Something is under the surface, can you feel it? You’ve sensed it many times, yet still don’t know what it is. You keep moving forward, keep staying busy, keep ignoring it, keep pretending everything’s fine. But it’s not. Something is unsettled inside. But you’re too busy to feel. It’s moments like this when addiction whispers to you messages like “escape there” and “run here”.
And all of this is for what purpose? To keep running, keep escaping, keep distracting? This is the cycle of disconnection from self. For some, this pattern was learned at a very young age. For many, this pattern is instinctual.
But stopping and turning toward yourself, connecting with what is inside, and being kind toward whatever is hiding in the shadows of your soul requires great courage. This is scary, unknown territory. Yet, for those who never take this risk, distraction becomes their “drug” of choice. Self-neglect and self-abandonment continue as the self-defeating norms.
Yet some of the most profound moments in recovery will be those times when you stop, see your pain, feel the surfacing emotions, and respond with care, compassion, and nurturance. This is tending to your wounds. This is attuning to the cries of your heart.
If you have never learned how to relate to yourself like this, consider beginning today. In our most popular post to date article, we introduced the powerful tool called the Self-Compassion Break. Another effective self-compassion tool is called The Letter of Self-Compassion. Instead of grabbing the bottle, the drug, the sugar, or the magazine, consider grabbing a pen and connecting with the emotions you are running from. Stop the cycle of disconnection in its tracks. Learn to connect and find the comfort you’ve always needed. This will be worth the time and effort. It is a monumental step on the path of recovery.
Note: In a study where participants wrote THIS self-compassion letter to themselves once per day for 1 week (taking 10-15 minutes per day), their happiness increased and their depression decreased during that week, continuing through a follow-up 6 months later. This powerful exercise trains you to speak to yourself in a self-compassionate way, experiencing the many benefits the relating to yourself in this way. It is recommended that this letter writing exercise be used every day for 7 days. After that, it can be used once a week, once a month, and/or whenever experiences of stress or suffering arise. Source: The Neuroscience of Change by Dr Kelly McGonigal (another great resource that explains the many benefits of The Letter of Self-Compassion)
-Written by Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, MFT Intern