How to Build Confidence in Recovery
Self-esteem is the “feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities; a confidence and satisfaction in oneself.” Although subjective, self-esteem is a value that only the individual can define from within themselves. People with high self-esteem hold themselves in high value; people with low self-esteem often feel inferior or unworthy. Building self-esteem is important for everyone, but especially for those going through recovery. People with low self-esteem can be harsh on themselves and feelings of inadequacy often mean they’ll tolerate abusive relationships. People who have too much self-esteem often displays signs of selfishness, entitlement and tend to ignore how their behavior impacts others. Self-esteem is learned throughout one’s life experiences. These include childhood experiences, personal successes, failures, and how we have been treated by family, friends, peers, coaches, teachers and anyone else within our peer group. The University of Texas at Austin lists experiences that can contribute to healthy self-esteem, including:
- Being spoken to respectfully.
- Getting appropriate attention.
- Being listened to.
- Having achievements recognized and mistakes acknowledged and accepted.
Experiences that may lead to low self-esteem include:
- Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.
- Harsh criticism.
- Being ignored, teased, or ridiculed.
- Being expected to be perfect or avoid failure.
It’s important to find the right balance. As you probably guessed, recovery is directly linked to self-esteem. How? Addiction tends to rob people of their self-esteem. When a person is using or drinking, it’s extremely difficult to feel good about themselves. This underlying condition can resurface time and time again and act as a powerful trigger. In fact, some people were led to addiction or drinking because of their low self-esteem. Drug or alcohol abuse can become a crutch to some people. The result is that self-esteem plummets further and the addiction can grow worse. This is why learning how to build confidence in recovery is so important. For some people, alcohol or substance abuse can cause people to completely ignore their self-esteem. Although drugs give a temporary and false sense of confidence, a person in recovery often sees their self-esteem falling to new lows. Eventually, once the decision to get sober has been made, issues with self-esteem must be addressed. Low self-esteem in recovery can affect the ability to find inner happiness. Without inner happiness, the temptation to return to addiction will continue to resurface. [contact-form-7 id=”27″ title=”Contact form 1″]
Tips for Building Self-esteem in Recovery
Building self-esteem will be a process and it won’t happen overnight. Sticking to the steps of recovery is the best way to help change how you feel about yourself and better your self-esteem. Let’s look at how to build confidence in recovery:
Greater Awareness of Your Thoughts and Beliefs
Once you’ve gone through Rehab or detox, your mind is clearer. As you progress through a sober living program, you’ll at last be able to get in touch with who you really are. A little spoiler here: you’re not perfect. No one is. You’ll want to spend time learning about yourself, maybe even try practicing rituals like meditation. By avoiding negative thoughts and focusing on discovering what brings you joy or pleasure, you may find that you’re now a very different person. This can be especially exciting as you discover that you are still a blank canvas and have the freedom to shape your new persona.
Dwelling on mistakes or your past is unhealthy. Being in recovery means that you are acknowledging your past, but you’ve moved on. The new you is someone that deserves to be happy. Pursue what makes you happy, whether it’s a new place to live, new friends, new activities or even new hobbies.
Take Care of Yourself
Since physical and mental health are tied closely together, it’s important to eat healthy and to engage in more physical activities. Exercise is a great way to occupy your time and help build a stronger body. Be sure to balance this with rest and rejuvenation.
Avoid Risky Environments
When it comes to building self-esteem, avoiding trigger places and scenarios is important. You must first understand what your personal triggers are and then take action to ensure you’re not exposed to these triggers. This may mean finding a new batch of friends, moving from your city and changing your weekend activities. No one’s suggesting you stop watching football, but common senses dictates that you don’t watch at a location where you used to drink or abuse.
Self-Forgiveness and Encouragement
One of the best ways to build confidence in recovery is recognize the importance of forgiveness. Humans have flaws and we’ll never be perfect. We must learn to forgive ourselves and others so that peace and serenity are possible. Positive changes can be made and encouragement is the first step. Self-esteem is not a fixed part of an individual’s personality. A person can increase their own sense of self-worth. All this requires is a bit of effort. If you’re wondering how to build confidence in recovery, here are some ways people can increase their own self-esteem: * Helping other people in recovery can be a wonderful way to increase self-esteem. This gives people the sense that they are of value because they are contributing to a cause. It also moves the focus away from themselves and onto other people. * It is a good idea to look out for any should statements that arise in the mind. These are often just a way for the individual to beat themselves up. The individual needs to learn to give themselves a break. So long as they are trying their best, they are doing all that is necessary. Nobody is able to give 100 percent all the time. * In AA they say that sometimes you have to fake it to make it. This means that people can deliberately make themselves have positive thoughts. In the beginning, this might all feel a bit unnatural, but it eventually becomes automatic. It is just like any other habit that people can develop. * When building self-esteem, individuals should begin to monitor their negative thoughts and challenge them. For example, if they believe that another person does not like them, they can ask themselves how they know this. Has that other person actually done something that proves this belief? Is this assumption based on attempts at mind reading? It is probably not possible to know what other people think, so there is no point in assuming the worst. By constantly challenging their negative thoughts, the individual is able to deal with them better. * It is important for the individual to accept that nobody is perfect. If they become more willing to forgive the failings in other people it will make it easier for them to forgive their own failings. * Metta (loving kindness) meditation is a wonderful technique for building self-esteem. It involved deliberately cultivating love for other people. In order to develop this sense of loving kindness, the individual has to first accept who they are and place a high value on this. Mindfulness meditation can also be a good way of monitoring the negative thinking that causes low self-esteem. * A gratitude journal is a good way to focus on the positives in life. This involves writing about all the good things in life. There will always be positive things to appreciate for those who are prepared to look. By focusing on being deliberately grateful, a person will develop the habit of doing so naturally. [cta id=’269′]
The Benefits of High Self-Esteem
Building self-esteem can have a profound impact on a person’s life. These are some of the benefits: * Such individuals will tend to have a positive view on life. It is generally accepted that those who are optimistic find life easier to manage. * Somebody with high self-esteem will feel that they deserve to feel good and enjoy life. Those with low self-esteem can sabotage their own attempts to find happiness because they do not really feel they deserve it. * People with high self-esteem have less need to try and escape reality. This means that alcohol and drugs are not such an attractive proposition. People who value themselves will not easily fall prey to addiction. * These individuals will tend to avoid interpersonal conflicts. They are happy with their own life, so there is less need to showboat or fight for attention. * When people value themselves, they can be of more use to other people.