As we move past the week of Valentine's, it is an especially good time to be reminded of important Truths and Realities to carry forward on your road to recovery. Take them and put them in your recovery toolbox. Here they are:
1. You are enough just as you are
You are enough, all of you, just as you are. Many of us growing up learned that there are prerequisites for being enough… But my friend, this is a lie. There are no prerequisites for you 'being enough'! You are enough, just as you are. Even if you do not feel it yet, it is important you start acknowledging this truth. Acknowledging, ‘I AM ENOUGH’, is letting go of old lies (old tapes from the past as I call them) again and again. You were enough yesterday. You were enough today. You will be enough tomorrow. Don't tolerate anyone who implies that you are not; and for one who tries, know that it is about their own insecurity, control, and manipulation issues). Nothing can change the fact that you are enough. All of who you are is good enough. You Are Enough because you are you… and that my friend, is enough.
2. You have inherent worth
You were born inherently worthy... valuable... and lovable. Self-love comes from an internal awareness that you are inherently worthy… and nothing can take this away. Nothing e that occurs in your life determines your worth. Being alone (or in a bad relationship) is not a reflection of your worthiness, nor does it mean you are unlovable- that’s bull too. Your strengths, your character flaws, your successes, or failures… are not and have never been a measure of your worthiness. Our weaknesses and strengths never define us as worthless or 'better-than', they only say we are human. Your worth is innate and permanent. Your strengths or weaknesses cannot raise or lower your worth. You are not 'less-than' or 'better-than' any person on earth; neither are other 'less-than' or 'better-than' you. There is nothing you have to do to prove your worthiness; to think otherwise is coming from toxic shame, not reality. If anyone is unable to acknowledge your worth and value by words, deeds, or attitudes-- that is about their insecurity issues; and is not your problem to fix. Lay down the mask and let go of trying to be someone you are not, let go of trying to ‘earn’ or prove you are worthy or lovable-- you already are; you already have it. PS: Part of my helping love addicts through my love addiction-coaching program is to learn how to internalize this concept of self-worth (a concept that is based on the truth/reality).
3. Acceptance is essential to your well-being
Acceptance is part of living a healthy life. Accepting "what is", is empowering and freeing. Acceptance is an important aspect to growing and recovering. You probably heard of the “Serenity Prayer”… “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. It is a wise and powerful saying. Whether you are spiritual or not, I encourage you to use this as a tool to apply healthy acceptance in your life. Acceptance of reality of situations or certain people keeps us from living (or loving) in a fantasy. In recovery, we come to accept realities we've denied, thinking they would be too painful, especially when it comes to relationships (e.g., the reality of 'who a person really is', or is not). The truth is healthy acceptance helps us make better and wiser choices in life, thus aiding us to better take care of ourselves. Self-Acceptance, the ability to love yourself unconditionally, no matter what flaws and traits exist, is also essential to well-being. Accept all of who you are, as you would accept an innocent, vulnerable, lovable precious young child. Accepting all of who you are allows you to be more authentic and relational with others. When you accept all of who you are, imperfections, flaws, and all... you accept your humanity. Happiness can only exist in acceptance - Orwell
4. Self-Care around a person or people you are better off without
When you have to start compromising yourself and your values for a person (or people around you), it is probably time to detach. If someone mistreats you or keeps pulling you in the wrong direction, then act in self-care and get away from him/her. It may be frightening and hurt a whole hell-of-a-lot, but in the end you will be okay. The alternative is to stay and to continue compromising and losing yourself, and going in a direction you don’t genuinely want— which not self-care and even self-abandonment. If it seems too impossible to detach from a person you feel too attached to—then get support, encouragement, and emotional backing. It will be worth it. You deserve nothing less than respect and dignity—not sometimes, but always. When you make such a move, you could then tell yourself, “I took care of myself.”
5. You are not your love addiction
Have you ever felt shameful or felt "less-than" because of love addiction? Early in recovery, many do and often very intensely. But I am here to say, these feelings are based off lies. Truthfully, there is nothing of which to be ashamed. You are NOT your love addiction. This is not something you were born with. It’s not in your DNA. It’s not some karma either! Don’t ever believe any such nonsense. You are not 'less-than' because of it. It does not define who you are. If you had cancer, would you let that define who you are? Would it be fair to you or anyone to feel, "I am less-than; horrible; bad because I have cancer"– Of course not. Likewise, love addiction is a problem, but not a problem to plaster on your forehead as if to say, “this is me, a love addict, that’s all of who I am; how pathetic I am”. It is a problem, yes, as cancer is a problem. But having a problem does not define a person as a human being; it does not define ones worth and value as a person. You may have love addiction issues, but you are much more than your love addiction. And by the way, it is a problem where recovery and healing is possible.
