Much of recovery is an inside job, one that can be difficult when our relationship with ourselves is on rocky terms. Maybe you didn’t get the job you wanted, friends made plans without you, you felt awkward in a conversation, or you made a mistake and it is all you can think about—life can leave us in situations where we feel that we are not meeting our own standards. Having a plan to get through times of feeling “less than” can be a key part of recovery.
Here are some strategies that might help in such moments:
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” -C.S. Lewis
Remind yourself that you are a human among humans and we all have the right to feel feelings, make mistakes, and learn lessons. A humble person is neither perfect nor terrible. This may be a great opportunity to practice using balanced statements of affirmation. Confused about what that means? Here is a great example: 101 Louise Hay Affrimations
Stop shaming with “shoulds”
“Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame” -Brene Brown
How many “should” statements show up in your head? “I should be smarter, healthier, funnier, calmer, better”….etc. When we tell ourselves that we should be different, we tell ourselves that we do not measure up today. Try changing the way you talk to yourself. Statements such as “I want to be”, “I am working on”, and “I’m moving toward” can be helpful.
Practice catching yourself every time you say “should” and work on saying it a different way.
“If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path” -Buddha
Sometimes getting outside of our own head and helping someone else is a great way to turn off the negative chatter. You do not need to start a non-profit. Rather, start small and simply: hold the door for someone, call a friend to see how they are doing, write a thank you note, offer some assistance with a project. Small acts of kindness add up. Be mindful of not going overboard and wearing yourself out. Remember: We give from our excess, not from our reserve.
Engage in Esteemable Acts
“My Self Esteem is High Because I Honor Who I Am” -Louise Hay
It may sound simple: we build self-esteem through esteemable acts. When our actions do not align with our values, we often do not feel “good enough”. Try taking small actions that are in line with what you value.
Here are a few suggestions. Feel free to get creative!
Show appreciation to those around you.
Own your mistakes and commit to setting things right.
Teach someone something.
Learn from someone else.
Follow through on commitments
Do not commit to things that you cannot follow through on.
Some days these practices may be easier than others. Give yourself some grace! Remember that trying something new generally feels strange at first. Do not be afraid to challenge yourself and push a little beyond your comfort zone in the name of emotional growth and resilience.