For women just coming into recovery, there are many hurdles to overcome. The cravings, the sleeplessness. Learning a new routine and learning to live life without using substances. Most people come away from addiction with severe self-esteem and self-worth issues. These can make it difficult to move forward with your life.
From day one of recovery, you’ll begin the process of rebuilding self-esteem and self-worth. And it is a process. As you experience each day of staying sober and learning a new way of life, you will begin to feel better about yourself. Each time you meet and overcome a challenge, your self-esteem and confidence will grow. There are things you can do to speed this process along.
The Impact Of Negative Self-Talk
One thing that will continue bringing you down no matter how hard you are working is negative self-talk. This takes many forms. If you find yourself saying negative things about yourself during the day, which many of us do, that is negative self-talk. Saying things out loud, or to yourself such as:
“All I ever do is screw up”
“I ruin everything”
“I’ll never amount to anything”
These are a few examples of negative self-talk. It’s a poisonous habit that often starts in childhood. It’s damaging and keeps you from building self-esteem.
The Opposite Of Negative Self-Talk: Positive Affirmations
Affirmations are positive self-talk. You have no doubt heard of them. Positive affirmations can cover everything from telling yourself “I love you” to other statements such as:
“I am smart”
“I am loveable”
“I am capable”
“I make good decisions”
Why Are Positive Affirmations So Uncomfortable?
If you find yourself cringing when you try to look in the mirror and tell yourself “I love you” then you aren’t alone. One of the biggest reasons why people don’t practice positive affirmations is the intense discomfort associated with doing it. Why is it so uncomfortable? For some, it just feels downright silly. For others, it feels so uncomfortable that they can’t even do it. It may be that the concept of saying nice things to yourself doesn’t feel right. That’s to be expected when you have been in the habit of trash-talking yourself for years. If you were berated or criticized as a child you will have an even more difficult time. Another barrier is the feeling that positive affirmations are some sort of hokey self-indulgence that won’t work.
Replacing Negative Self-Talk
One good reason to use positive affirmations is that you do need something to replace that negative self-talk. It’s much easier to eliminate a behavior if you have something to replace it with. Negative self-talk works. If you tell yourself constantly that you are stupid, you’ll feel stupid. And when you feel stupid, then you are more likely to continue repeating behaviors that reinforce that belief. That’s how it works, and has probably worked for years of your life.
So just stop telling yourself you’re stupid, right? Sure, but it’s not that easy. For every negative self-thought that you notice, there are 100’s you don’t even pay attention to. We spend so much of our lives on autopilot that we don’t notice even half of the thoughts we have. Being aware of negative self-talk is important, but it’s equally important to replace it with something positive.
How Far Should You Go?
The brain tends to believe what you tell it. However, some people find that over-the-top positive affirmations just don’t ring true, and may not make much impact if you aren’t taking it seriously. So when you create your affirmations, you can word them in a way that sounds real and true, not cheesy.
Remember, positive affirmations aren’t about staring at yourself in the mirror and gushing about how smart and attractive you are. You are trying to make real and lasting changes in your life. It’s important to use affirmations to train your brain to focus on positive rather than negative thinking. Rather than beat yourself up about your latest mistake, you can tell yourself something like this “When I make a mistake, I quickly own up to it and do my best to make it right.”
Play around with affirmations. Tell yourself you love yourself each and every day. Talk to yourself like you would a good friend. That’s something you should be to yourself — your own best friend. So stop sabotaging yourself with negative talk, and start getting positive. It will make a difference.
Getting Help For Addiction
If you are a woman struggling with addiction, Wayside House can help you overcome your problem so you can heal and recover. Located in a safe, serene and beautiful environment, Wayside House offers treatments and therapies often found only in more expensive rehabs. Call our program today to learn more about what we offer at 800-655-0817.