Your self-perceptions are often instilled within you before you have a say in them. After years of substance use, you may only view yourself from a negative perspective. However, recovery is about understanding your addictions and learning to shift your perceptions to help you find hidden strengths or improve weaknesses you might not know you have. Simply put, self-perception is about being aware of who you are and what you’re capable of accomplishing. Read on to find out how to shift a negative self-perception into a positive one as you recover from drug or alcohol abuse.


Perform a Self-Assessment

The first step to shifting your perception is identifying how you view yourself; this includes how you talk to yourself. Do you have an all-or-nothing mentality? For example, if you make a mistake, do you believe that you are prone to making mistakes? Do you believe that if you are not good at something right away, you will never be good? These thoughts not only feed how you view your capabilities but how you form relationships with others. Another example is if someone does not like you right away, you might believe that nobody will like you. This is why performing an honest self-assessment to determine how you think is important.

One way to explore your thoughts is through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps you take inventory of your thoughts and then divide them by areas of weakness and areas of strength. It allows you to see that while, yes, there are things to work on, you are also great at many things. CBT  also gives you homework outside of each session so that you are always working on creating better habits for positive self-talk and self-perception. 


Seek Outside Input from Appropriate Sources

Others can act as mirrors for you to view yourself. Therefore, don’t assume that you are flawed, defective or hopeless. Ask trusted friends, family and peers to give you honest feedback about what they see in you and if there are areas where you can improve. When you seek feedback from people who care about you and your recovery, you can feel confident that their insight is valid. Take time to reflect on their feedback and honestly evaluate it instead of reacting impulsively or defensively. Understand that their motivation is to help you and not demean you. Having this kind of feedback on how you respond and address certain issues might offer you great strategies to help you make the positive changes you desire.


Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Recovery is about reconnecting with the ambitions and passions that you had before you began using substances. It is also about discovering new passions to afford you the energy, motivation and confidence you need to prevail in recovery. The first step to reconnecting or finding new passions is to step outside your comfort zone. Stepping outside your comfort zone does not mean throwing yourself into a risky situation with no preparation. It means taking a realistic and optimistic approach to what you can do and believing that a new venture could work out.

Not only does this get you outside of your comfort zone, but it cultivates optimism which helps boost self-esteem and confidence. Studies also support that individuals who evaluate their situation but still challenge themselves are better at handling challenges.


Change Your Story

Ultimately, the perception that you have of yourself comes from the story you tell yourself. Consider the significant circumstances that shaped your life. Look at how these situations made you feel. If you had a tragic or painful trauma occur, you might have felt victimized and powerless. However, recovery is about helping you change these viewpoints using today’s perspectives and see that some of these situations have resulted in you becoming more resourceful, resilient and empathetic. Focusing on these viewpoints will contribute to changing your self-perception. You will no longer view yourself as a victim or incapable, but rather as an empowered person who overcame addiction and is capable of sustaining recovery.


Recovery is all about helping you shift negative self-perceptions into positive ones. At New Hope Ranch in Manor, Texas, near Austin, we work with each individual to help them eradicate defining themselves based on the past and move forward to believing they are capable of fulfilling their greatest potential. Our treatment programs offer both conventional and alternative approaches to care to ensure that each individual is getting the help they need and building their relationships with themselves and others in the healthiest way. Find out more by calling New Hope Ranch at (737) 600-8565