Many of us living with addictions and mental health issues also have a problem with self-harm – self-destructive behaviors which are linked to our deeper emotional problems and which compound and perpetuate them. We might hit, cut or burn ourselves or otherwise cause ourselves physical harm. We might be emotional cutters, where we are masochistic and relentless in causing ourselves avoidable pain. We stay in abusive relationships where we are in actual danger. We engage in risky and reckless behaviors. We verbally and emotionally put ourselves down with disparaging self-talk and self-abuse. Why do we self-harm?
Self-harm is our way of expressing what we feel deep inside – our self-hatred, our lack of self-respect and self-acceptance, our feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy. Self-harm is a way of bringing those deep emotions to the surface. Sometimes we’re not aware that we harbor such intense self-destructive feelings. Sometimes we engage in our self-harming behaviors without being conscious of why. Other times we are fully aware of what is driving our self-destruction.
There comes a time when we have to ask ourselves the difficult questions, “Why do I hate myself? Where did this self-hate come from?” Were you abused, neglected or abandoned as a child? We often internalize our traumatic experiences as evidence for why we should hate ourselves. We blame ourselves for the difficult things we’ve been through. We perceive them as proof that we are in fact inadequate. Our wounded egos tell us all kinds of false information about ourselves. They develop limiting beliefs that we then interpret as truth. What if instead of listening so much to our thinking minds which are being directed by our wounded egos, we listened instead to the innate loving wisdom of our hearts?
Our hearts hold infinite capacity for love, healing and forgiveness. We forget to pay attention to them because we are bogged down by, inundated with, and overwhelmed by the noise of our minds. Place your hand on your heart to direct your energy there. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out. You might feel an urge to cry or break down. Let yourself. It’s ok. Sometimes we have to feel our heart break in order to heal. You very well may feel heartbroken for all the ways in which you’ve been hurting yourself. Give yourself your compassion and love. Tell yourself, “Moving forward, I vow to love myself more. I set the intention to show myself love and respect in all ways.”
Shedding our self-harming behaviors is a huge part of recovery. Let us help. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.