"You're imperfect, and you're wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging." Brene Brown.
Imperfect. Worthy. Love. Belonging. Powerful words in recovery, but words that need my acceptance.
I would never use those words to describe myself in the past. Perhaps we all question our character and integrity? Some of my actions in addiction so diminished my self respect and tainted my view of these things in myself, that I hated me - the person. How could I be worthy of love and belonging?
I'm working hard to find my authentic self and offer compassion to, and have empathy for, myself, a struggling person who acted in obvious conflict with their true beliefs. I have had to separate the abhorrent behaviors from the person. It has forced me to look at my past from a fresh perspective and consider the possibility that my past doesn't have to define me or my future. I can't diminish the impact of that behavior on others, which I regret, but I understand it more completely, have learned from it, and have accepted it as part of who I am today.
Maybe shitty things I did were the fertilizer needed to grow? While I have regret and remorse, can I use these experiences to do more for my friends, family, and society. I'm believing so. That is important progress.
Rarely do we act without reason. I've discovered some reasons for my actions, bringing with it more compassion for my myself. Acceptance - and not just of myself.
This self-discovery has changed the way I experience and respond to negative actions of others. I am more apt to give others the benefit of the doubt and accept they likely have a reason for their behavior. Like me, they might not it. Just considering that possibility makes their behavior less impactful on me.
Brene Brown is right - we are imperfect.
As humans, we make mistakes; we act poorly and we hurt each other. Sometimes we mean to hurt people, sometimes we don't, but this ability to hurt another, especially emotionally, is uniquely human. I'm finding more peace in the simple acceptance of this.
When I accept all this human imperfection, in myself and others, old resentments fall away, making room for forgiveness and love. Some hurts linger and may always lurk in the background, but their negative impact on my self worth is less. I don't get hurt as easily; I forgive quicker and worry more about how I treat others than I do about how I am treated. I don't need the praise of others to believe that I am worthy of love. I can be imperfect and still belong.
Finding inner-peace has been impossible, but I am finding the world around me more peaceful.
References or mentions Brene Brown Author, Professor
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Disclaimer - I base my articles on my own personal experience as a recovering alcoholic and addict. I share about what has helped me, what I have learned about myself, and are to provide insight into my recovery. I encourage anyone struggling with mental health and addiction challenges to consider talking to a professional clinician. You are worth it.