As you go through recovery, you will put a lot of work into changing things about yourself. You change the way you sleep, the way you think, and even how you feel about certain things. Much of what you are trying to accomplish is adapting your brain to behave in different ways. You are trying to overcome addiction by correcting your behavior through conventional and alternative treatment.
However, once you leave your program and step back into the world, you may find that, while you have changed significantly, the world is still mostly the same. The same people we know are there, behaving in the same ways. The modes of operations are still there and they are not slowing down. The pressures from work, money, and social gatherings all remain. Furthermore, the images and icons around you are still there and they don’t seem to plan on leaving. This is a hard obstacle to overcome, especially for people whose mental condition is either entirely, or partially, wrapped up in their body image.
Body Image Issues
For many who struggle with how they view their bodies, they are constantly comparing themselves to others around them, especially celebrities. The way celebrities are shown to you is in a way that makes them seem like they are the “ideal” person, with the “ideal” body. When you don’t meet these unrealistic standards, you start down a perilous path that can cause you to form unhealthy thoughts and habits regarding your body.
When you go back into the world, it can still be hard for you to maintain your new mindset because these “perfect” images are still everywhere. No one went and took all the pictures down, nobody went and changed the way society views beauty. And so, while you might leave your recovery program ready to take on the world, you will be met with this old foe that brought you down in the first place. Dealing with that is a massive part of living life after recovery.
Turn Perception on Its Ear
There is a lot of work that has to go into changing how you view those images and, more importantly, how you react to them. In order to change and adapt, you will need to learn to stop using these images as something to compare yourself and how to admire them without feeling shame about yourself. The most important thing to do is to value and appreciate what you have already.
Your body may not look like the images you see, and there may be certain things that you want to change in them, but that doesn’t mean everything is wrong. The fact that you are alive and breathing shows that there are still plenty of things about your body that is working right. And that is cause for celebration and appreciation. Sure, your body is different from others, but that is okay. It is unique, and it is yours. Your body is something that no other person knows about. It is completely and entirely yours.
Celebrating Individuality by Practicing Self-Love
With that in mind, you may have different needs in recovery than other people. You need to listen to how your body responds to certain things and be sure to take into account what your body needs. If your body doesn’t like a particular exercise, don’t do it, even if other people are saying you should. Always keep your finger on the pulse of your body’s health. And be sure to shut down those negative thoughts that are racing through your brain’s pathways.
When you think badly about yourself, you will give power to those negative thoughts and make it harder for you to accept yourself. But just practicing, every now and then, the chance to tell those thoughts that they’re wrong, you can begin to change the way you think. With that kind of thinking, you can start to practice better self-love and self-care. With that, it is time to start re-evaluating your self-worth and build more confidence and appreciation for who you are as a person. Keep building up your self-esteem and let your perception of who you are change for the better.
We know that many of these things are easier said than done, and that for many of us, it will take more than just a simple decision to change things. This kind of work takes time, and it takes effort to accomplish the change. But it absolutely deserves being worked on, because you are someone absolutely worthy of being worked on.
You are, inherently, a gift and treasure, and you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. If you can put in the work to change how you see yourself, just as you did in recovery, you can continue to build up the person you were always meant to be. Improving your relationship with your body is a top priority for many people suffering from mental health disorders and substance abuse. Over the years, we may have become accustomed to feeling disconnected and distant from our own bodies. This disconnect is made worse by co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Unlearning the shame and perfectionist fixations we’ve developed takes time. For most people, this means working with professional therapists and finding the right support structure. Fortunately, True Recovery already has this in place for you. If you’re ready to change the way you live your life and think about yourself, our team is standing by. Give us a call today at (866) 399-6528.