Unquestionably the disease of addiction has many underlying causes. However, despite the circumstances and causes, self-compassion is what will aid someone struggling with addiction to seek treatment and continue through the recovery process even when faced with adversities.
Many cultures encourage having self-confidence over self-compassion, but new studies show that while self-confidence makes us feel good about ourselves, self-compassion allows for acknowledgment and understanding of our flaws and limitations. Drawn from Buddhist psychology, self-compassion involves treating ourselves with the same compassion we would treat someone we love when they make a mistake or are at fault. It means not beating ourselves up over our failed attempts or dwelling over our wrongdoings. Self-compassion sets us free as it allows us to accept our imperfections. Dr. Kristin Neff, a leading researcher on self-compassion, reports on her research that self-compassion is beneficial to our psychological well-being because it is associated with “ greater emotional resilience, more accurate self-concepts, more caring relationship behavior, as well as less narcissism and reactive anger.”
By practicing self-compassion a person can recognize the difference between making a bad choice and being a bad person. That person will recognize the value and worth of feeling unconditional love. She also says that a positive connection between self-compassion and overall well-being cannot be understated. Self-compassion provides a sense of self-worth. Having less anxiety, depression, and fear of failing are also all good reasons to practice self-compassion. The rewards of self-compassion are extensive, and practicing it brings many benefits that are associated with happiness and optimism.
Below is an overview of Dr. Neff’s elements of self-compassion:
According to a study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, “compassionate mind states may be learned and may alleviate shame, as well as other distressing outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, self-attacks, feelings of inferiority, and submissive behavior.”
At Florida Center for Recovery we introduce our clients to a variety of therapeutic recovery tools, which includes the development of self-compassion skills by following these five rules:
When used as an addiction recovery tool, self-compassion has shown to help individuals in recovery overcome cravings, deal with the stresses of early recovery, and better manage their emotions. By being mindful, recovering individuals feel more comfortable in their own skin – a quality that is essential for lasting sobriety.
“Our successes and failures come and go—they neither define us nor do they determine our worthiness.” ~ Kristin Neff