This is my first Blog Post, and I sincerely hope it offers you some value, clarity, and sense of empowerment with a self-help tool shared at the end.
Self-abuse is the most common form of abuse wide spread in the world, eating up everyone’s wellbeing, like a termite. And most of the people aren’t even aware that they indulge in it (unconsciously) day in, day out, sabotaging their complete wellbeing, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
It is easy to notice how others are damaging us, than what we are doing to ourselves on a constant basis, hence nobody pays much attention to it, yet it’s the biggest reason for one’s emotional imbalance, and a major factor for low self-esteem as it erupts negative emotions resulting in negative feelings about oneself, making a person feel less than.
I have compared self-abuse to a termite because, it not only could make a person feel dis-empowered and erode one’s self-esteem, if the self-critic is left unchecked, it could prove to be detrimental to one’s mental health in the long run, as it has the potential of creating a vacuum within, making one feel hopeless and powerless to take any positive step to move forward or to improve one’s life (or any one aspect thereof), resulting in no change in their current circumstances, which in turn perpetuates the cycle of feeling stuck, leading to prolonged sadness which could eventually cause depression.
Abuse isn’t just about physically damaging ourselves with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, or other toxic materials. It’s the day to day, thought patterns, self-talk, and actions/reactions that contribute to self-abuse.
For example, How many times have you called yourself, fat, ugly, dumb, or stupid? How many times have you hated yourself for over-reaction? How many times have you come in your own way and told yourself, “I can’t achieve that”? How many times have you reprimanded yourself for saying something that was a bit out of character? How many times have you mentally traumatized yourself when someone did not return greetings?
How many times have you stripped your own confidence by buying others judgements of you and telling yourself, “I am not good enough” I am not worthy” “I don’t deserve it” I don’t have it in me, what it takes to be there” “I am fat” “I look ugly”? How many times have you compared yourself with others to measure your self worth, “he is better than me” “I am not as good as her” “she is more talented”?
These are all forms of self-abuse! It comes up in the form of self-criticism or when we expect perfectionism from ourselves.
We’ve heard of a ‘Nagging Partner’ or a ‘Nagging parent’, but never paid attention to our Nagging-Self!
We all are growing everyday mentally, and emotionally. Every time you think you made a mistake, don’t beat yourself up, breathe and remind yourself, that it is okay to make mistakes; because only when we make mistakes, we know better, learn better, perform better and become better. Every time you catch yourself indulging in self-abuse, STOP IT and turn around the statements.
Let’s look at one thought, and see how stopping the self-critic and turning around negative thoughts to the better feeling/positive thoughts could help a person.
“I am fat” turn it around (realistic and closest possible), “I have a healthy body” or “My body may not be in a good shape as of today, but I’ll get there” “I accept my body & I know it could do better”.
Recognising the fact ‘the body is currently big’ and not judging it as fat or ugly, will not generate negative emotions or feelings within, rather give much needed impetus to a person to start taking the right actions, such as exercising and eating mindfully.
It’s important to understand, just like a child doesn’t jump classes and reach college in one week or a month or a year, emotional and mental strength isn’t reached to great levels, overnight. It’s a gradual process which takes acknowledgment of self-abuse, many years experiences, knowledge of the right steps to overcome it, applied knowledge and regular practice.
Empower yourself emotionally and mentally, and only then you’d be able to empower your children, or others around you.