Treatment for mental health or substance use disorders ask us to do a lot of looking inward. Suddenly, after years of not connecting to ourselves in a truthful or authentic way, we are asked to be introspective and reflect on who we are, what we feel, and what we think. Introspection is not easy for everyone. Certain mental health disorders making looking within to identify emotions a difficult challenge to overcome. Though introspection or being introspective is not a requirement for growth and progress in treatment, it is a helpful tool for getting to know yourself better. In part, treatment offers you tools to help you learn more about yourself. Gaining more insight to who you are helps you to understand what drives you, what frightens you, what inspires you, and what triggers you. With self-knowledge at hand, we can better approach managing our everyday lives with mental illness in a new life of recovery.
Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” It is hard for us to understand other people if we do not understand ourselves. Of course, empathy is not required in life. However, empathy helps us develop a greater sense of compassion toward others and a deeper sense of gratitude for our own lives. Compassion is the ability to not only empathize how someone feels but truly share in knowing that you too have gone through what they are. Compassion and empathy help us to recognize the human experience in all of us.
Why is this important?
Being a part of human solidarity is incredibly important to mental health and recovery. First, when we recognize that others are human, we accept that they are susceptible to making mistakes. When our expectations don’t get met, we are often disappointed. If we are without understanding that everyone has their own life to deal with, it is easy to get caught up in anger and resentment. Eventually anger and resentment turn into rage, hatred, and violence. To sustain our mental health, we need to work on forgiveness rather than fear. Forgiveness is the second reason why being introspective is important. Taking a look at our internal selves helps to realize we are human too, and perfectly imperfect. Often, we are our own worst critics. Holding ourselves to impossibly high standards, we are quick to not forgive ourselves for not being perfect.
Recovery is about embracing who we are, as we are, in this moment. Avalon By The Sea provides unparalleled dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Certified as one of California’s only treatment facilities for providing care to psychiatric issues as a primary diagnosis, Avalon provides comprehensive quality care. For a confidential assessment or information on our treatment programs call 1-855-464-8409