I always learn a lot from co-facilitating WRAP groups and being in rooms with other WRAP Facilitators and people gathering to enhance their own wellness through connection and self-discovery. One experience that I’ll never forget is a time when another WRAP Facilitator was introducing himself and repeated this quote:
“In WRAP programs there is unconditional acceptance of each person as they are— unique and special individuals.” (WRAP Plus, p. 47)
He said that he fully took that value to heart when it came to others, but he was always hard on himself. He found that he did not see himself as unique or special, and he was certainly not providing himself with unconditional acceptance. He went on to say that he’d never treat another person the way he treated himself and that he was continuing to learn how to accept himself.
Like with many things in WRAP, this was an “Aha!” moment for me, too. Over time, I’ve worked hard to make strengths the first thing that pops out at me when I work with others, but turning that lens on myself has been more difficult. I always feel like there’s more I could have done, something I missed, or something I could have done differently to make things more successful. Hearing from another WRAP Facilitator that he struggled to be kind and accepting of himself helped me realize that there are times when I am not kind to myself. This started me on a path to figuring out how to change my actions to change my thinking. I’ve been using the infinitely doable structure of WRAP to support me in how I look at and feel about myself. That experience with this other WRAP Facilitator happened almost two years ago and it’s still a clear memory for me.
In my efforts to improve how I feel about myself, I’ve spent time writing lists, reading articles, volunteering, and doing some community organizing, as well as things I already had in my wellness toolbox: spending time outside, drinking coffee, connecting with supporters, and spending time with my family. I also got a bike last summer as part of this effort, and now I barely drive my car.
A strength I’ve found in myself is that I identify as a creative problem-solver. However, I’ve found that if I’m too overscheduled or too stressed, I cannot find my way to creative answers. I’m more likely to feel hopeless, and I’m less likely to make the connections that would open my mind up to the choices available to me. If things are too noisy in my life, I’m unable to listen to my wants and needs. With this insight, now I know I have to adjust my plan to make sure I have space to think my own thoughts. Leaving space for creativity helps me feel better about myself.
My WRAP has expanded and changed as I learn more through self-discovery. Learning all I can about myself has helped me make better decisions about my lifestyle. Just as my WRAP has evolved, so too does WRAP in general. WRAP is an ever-expanding body of knowledge. Language changes, practices improve, but the structure of WRAP remains and gives us what we need to move forward with enhancing our wellness. As WRAP continues to grow and evolve, I look forward to growing alongside it and alongside all of you.
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Katie Wilson is an Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator and the Director of Operations for the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery. Reach her at email@example.com.