I spent years of my life actually hating myself. I felt like the people in my life just genuinely felt like I was a burden and even my own family were tired of me. Most of my life in my teenage years and my twenties were spent burning relationships to the ground and being filled with the guilt and burden of my regrets. I never really felt like I fit in anywhere and was extremely hard on myself.
Lots of this not only had to do with drinking and using drugs but also just how I lived my life. I was extremely selfish and self-destructive. Because I felt so low I would often take it out on other people. I would often be mean to the people that were the closest to me. Since I would feel hurt and abandoned by people time and time again I would rather hurt someone before they hurt me. Living this way caused nothing but pain for my family and myself.
When I was at the end of my using and drinking I knew that I had such a low self worth that taking care of myself was not important. I knew that deep down there still was a person that was full of love and connection but I had to do some serious work to find that person again. Through lots of work in treatment and therapy I was able to discover that person again and start living a life that created more meaning for myself and for the people around me.
Often in recovery programs we spend time reflecting on the wrongs we have done and made amends with the people we have harmed. A huge part of my recovery was being able to forgive myself for the things that I have done to hurt others or myself and also be able to forgive and let go from the people that have harmed me.
The way I viewed myself in my darkest times as a failure or someone that was generally unworthy only perpetuated a cycle of suffering. When I was truly ready to be able to let go of the way that I was for so many years was the moment that I became ready to start to live a new way of life.
In addition to therapy and working a recovery program I also developed a meditation practice. In my meditation practice I spend time just offering myself phrases of loving kindness such as “may I be at ease”. I admit that it sounds lame but this practice has really helped me over time to love others and myself. Not through one of the practices but all of these practices have helped me develop a new relationship with myself and the way I treat people in my life.
Today I try to stick to a routine of 20-30 minutes of meditation in the morning followed by a run outside. Trying to take care of myself both physically and mentally is something I never thought was important because I had such a low self worth. I feel the best about myself when I’m able to squeeze these practices into my daily routine.
Life is hard and things get stressful. When things get hard and I act unskillfully and say something to someone that is hurtful I try to recognize it right away and make amends for my mistake. Recovery is not about being perfect. Recovery is about living a new life and recognizing when you have made a mistake to correct it. By letting go of the way I lived in the passed and loving myself in the moment I’m able to live a life of meaning and make the people around me feel loved.