My Self Love Journey

Self Injury Awareness Day 2017

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Today is the 17th anniversary of Self-Injury Awareness Day! In response to this global event, I wanted to talk about how I learned to love myself and stop self-harming.

Please Note: I tried my absolute best to make sure this post isn’t triggering in the spirit of keeping this post positive. However, if you feel triggered or unsafe at any point, please stop reading and reach out to a hotline. Below are some numbers to call just in case:

MVSafetyNet (USA) 1-800-366-8288

SupportLine (UK) 01708 765200

Back when I self-harmed, I didn’t know how to forgive myself for making mistakes. I was a perfectionist and a little too eager to please my parents.

I didn’t realize that it’s OK to mess up disastrously if that’s what it takes to learn a lesson, and I didn’t believe that I was worthy of self-respect because of my flaws. Talking to a therapist helped me big-time in seeing the inconsistencies in my thinking and how to change them. It made me stop and think about where I was heading on that path of aiming for perfection and then destruction when it didn’t work out. I’ll be honest; it wasn’t a good place.

Life wasn’t getting any easier and room for error expanded monstrously as a result. It just wasn’t sustainable to keep plowing ahead while my mental health suffered and I learned less. Honestly, I don’t think I stood a chance of passing my AP Spanish (AP means college-level in high school) course in the beginning of the year because of my negative mindset. Even my teacher was worried about me at that point. Once I learned to change my thought processes, my true potential opened up. I’ll have you know I got a 4 out of 5 on the exam.

There are some lessons we can’t learn without being wrong the first time; this goes for school and life in general. That’s why a mistake doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Actually, it can be a good thing because it’s one step closer to the right direction that we wouldn’t have taken if we froze in fear. Remember: It’s OK to be afraid, but never fear.

Then there was the fact that my obsession with perfection constricted me. I wouldn’t allow myself to do certain things for fear of failure and the ensuing shouting match with my inner self-critic. (I always lost.) That year I hardly wrote outside of class, drew, or crafted at all because I would never be satisfied with the end product, and would end up making things worse when I tried to fix it. Creativity has always been a huge source of fulfillment for me and I deeply missed it that year. I still remember how I would glumly sit around wishing I could just write a poem without thinking too hard like the old days. It wasn’t fair at all.

How did I get over all of that?

I had to learn that my passion is more important than my fear.

Yes, I don’t know if I will succeed, but the benefits of success outweigh the cons of failure. One more thing about failure…it’s only as bad as you make it. I came out of sophomore year with a 2.8 GPA and the average GPA for my incoming class at my current university was 3.6 and above. As you lovelies know, I made it in. Side note: Never ever ever determine your self-worth from a number. When things don’t go as planned, it may seem like your life is over, but I promise things will work themselves out in the end. You just need to be open-minded and ready for when that new opportunity comes your way.

I had to learn to accept me. All of me.

It’s a lot easier said than done, but I had to accept the fact that I have limitations just like any other person. I’ll trip, I’ll fall, I’ll make a fool of myself, and that’s OK. Here’s why:

  • I’ll catch myself when I trip, I’ll pick myself up when I fall, and I’ll laugh when I make a fool of myself.
    • Establishing myself as a “safe zone” was monumental in my recovery. I had to be able to trust myself that I wouldn’t freak out and lose control. It took time and practice to be able to put a buffer between myself and my mistakes, but eventually I learned to be mindful and at peace with myself.

Also, regardless of all that mindset stuff…

Everyone is beautiful, worthy, and amazing.

If this sounds sappy to you, great. Back when I self-harmed, I would have laughed at the idea of intrinsic worth. I believed that love and respect had to be earned; even from myself. Do yourself a favor and learn from me. Never ever think like that.

I had to build a support system.

Everyone needs a shoulder or two to lean on when the going gets tough and you start to lose faith in yourself. I won’t lie, it’s scary reaching out to others for help, but I swear it’s more than worth the risk. (This is cost-benefit analysis, lovelies, always use it.) Even strong people can’t be strong all the time, two heads are better than one, and genuine friends beat fake friends any day.

Believe me, there’s someone who cares about you out there. We live on a planet of billions of people, so statistically there has to be someone. 😉

To wrap up, there were two reasons I waited so long to get help for self-harm:

  1. I didn’t believe my problem was important enough
  2. I didn’t want to worry my parents.

In reality, I wouldn’t have got help at all if my English teacher didn’t walk me to the counselor’s office. (I was too socially awkward to turn her offer down, OK?) I thought the game was over when I had to get both my parents to sign the consent form for me to see my counselor, but they understood and supported my decision. (I know this unfortunately isn’t the case with all parents.)

Bottom Line: All of your problems are valid and you’re not a burden.

~Live boundless.


23 thoughts on “My Self Love Journey

  1. I fear about making a fool of myself, which has prevented me from trying new & different things. I fear public speaking and stating my opinions when iam hanging around with a group afraid of rubbing off someone negatively.

    Thank you so much for writing this! My confidence has shot up 👍


      • I know, confidence never comes easy. I’ve struggled/am struggling in feeling completely confident in myself and my abilities. But, actually I think I’ve come a long way from the person who I used to be. And, there is still a long way to go. Learning everyday! 😊

        It really makes me ecstatic, reading all your motivational post because they’re so honest, real and raw that I’m left in awe of your courage. Fantastic human. Keep it up. Keep inspiring.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank the Lord for your English teacher! You are blessed to have her in your life. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know it helps not only you, but others as well.
    Everyone is worthy of love and belonging! Never forget that. Failures do not exist if you learn and grow from them! It is all a part of what makes us who we are. It is our path.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautiful post.

    Thank you so much for writing it.

    The world needs writing like this.

    This post reminded me of a quote:

    “Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”
    “That is the only time a man can be brave.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It definitely took you courage to finally get over all those things. You are indeed blessed to find people around you who will help you cope up and bring positive feelings in your life.

    I’m happy that you are in a healthier, happier, and stronger place right now.
    Always remember that you are wonderful. You are loved. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). Your post SO reminded me of this verse. I have been learning, and truly believing, that Christ my stronghold, my” safezone”… And that His Love for me and delight in me does not change based on my failures and successes.
    “Back when I self-harmed, I didn’t know how to forgive myself for making mistakes. I was a perfectionist and a little too eager to please my parents.” What you said here totally resonated with me, too. I have had a hard time believing that Christ forgives me for all of my daily sins and failures, and therefore have had a HORRIBLE time forgiving myself. But I have been hearing His Voice say, “Do you trust me to forgive you?” I am learning more and more what the book of Ephesians says: that salvation is by grace, through faith, not based on my works, lest I should boast about it (Ephesians 2:8-9). He makes it so easy– to just trust that what He did on my behalf, dying for my sin so that I wouldn’t have to, and resting in that.

    Sorry for the long comment, just a lot of things on my mind! Thank you for your insights. Jesus has used them to speak to me regarding this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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