17 Feb Loving Your Self by Sara Loughlin, LCSW
This month’s theme is “Recovery Tools that Promote Self-Love.” Addictions, unhealthy relationships, dysfunctional families, past trauma, and the like can all damage self-esteem and self-love. One of the main goals for recovery is to repair the relationship with ourselves and get to the place where we truly love ourselves. When we do, our dysfunctional patterns and critical thoughts no longer serve us and we can more easily recognize them and make different choices. There are ways we can cultivate self-love and I will go over some of my favorites here.
My top tool for promoting self-love is what we therapists call “self-care.” This is a general term for engaging in behaviors that will help you to be the healthiest you can be. Included in this is getting enough sleep (this is my biggest one – many people function on little sleep and this can have a domino effect on many other things, especially mood); eating healthy, nutritious meals; getting enough exercise (yoga, hikes, walks, the gym, etc.); making time to socialize with loved ones and friends; doing things you enjoy; and even drinking enough water throughout the day.
Another tool that is effective in promoting self-love is meditation, especially if you add in a positive affirmation. Meditation is an effective way to help to get some distance and separation from our current state, which can sometimes be a storm of negative or unwanted thoughts and feelings. I am a big believer in affirmations, especially simple ones that are personalized. Either after or during the meditation, just sit and repeat the affirmation to yourself, or just contemplate it. But if you can do this consistently, over time, it is very effective.
Other wonderful tools for promoting self-love are: going to therapy to help us work through life’s issues with support and guidance; setting appropriate boundaries with others so we can protect ourselves and our time; becoming more aware of our critical thoughts to ourselves and using techniques to stop them; setting attainable goals for ourselves and achieving them; and doing something positive for someone else. Wishing you all the best on your path to recovery and becoming a healthier, happier you – full of self-love!