abuse and the issues simply became worse throughout the rollercoaster of their addiction.
Building up self-esteem is an important component of recovery and if you still feel unsure of yourself after leaving rehab then there are plenty of ways to regain your confidence. Although it takes to time to heal from years of poor self-image it is possible to change the way you see yourself if you work hard and focus on positivity.
Here are some helpful ways to think about and improve your self-esteem.
Focus on Taking Care of Yourself
While it may feel good to get compliments from other people, true self-esteem comes from within. For people with low self-worth they can often be their own harshest critic and their biggest bully.
Praise from others can fall on deaf ears if we don't believe that we are worthy of it. Realizing that at least to a certain extent, your self-esteem is in your own hands can help you try to take care of yourself instead of engaging in self-criticism all the time.
If you want to have stronger self-esteem, think of positive things about yourself and focus on those instead of dwelling on what you perceive to be your flaws.
Take Things Slowly and Give Yourself Time
It's important to realize that confidence doesn't suddenly appear overnight. Building up your self-esteem is a slow process that you need to take step by step. You should understand that you still might feel low for some time even if you just completed a rehab program.
Giving yourself a break and not expecting dramatic change can put things into a better perspective. Move forward slowly and understand that the journey takes time.
Eliminate Put-Downs, Distortions and Filtering
Self-criticism is unproductive and sitting with negative thoughts prevents you from taking action in recovery. Avoid putting yourself down as much as possible and try to be more active. You should also learn to recognize when you are distorting facts or filtering things into a more negative view that doesn't reflect reality. People with low self-esteem often dwell on mistakes but it is better to simply move on or take measures to remedy the situation rather than get caught in cycle of negativity.
An addict struggling with their self-esteem may find it hard to move past things they have done in the past. It can be very cathartic and healing to truly forgive yourself for anything you feel guilty or ashamed about.
Accept yourself as you are and understand that you cannot be perfect all of the time. You need to give yourself permission to move forward instead of always keeping the same shameful feelings about those past mistakes. An attitude of forgiveness is a good one to have when it comes to yourself and others.
People with low self-esteem may never feel like it is safe or appropriate to feel proud of themselves but celebrating what you achieve, no matter how small, is a big part of recovery. Setting attainable goals and achieving them can be one of the most effective ways to build up self-esteem.
Make a list of things you want to accomplish and celebrate in some small way every time you cross something off the list. Let yourself enjoy your hard work instead of feeling like whatever you do is not good enough. There are reasons to reward yourself and reaching goals helps you to feel more deserving of praise.
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