These times have asked a lot from people all around the globe — working from home, transitioning to virtual interactions, homeschooling children, and living our lives in a less convenient, more restrictive way. It can be very overwhelming, and you might not always feel up to the challenge.
Maybe you have yet to rise to the occasion because you view yourself as someone who cannot endure such times. You might believe that you do not deserve to endure because you have not motivated yourself to adapt. If you are struggling and further isolating yourself, then it’s time to practice some compassion — not just for others, but for yourself.
Sometimes, you might define yourself based on your first reactions. For example, if your first instinct is to run from any hint of adversity, you then create a narrative based on that reaction. Often, the narrative is negative — you are scared, incapable, or a failure. It is this kind of rationalization that skews the truth, masking your true potential. Feelings and reactions are fleeting. They are the result of how you are processing the situation at the moment — but they should not dictate the outcome before you even try
seeking a resolution.
Self-compassion begins from within. Having self-compassion is a great way to reaffirm that you are worthy of love and support from others and that you are capable of success. It combats the self-isolation, loneliness, and shame that come from not allowing yourself to make a mistake. It also helps you take personal responsibility, so you can learn from your mistakes.
What Compassion Isn’t
Compassion is not a means to justify using drugs or drinking alcohol. Cravings that lead to negative behaviors are more in line with self-indulgence rather than self-compassion. Self-indulgence causes you to act on whims and choose to participate in activities that harm your recovery.
Empty pleasure can only result in lasting displeasure. Alcohol and drug use are never an option to cope with how you are feeling. If you are unsure, simply ask yourself before every action whether it will promote lasting happiness and health. If so, then you are exercising self-compassion. If not, then you must correct your actions.
Compassion and Self Esteem
Self-esteem is circumstantial and based on the scenario. While maintaining good self-esteem is important, it is normal to feel uncertain during challenging times. Compassion is always abundant and can be a great tool when you are lacking the self-esteem needed to endure. Compassion can survive the highs and lows of recovery, and now maybe more than ever, it can help keep you motivated and thinking rationally.
Unlike self-esteem, self-compassion will never make you second-guess or feel sorry for yourself. Instead, it creates more openness to recognize your mistakes and go about correcting them — whether that means taking a whole new approach or focusing on where your strengths are.
Care for Yourself
How you would approach the needs of a friend who has encountered a distressing problem is how you should approach yourself. Sometimes you might think that you deal with pain differently, but what you are really doing is ignoring your pain. The conscious and subconscious damage this creates can lead to making irrational choices later on.
Abandoning yourself in times of need promotes isolation and self-doubt. Would you tell a friend to deny their problems and go about their day? Of course not, because that would be insensitive. Therefore, be sensitive to what you are feeling by being a friend to yourself.
Rely on Your Support Team
Despite having to communicate using alternative methods, it’s important to never lose touch. Social detachment does not mean emotional detachment. Connecting with others and sharing how you feel strengthens your bond with friends and yourself — to know that you are not alone in feeling the way you do. It can also be motivating to hear how a friend has overcome their obstacles.
It was hard to go it alone before the restrictions, so why would it somehow become easier after the pandemic changed our lives? Participate in social endeavors outside of your meetings, such as email, text, video chat, and even video games. Stay in contact — these are your friends and you deserve them in your life as much as they deserve you in theirs.
Be Mindful of Your Inner Critic
Since it might be hard to concentrate with so many fleeting thoughts, try to sit with them. Listen to them and identify what your inner critic is saying. Just as you would mind your manners around others, mind them around yourself. Catch your inner critic in the act and choose not to express what this critic wants to say. Instead, try affirmation — you are human and you are allowed to make mistakes.
You might meditate to further reinforce these thoughts by using a repetitious mantra or positive affirmation. For example, I will be healthy, I will be happy and I will overcome. Wish yourself and others well to promote inner peace and acceptance. Become a person that you want to hold more accountable, and continue to practice gratitude. Like life, recovery is always a work in progress. Maintain a clear mind and approach challenges with the notion of finding where the positives can come from these challenges. This all starts with having compassion for yourself.
If your opinion of yourself is holding you back and keeping you from achieving the full potential of your recovery, we can help. True Recovery offers 24/7 care that is designed to set you on the path to recovery with the tools you need to succeed. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.