Five Ways To Be Kinder to Yourself
Kindness is the simplest of ways to show another human being that you care. Some of us find it quite easy to be kind to another person. But being kind and loving to one’s self? Well, that’s a different matter.
For many people who have battled a substance misuse problem, they have lost the whole concept of being kind towards themselves. When entering recovery, addicts need to learn and practice self-care, self-love and self-kindness.
So, how do we learn to be kind towards ourselves? Below, we have five ways to practice a kinder life to yourself.
“You’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
— Louise L. Hay
Each morning when you wake up, cut the negative self-talk. Instead of telling yourself you’re not good enough, change it to sentences or words like: “I am enough”, or instead of telling yourself that you can’t do or achieve something, tell yourself: “I can, and I will!”
Starting the day with positive affirmations – particularly short, repetitive affirmations – sets a good intention can brighten your mood, focus and positivity.
What about starting with something like these?
- I choose to stop apologising for being me.
- I am not my mistakes.
- The only approval I’ll ever need is mine.
- I deserve all that is good.
- The universe is conspiring to help me succeed.
- Self-love comes to me with ease.
- I deserve love and respect.
- I am strong and capable.
- My heart is full of love for who I am.
- Life is tough sometimes, but so am I.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
― Henry Ford
This practice is a long way from the alcoholic who sits behind the curtain drinking all day. Or, the opiate addict who’s tied to a chemist every day, picking up a methadone prescription in order to feel well enough to go about their day.
According to Healthline website, aromatherapy is a holistic “treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being”. Sometimes it’s called essential oil therapy. We beleive aromatherapy can really provide a sense of freedom. By using essential oils on your palm, temples and wrists, the scents and aromas from the oils touches a deep part of your brain and physiology that can help you to unwind and relax. A hot bath with some scented candles is a fantastic way to remove the day’s stresses.
“Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.”
— The Quran
Humans are the only creatures that get punished again and again for doing the same thing wrong. And that punishment comes from within. We don’t tell a puppy off next week, if it had an accident on the carpet last week, do we? Being unforgiving to self is exclusively human, and for addiction recovery, self-forgiveness is critical,
We tend to forgive others for the things they do – if not immediately, we do over time if we have good recovery. And, if we don’t or can’t forgive right away, at least we show acceptance and move on. We let go of resentment. Why not let go of resentment we have with ourselves? How about now learning to forgive you? You can do this by just being a bit gentler with yourself.
People in addiction find themselves doing things they wouldn’t dream of doing clean and sober. Perhaps, remind yourself you weren’t very well. Tell yourself you suffer with an illness that is fuelled by an obsession and compulsion of the mind. Once, in recovery, you are no longer that person.
Helping others this is a great way to free yourself from any guilt you may be carrying around, and by doing things for other people you can’t be worrying about yourself!
“The only person we have the right or the power to forgive is ourselves. For everything else, there is the Art of Acceptance.”
― Rebecca O’Dwyer
Recovery means regaining what has been lost, restoring yourself to what you were before you picked up a substance. Addiction recovery also requires growth. Anything that doesn’t grow tends to die. Right now is the best time to find yourself again, and perhaps a new self. Start doing the things you once loved and explore new possibilities and ideas. Recovery is an on-going process; there is adventure to be found in every new day.
- Reading, if not novels, then self help books
- Writing. Keep a journal writing positive things
- Walking. Listen to music or appreciate nature
- Swimming. A great exercise that can only bring positives.
- Listen to new music. What about the odd classical piece or a local band.
- Try new foods. Gathering, preparing and cooking food is one of the most therapeutic things you can do.
- Visit new places. Open your eyes and your mind. There’s a whole world out there!
“Work is my hobby, staying sober is my job.”
― Christian Slater
Take Time Out
Stop. Just stop. Stop what you’re doing and breathe. Let go of any judgement and take in the world around you. Mindfulness it’s called. Be present in the moment with yourself. Sit on a bench for 10 minutes on your way home. Turn your mobile phone off. How does your body feel? What can you hear? What can you feel on your skin – the wind, your clothes? How does that fabric feel against your skin? Relax into your breath. Mindfulness is a powerful way to be kind to yourself.
“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.”
– Thích Nhất Hạnh
Short Video: Mindfulness For Busy People
It’s ok to be kind to yourself. And by being kinder, you’re also starting to show yourself love. Surely, that’s worth doing?
References and further help:
If you need any advice on addiction recovery, need drug and alcohol rehab advice for yourself or a loved, please get in touch by calling 0800 170 1222 or complete our contact form.