Self Love – A Spiritual Practice



Most of us came into this Fellowship with a lot of self-doubts. Often what we affirmed was negative, self-destructive and self-defeating. These invalidating thoughts represented what we had come to believe about ourselves and they were based on messages from the past, some spoken, others unspoken. Rarely were they positive or nurturing. Nonetheless, we incorporated these negative statements into our beliefs about who we were.

They included things like:

I’m incompetent and incapable.

I’m worthless and undeserving.

I’m unimportant, even to the people who love me.

No matter what I do, I’ll always be unattractive.

I’ll never measure up

I have no right to exist.

Believing we are “no good” is a heavy burden. It saps our energy – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. When we believe these untruths about ourselves, life seems pretty grim. In ACA, we find hope.

We learned that the love we were seeking would come from self-acceptance and self-nurturance. These were the avenues we must travel in order to regain our birthright – knowledge of our wholeness.


It was difficult for some of us to let go of the past. We wanted to move on, but still felt stuck with the desire to punish ourselves or others for the pain we had so long endured. Steps Six and Seven offered us the chance to release our old ways of coping. We just needed a little help in order to “be entirely ready for God to remove all our defects of character.”


After completing our Fourth Step inventory, many of us were surprised to discover how little self-worth we really had. Some of us found that deep within there was a belief that we had no reason to be alive, no right to exist. We avoided life with the help of substances such as drugs, alcohol and food. We lost ourselves in a variety of activities – relationships, sex, work, shopping, exercising and gambling. Some of us managed to avoid living by using diversions such as excessive meditation, celibacy or even TV watching.

Having taken our Fifth Step, many of us learned that much of what we thought was true about ourselves and about living was someone else's opinion, an opinion that we hadn’t thought to question. We were misguided, not worthless, and we had developed character defects in order to live with self-damaging beliefs about who we were and what we thought we were like.

As we worked Steps Six and Seven, our True Selves would begin to emerge.

  1. I have the right to be here, to exist.

  2. I am glad I am a woman OR I am glad I am a man.

  3. I deserve to live a successful, happy life.

  4. I deserve joy.

  5. My needs are okay with me.

  6. I am lovable and I deserve love.

  7. I can take my own time. There’s plenty.

  8. I am enough.

  9. I am effective.

  10. My feelings are okay with me.

  11. I am worthwhile and important.

  12. I deserve comfort and compassion.


Parenting ourselves means learning to take care of ourselves, working our programs, experiencing healthy boundaries, becoming accountable and responsible and learning to love and be loved. We put our faith in a Higher Power and ask for help with the fears, hurts, shame and anger of the child within.

Parenting ourselves means responding to situations rather than reacting. It means practicing acceptance and asking for what we want and need in relationships. We strive to let go of self-shame and blame and take responsibility for ourselves, our happiness and sorrow.

We learn to accept how we’ve reacted to situations in the past remembering that healthy parenting dialogue is filled with strength, unconditional love, understanding, compassion and wisdom. We all make mistakes. When this happens we can make amends and reaffirm ourselves lovingly as worthwhile human beings.


We know we’re not alone when we accept our codependence. Together we’re learning how to love and be loved and how to live life rather than merely survive it. Recovery in ACA is an ongoing process. It’s a life that constantly challenges us. Recovery isn’t earned like a merit badge; it’s a way of living that evolves with us every day.


Learning to “love the self” is part of that ongoing process – IT TAKES COURAGE.


I know a new love and acceptance of myself and others.

I feel genuinely lovable, loving and loved.




  • As I turn my attention to my physical body, I experience it with gratitude, appreciation and love.

  • I have the ability to accept and to give love.

  • I choose to accept and to feel my Higher Power’s unconditional love.

  • I am a valuable human being and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

  • I deserve relationships with people who honor all aspects of me.

  • I am free to express my sexuality in a safe and loving relationship.

  • As I learn to trust God and to release my fear of others, love and acceptance fill my being.

  • As my self-love increases I receive love from others with greater ease.

  • In this moment I apply love in my thoughts, in my words and in my actions.

  • In this moment, I am willing to see myself as I truly am, a growing, unfolding spiritual being resting in the hands of a loving God.


  • When I loved myself enough – I learned to meet my own needs and not call it selfish.

  • When I loved myself enough – I came to know I am worthy of knowing God directly.

  • When I loved myself enough – I began feeling such relief.