Making mistakes, experiencing emotional pain, and going through suffering are inevitable aspects of life. Many people consider these experiences valuable for creating balance in life, such as believing that you can’t have positives without having negatives.
Following chronic substance use and addiction, recovery helps individuals bring back a sense of positive well-being. One of the many ways that treatment centers do this is through holistic methods, such as mindfulness interventions.
Mindfulness encompasses intentional awareness of the present moment. Several factors play into mindfulness, including acceptance, non-judgment, gratitude, and patience. One critical factor of mindfulness that is often overlooked is self-compassion, an essential trait for anyone seeking peace and clarity in their lives, especially for those in recovery.
What Is Self-Compassion?
In broad terms, self-compassion is compassion turned inward. Consider the relationship that you have with your closest loved one. When they achieve something in life, you are their top cheerleader. When they seek emotional support, you are ready to give it to them unconditionally. Self-compassion is being able to show the same love and empathy you offer to others to yourself.
Compassion is viewed as an umbrella term synonymous with several other words. These may include:
It is typical for individuals that are good at showing compassion towards others to experience difficulty with being compassionate towards themselves. This is because true self-compassion can encourage you to face painful memories and events that may have harmed you in the past. It is much easier to show kindness towards someone going through something that you have never experienced first-hand, or in quite some time, than showing kindness yourself for going through any kind of distress.
Why Is Self-Compassion Important?
Living without compassion for yourself may work for a while; however, it will create significant mental distress for you in the long run. This is because, at some point, the unresolved trauma and struggles will catch up to you. Recovery without self-compassion increases the likelihood of relapse.
There are a number of major benefits that come from self-compassion, including:
- Increasing motivation
- Improving self-confidence
- Enhancing self-worth
- Reducing anxiety
- Fostering resilience
- Increasing wisdom
- Increasing curiosity and exploration
- Enhancing relationships
- Decreasing feelings of loneliness
- Increasing overall mindfulness
It is normal for people to experience a voice inside their head from time to time telling them that they are not good enough or not worthy. Criticism is actually a quick self-defense mechanism when we perceive physical and psychological danger or mental distress. We must work to change the unconscious patterns of behavior, such as identifying with these voices and increase our experience of self-compassion.
Self-Compassion During the Recovery Process
For many, recovery is one of the most transformative experiences that a person can go through in life. It takes patience and courage to move away from repeated behavior, especially when it offers temporary pleasure, even when it may be toxic.
Treatment for substance use and addiction will help an individual do more than become sober. Effective treatment teaches how to recognize strengths through valuable skills that challenge and alter harmful behavior. Treatment must focus on identifying the root cause of an individual’s substance use or addiction and work to fix the root problem.
Self-compassion in recovery isn’t necessarily about using kind words; having self-compassion helps you recognize that everyone is personally responsible for advocating for a happier and more enjoyable life for themselves. It means understanding that everyone makes mistakes, no matter how severe or life-altering. It is no longer judging others or judging yourself for your past, but rather working to provide solutions and support for yourself as you create a new life.
Ways to Increase Self-Compassion in Recovery
Although it is challenging, you must work to increase self-compassion for yourself and your recovery. It will serve as a protective factor against relapse and a reminder that life will always have its ups and downs. Learn how to be a friend to yourself so that you can feel empowered and motivated about your future.
There are several ways that you can actively work to increase self-compassion in recovery, such as:
- Recognizing mistakes for what they are, working to fix them, and then letting them go
- Be present in the moment. Try to focus less on what is wrong with the “here and now” and focus on things that you are grateful for
- Choosing to focus on how far you have come rather than focusing on where you need to go
- Using kind language towards yourself when you struggle, just as you do towards others
- Using affirmations and other encouraging words towards yourself
Effective treatment for substance use and addiction must teach the importance of self-compassion. In recovery, self-compassion encourages accepting that everyone makes mistakes and goes through inevitable struggles in life. Although you may regret the consequences of your substance use, you deserve self-forgiveness as you work to establish long-term recovery for yourself. In order to heal, you need to give yourself grace. West Coast Recovery Centers is a mental health and addiction treatment center that recognizes how valuable mindfulness factors are in recovery, especially self-compassion. We offer both traditional therapy interventions and holistic treatment methods that effectively complement the recovery process in many ways. Our holistic treatments help foster acceptance and non-judgment during treatment and well after, which are critical traits in the healing process. To learn more about the importance of self-compassion or other mindfulness techniques, or to learn more about our treatment center, give us a call today at (760) 492-6509.