Finding Self Worth
Finding self worth and building confidence is often a necessary step to recovery from addiction. In fact, one of the underlying factors to addiction is not having enough self-esteem. If there were self-esteem you might not have made the choice to hurt your body or brain through drinking or drug use.
Self esteem can help us make healthy choices, create a vision for our life, and be the drive for continuing to reach toward that vision.
Why Good Self-Esteem Is So Important For Recovery
Self esteem could be described as having confidence in oneself. It’s having confidence in your abilities and having respect for who you are inside and out. Yet, there are so many factors that can contribute to having a low self esteem, especially during a struggle with addiction. For instance, addiction might lead to the loss of employment, end of a relationship, loss of your children, or even severe physical concerns. All of these can eat away at one’s self-confidence.
Furthermore, those who do not have a high self esteem can be vulnerable to mental illness, such as depression or anxiety.
However, recovery is an opportunity to change all that. Recovery is the prime time to focus on repairing the way you feel about yourself, which in turn will help you reach your goals.
Strengthen Your Self-Worth and Build Confidence
- Explore the beliefs you have about yourself. Sometimes, if a person has experienced trauma or a difficult childhood, then it’s easy to develop certain beliefs about oneself, such as being unlovable or unworthy. Those deep seated beliefs can continue to play a role in your life, especially if they exist without you really identifying them. In fact, these beliefs can continue to drive relapse and self-sabotage in recovery if not changed.
- Dig deeper than contingent self worth. It’s common for parents to reward their children based upon behavior. If they’ve done well, a child gets a reward. And if a child behaves badly, they are given a consequence. However, this can create contingent self-worth. According to Carol Dweck, author of Self-Theories, contingent self-worth is described in this way:
“When people have a sense of contingent self-worth, they feel like worthy people only when they have succeeded, and they feel deficient or worthless when they fail.”
If you want to strengthen your contingent self worth, get to know your strengths. Knowing what your strengths are can add to a sense of feeling good about yourself. And this means not only behavioral strengths, such as being a good cook, but also intrinsic strengths, such as having resilience, perseverance, and a loving heart.
- Be honest with yourself. If you’ve been in recovery for awhile, you might already know that honesty is the best medicine for addiction. Since denial contributes heavily to addiction, being honest can completely turn life around.
- Trust your own feelings. This is hard to do when you might have been taught in childhood that your feelings are not worth trusting. Often, we are taught to trust reason and logic instead. However, feelings are a certain kind of intelligence that can lead to building self-trust that in turn can boost self-confidence.
These are suggestions for rebuilding the way you feel about yourself. Keep in mind too that as you continue to reach your goals and achieve them, your self confidence will only improve.
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