6. You do not need romantic love to be okay
You don’t "need" a romantic relationship to be happy, or to “complete” you. Many of us have bought into toxic societal messages, one being that without romantic love, life cannot be fulfilling. The problem with this message is it is not based on reality. It is true that a romantic, committed relationship can enhance ones life (but ony if it is a healthy), but that does not mean we “need” a romantic partner to survive, thrive, and feel alive. There is a big difference between feeling I "need" a relationship vs. feeling I "want" a relationship. As human beings, most "want" or desire a romantic partnership-- and this is healthy. But if we enter relationships out of a distorted belief that we “need” someone, then we risk settling for crumbs, a whole lot of crumbs. Romantic love can be a wonderful thing (with the right partner). However, romantic love is not equivalent to oxygen, water, or sunlight-- things we do actually need to survive. Remember, Romeo and Juliet is not a love story. It’s a relationship between two teenagers that lasted several days, and apparently they “needed” each other so bad that it resulted in six deaths. So in our growth and recovery it is important to reframe how we think about love and romance... “I 'want' a romantic partner” is healthy, honest, and realistic... but “I ‘need’ a romantic partner” is erroneous, deceptive, and naive. Life does not start when we find romance. Life is happening now. It is okay to want, hope for, and desire a romantic love. But it is invalidating and unfair to tell ourselves, "I cannot be okay without ." You can 'live' and thrive (and you are still lovable and worthy) whether you are in a romantic relationship or not.
7. Feelings are not based on facts
Your feelings are not always based on facts. Feelings are feelings. Our feelings are important to have, we wouldn't be human without them. We should respect our ALL of our feelings. But we should never let our feelings dictate our reality. You may feel “he is so perfect for me”, but this does not mean its true. You might relate to that one. You may feel “I am unlovable”, and this also does not make it true. Often what we "make up" about what we feel is a lie. When critical self-sabatoging feelings occur, they often are coming from very irrational thoughts that we are not even aware of. It is safe and to say that any negative or self-critical feeling applies. So when you have negative feelings crop up, do not base it on reality because it is not. Instead challenge negative feelings by picking one or two affirmations, and repeat them throughout the day: “I am enough”, “I love myself unconditionally”, “I am worthy of love, respect, and dignity”, “I am powerful and I matter whether I am single or in a relationship”. And remind yourself that. “Feelings are not facts”. Speak the truth. Don’t let your feelings dictate reality.
8. Who your partner is (or was), Is not about you
You don't have the power to make a person behave or act the way they do, period. Who your partner or ex-partner is, or was in relation to you … IS NOT ABOUT YOU and never was and never will be about you. His or her behavior's or attitudes; his or her emotional walls/avoidance and fears of intimacy; his or hers blaming; selfishness; or critical mannerisms is and was never about you, AT ALL. It is about one thing, WHO HE OR SHE IS. Look at it this way-- if a person is respectful to you; is caring, loving, unafraid of intimacy in relation to you… this is not about you either. You do not make such a person this way-- and it only indicates that they display positive relational behaviors to you because it is who they are (respectful, caring, loving, and unafraid of intimacy). It goes both ways. So always remember to apply the "It's not about me" rule and remind yourself that another persons attitudes, behaviors, or feelings is NOT about you. “It’s not about me” is a reality many love addicts have great difficulty comprehending at first in recovery, but one you can deeply internalize with proper guidance in your recovery.
9. You CAN be free from your love addiction
Recovering from addictive love can be full of ups and downs. Sometimes it is one step forward, two steps back; or three steps forward, one step back. The key is to that if you keep on that growth and recovery track... your love addiction patterns (thinking and behaviors) will dwindle and dwindle. When we’re in the depths of our ove addiction, it can ‘feel’ almost impossible to overcome the problem. The baffling and stinging intensity can make it feel all is hopeless. But I am here to tell you it is not hopeless, and I don't care what your story is (I do care, trust me, but you get the point right?). Recovering from love addiction is very possible. Breaking free from picking unhealthy partners, being used, tolerating a person who is unable to meet important intimacy needs – is 100% possible. I know this for two reasons: 1) I have been there myself; probably where you are. At a time I was in that "black hole" falling hard and could not see any light (could barely function)- but in the end recovering was a tremendous success. 2) I’ve witnessed countless love addicts through my love addiction coaching program breakthrough and transform, becoming more free, more hopeful, more content, more empowered than they ever thought possible. I do not really care how long or how much love addiction has caused havoc in your life… breaking free from these unhealthy chains is virtually guaranteed if you give the recovery process a chance. It will happen. If you’ve ever doubted, don’t. Love addiction is a learned behavior and belief system that can change if given a chance. Don’t ever give up and/or believe you cannot break out of your love addiction. One important key frankly, besides your willingness, is to find the right help and guidance-- a professional who does get how this works and what it takes to overcome it. More counselors are becoming more aware of this problem; many are still not.
Get Help for Love Addiction and Recovery Today
* Get on the right track to break from your love addiction-- whether you are experiencing a breakup, divorce, or in a current relationship and not sure what to do … Let Love Addiction Coaching (w/Jim, Love Addiction Specialist) help you. Learn about Love Addiction Coaching where transforming and empowering your life becomes possible. I am on your side and rooting for you. My recovery program works -- give it and you won’t be sorry!