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Developing Self-Care In Recovery Part Two: How To Develop Self-Love

As we discussed in our previous alumni blog, the lessons we learn about our ability to be loved by others and by ourselves often come from trauma. Part of our process in trauma treatment is discovering the source, or sources, of our suffering.

First, Discover Where You Learned Not To Love Yourself

For some of us, identifying trauma is easy because it is readily apparent. For others of us, identifying trauma takes time, excavation, and therapy to identify. Once we have figured out our sources of shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorder, and other manifestations, we start the work of healing. Through the healing process, we discover more clues as to the lessons we learned which taught us not to love ourselves or that we are not deserving of loving ourselves. The more that we learn, the more aware that we become, and the better prepared we are to take on the lifelong challenge of self-love in our life-long commitment to trauma recovery.

Second, Discover What Makes You Feel Loved

In our modern view of love, love typically comes from someone else. We’re given much instruction on how to decide what we want from other people, how to get that love from other people, and how to keep that love from other people. Yet, we aren’t often given guidance on how to discover, create, and keep that love for ourselves. Especially for those of us who manifested addictions and harmful behaviors as a response to trauma, we’ve created forms of “loving ourselves” that were really methods of protecting ourselves- which really became ways to hurt ourselves. The best ideas and best approaches we had to take care of ourselves didn’t work. As we gave up our vices in treatment and recovery, we found more blank spaces to fill when it came to how we needed to make ourselves feel loved, cared for, and fulfilled.

The experience of trauma treatment and recovery help us start to discover the little things which make us feel better in our relationship with ourselves. We discover, what might be the first time, what we like and don’t like, what feels good and doesn’t feel good, what elates us and what doesn’t. Along the way, we find the little ways we feel most connected with ourselves. Then, the journey digs a little deeper.

Self-Love Is More Than Self-Care

Self-care is a buzzword the last few years, and with good cause. We are living in a stressed out world and people need to catch a break. Every now and then, we need to jump off the treadmill of life and tune into something more intimate, like our inner relationship with ourselves. Self-love isn’t about the activities we do to de-stress and reconnect with ourselves. Loving ourselves is not something that we do. Loving ourselves is a way that we are. When we are in self-love, we are in self-love.

Everything that we do can stem from self-love if that has become a foundation for our life. When self-love is a foundation for our life, we live our lives differently. We don’t just occasionally participate in activities that we love. We live from a foundation of love because we have recognized, universally, that we are love and that we are capable of loving ourselves; that we are deserving of love and deserve to love ourselves.

How To Find Self-Love

To change our ideas of self-love we have to start loving ourselves. It is as confusing as it sounds. If we don’t know how to love ourselves, how do we begin? We can start by idealizing the ways we would want someone else to love us and event take a look at the way that we love others. Slowly, we start to say the things to ourselves we need to hear. We start to think about ourselves the way that we hope others think about us. We do the things for ourselves that we need done from our hygiene to our recovery, from our morning rituals to our exercise, to cooking healthy meals to giving ourselves the occasional treat. We build habits and routines which build our self-esteem, validate our self-worth, and allow us to treat ourselves well.

Keeping Self-Love

Loving ourselves in a new way is awkward at worst but transformative at best. Like any new habit in life, it takes time, dedication, and practice to learn how to do something so deeply inherent to our existence. Just like our recovery, happiness, and wellbeing, self-love takes discipline and focus, as well as a tremendous amount of patience. The patience is worth it, as is every other part of the journey. We’re worth it. We’re worth our love, we’re worth our devotion, and we’re worth living a life of recovery from trauma.

When you graduate trauma treatment, the rubber meets the road, as it is said. To live successfully in recovery from trauma, addictions, or related mental health issues, we need the care and professionalism of an experienced, specialized staff who provide us excellence in treatment. Our alumni learn how to thrive in their lives not in spite of trauma, but because of it. We’re always here to welcome those in need of help at The Guest House Ocala. Call us today for information and resources: 1-855-483-7800