Lack of Self-Love in Addiction
A lack of self-love in addiction is very common. But how do you know if you have a lack of self-love? Many times addicts don’t realize that they have a lack of self-love because they are so comfortable with their negative thoughts, perception, and degrading self-talk. Addiction causes many people to go against what they know is right and this can cause a lot of inner turmoil and hate. They do things that create guilt and shame within themselves and begin to dislike themselves. When this happens addicts can also begin to think they aren’t even worthy of love due to all the harm they are causing around them, as well as the fact that they can’t stop hurting themselves and others even when they want to. They may think of themselves as inherently bad or evil.
So what is self-love?
Self-love is not the vain love of egoism and narcissism that many people mistake it with. Self-love isn’t a preoccupation with one’s self and a general disregard for other. Self-love also isn’t the same as the love you would have family and friends or the love of art, travel, or music. Self-love is a kind of acceptance and unconditional sense of support and caring as well as a core of compassion towards yourself. It is the willingness to meet your own needs; allowing yourself to feel and thinking whatever you feel and think without judgment and to also see yourself as worthy, good, valuable and belonging in the world; deserving of happiness.
Struggling to develop self-love after addiction
For addicts with a lack of self-love, gaining self-love can seem like an impossible task. No matter how hard they try, no matter how many times they hear how good they are from others they just can’t believe it. Someone will tell them how amazing are and their head will be say to them, if you knew who I really was you wouldn’t say that. Addicts may be able to convince themselves in their mind that they love themselves but they don’t feel it in their body or soul. What they feel instead deep down may be shame, despair, anxiety, self-doubt, anger, confusion and anything but love, happiness and peace.
How to develop self-love
Luckily there are ways for anyone including addicts with a lack of self-love to begin to develop self-love as part of their recovery from addiction. Some simple ways to develop self-love without the use of professional help are thing such as positive affirmations, watching thoughts, and doing positive things for themselves such as yoga, working out, taking care of their bodies etc. Unfortunately a lack of self-love in addiction can be deep rooted and will need professional help to develop. Most addicts are unable to love themselves because they have a distorted thought process. With cognitive behavioral therapies they can focus on correcting their distorted thoughts and this can improve a person’s ability to love them and develop compassion. A good therapist can sort out what the lack of self-love is from and begin to help the addict change that.