I think I may have finally found the reason I cut. Or at least a mayor corner piece of that puzzle. I do not claim that it is the same for everyone. In fact I am pretty sure it is not. But I know that my core-issue is an issue many have and even though not all of us may develop self-harm as symptom working on it leads to a happier life.
When I got into therapy my goal was to find out, why I cut. Find out, what was “wrong with me”. I think my therapist was actually on to it. She said “there were just so many forces” driving me to do things which lead to me not knowing what I should do. I think the forces around me, the field of tension I was in however only brought out, what was really the issue. A lack of respect for myself. I actually realized that talking to a friend.
As long as we are not under pressure. As long as we are not tested, we just live our lives. But when we are put to the test and we need to do the right thing there are two key steps to success. First we need to know what we want. And usually that is not the thing that feels right. It is the vision we have for ourselves. A vision, that we created, while we were not in that field of tension. And then we need the courage and the strength to respect ourselves enough to act upon that vision.
And that is where I failed in the past. I did not respect myself. I was faced with decisions, I did not want to make. And I did not have the strength to make the right choice. So I turned against myself. I did not cut, because I hated myself. I cut, because I was trying to find an exit in a disorder. I was trying to escape accountability for my choices. And the fact that I did that, makes me be ashamed of myself, which is truly not helpful in building respect.
And I still get the triggers, when faced with though decisions. Which is exactly why I need to practice to respect myself. Respect my feelings, my emotions, my limits. My priorities. My vision. My values.
But I think this can be learned. When we are aware that we do not respect ourselves, we can do something about it. And I find that it is mostly recognizing, that we are more than good enough. Because trying every day to come one step closer to our vision is the very best anyone including ourselves could ever ask of us. The version of us, who is trying to become the best version of us is the best version of us. I have said that before: we cannot expect us to be perfect, when we wake up tomorrow. But we can make tomorrow the day we become a little better.
And if we hit a wall which we inevitably will, we can remember to respect that limit of ours and try again later. We do not loose at life, because we fail at something. We loose, the moment we stop trying. We are right on track even if we just try to try.
And the best thing about respecting ourselves, and acknowledging how we feel and respecting those feelings is that it makes us more confident. And it will lead to us being respected by others. Because when we respect ourselves, when we feel comfortable with ourselves, and every part of us, we will automatically demand respect.
I am not saying that we should not take responsibility for our actions, because we feel bad. I think sometimes all we need to do is try to feel a little better, try to get through a though patch, because we cannot improve ourselves, as long as we feel like the world is ending.
The journey to peace (roll credits *ding*) is not a simple one. And doesn’t end after a few weeks. And sometimes even if we think we are at peace, if we are not careful we might loose that peace. But the journey is one that we are all on. Everyone. Not just someone who is suffering from a mental disease. We all have to choose whether or not to take one more step towards peace hundreds of times every single day. We can all respect ourselves a little more.
I am so very glad I figured this one out. Because I can finally stop blaming my issue on other people. I can finally take responsibility for my cutting. Because its source is my own doing. But that also means that I can change it. And knowing this is so empowering. It is like the torch in the darkness.
I want to focus on what I want more, than I focus on what I don’t want. For one simple reason: if I focus on what I want, I focus on my vision, I focus on respecting that vision. Respecting myself in that way. Because I have known who I want to be for a long time. I just failed to become that person most of the time. Which is alright. But that will change. One step at a time.
Self-respect is not egoism. It is taking care of ourselves, and becoming the best version of ourselves, such that we can be there for others. Because we cannot do that if all we can think about is the blade. This is why self-respect is important for everyone: We are part of this world. And when we become better, the world does with us.