We Don’t Recover by Being Harsh with Ourselves – We Recover by Being Gentle

Words by: Megan Lawrence.  Follow more of her journey at HealingHopefuls.com or on her Instagram, @in.my.own.words.  

It is powerful when someone decides to step into Recovery and make a conscious decision to better their life. It is within this first step that we are able to point ourselves in the right direction. As we continue taking the steps towards becoming the person we were meant to become, we will come to realize that, although we have made the choice to recover, that does not mean it will be smooth sailing from that point on. In fact, you may even be greeted with even tougher battles, and it is because of this that we MUST be gentle with ourselves in our recovery journey.

When it comes to my own experience with recovery, I have hit many uphill climbs, hardships, and unexpected discoveries about myself. When this occurs, I am often left feeling discouraged, confused, and disheartened to find out that there is still more to learn about who I am and why I am the way that I am. I can become very self-critical and harsh with myself, and quite frankly, that is just not fair. It is not fair for anyone to do this to themselves, especially because we are only able to know what we know thus far. Putting ourselves down in any way or wanting to give up on our progress is never going to get us closer to the life that we deserve to live. We chose a life of recovery, not because it was going to be easy, but because it was, and still is, going to be worth it.

Recovery is not synonymous with perfection. If you are recovering with the hopes that you will become a spotless, seemingly unflawed human, you are going to find yourself disappointed on this journey. I say this not to be cruel, but to remind you that you are not perfect. Nobody is. We are all perfectly imperfect as we are, warts and all. When we are hit with a truth about ourselves, we need to embrace it, accept it, and use it to our advantage. We can achieve this by asking, NOT why is this happening to me? But, why is this happening FOR ME? What am I to learn from this realization, and how can I incorporate this into my everyday life moving forward? When we are gentle with ourselves, we allow more room for growth, and we can then step forward into who we are with self-compassion, understanding, and self-love.

One thing I have had to learn numerous times in my dance with recovery is that a couple steps backward is not a failure, but an opportunity to look at my growth from a new perspective. Sometimes we will even be hit with the same obstacle we thought we resolved already, but find ourselves confronted by it yet again from a new angle. This is not a reason to give up. It is, in fact, a new opportunity to expand ourselves as human animals. I for one have faced many of the same challenges, just with a new face. I ALWAYS end up taking away something valuable from these situations, and although uncomfortable at first, we are all way more resilient then we give ourselves credit for. We can withstand many hardships and still live to see the other side of it. I would even go as far to say that we will be able to smile about them as well. When we are gentle with ourselves, we start to see just how much we are capable of overcoming, and THAT, is what we do it for; THAT is why we continue to recover.

Maybe you are recovering from an eating disorder, mental illness, substance abuse, a narcissist, or self-inflicted pain, and even though you know better now, you find yourself in a situation you thought you would have been able to avoid. This does not mean that all the hard work you have done is erased. It is still there. It is always there. Being gentle with ourselves means that we know this is par for the course. There is no guarantee that we will become invincible to pain because although we are recovering, pain is still a part of life. We collect the tools we need as we go, and we use them accordingly when the time calls for it. Mistakes are going to be made, missteps are still going to happen, and hard truths are going to be discovered. There is a reason why so many people avoid recovering in the first place. Be proud of yourself for wanting to recover in the first place. And be gentle with yourself along the way.

Thank you for reading!


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