Failure, falling short, not wanted, not believed in, belittled,…even discarded.
Avoiding your reflection, impulsive shopping, eating too much, eating too little, promiscuity, pushing others away, guarded,…even cutting yourself.
Do any of these sound familiar? Someone you know, or perhaps, yourself. Self-hatred takes on many forms and has many levels.
One of the most misunderstood actions, is when someone harms their body. A fad, a phase, a cry for attention, whatever you may have heard on this topic, one thing that I know for sure, from experience, from the depth of the pain in more ways than one, is that is stems from the darkest place you could be at and still remain alive.
To hate yourself, is to hate your very existence. To think so low of yourself, is to think you have no purpose. To not be able to see past the pain, is to not be able to see a future. You feel trapped in a place so dark and low, that the only way to feel alive, is to the feel pain. The only way to punish yourself for all that you are not, is to inflict the pain. Then here comes shame. Something else you know all too well. The ‘something else’ that drives the self-hate. You cover up, take a deep breath, and try to move on. You try to climb out of the abyss to face the world and look others in the eye with a wish that they don’t see you for the mistake that you are, but a hope that maybe, they will see you for all that you could be. That maybe, they would even tell you. That maybe, hopefully, you aren’t as much of a waste of life that you already believe you are. That maybe, you are more. And dare I say, even have a purpose.
I remember those days. Some not so far away. When you lose sight of who you are, and you become what others have called you to be or what you have convinced yourself to be. Either way, you become. You make light of your scars, and create witty responses. Anything to deflect the fact that they instantly tell a story. A story you may not be prepared to share. After all, if you could have, you may not have the scars in the first place. Am I right? That was my story anyways.
The cutting served more purposes than one. It was a way to punish myself and express the hate. Having it bottled up with no outlet was more painful than having the blood run. If you cannot grasp this concept, I am really thankful for that. I do not wish this upon my worst enemy. But I want to give you a glimpse into the life of someone who has self-harmed. That it wasn’t a fad, a phase, or a cry for attention. It was pure pain seeking an outlet and that’s all. I do not speak for everyone, but I am speaking from my life, my story.
Why I went to that extreme, is my own personal reasons and experiences that are not necessary to share. But what’s more important is some insight on how I got out of the deep, dark, bottomless pit.
I remember when I began reading the Bible in my early twenties. I thought ‘Psalms’ was palms as I read David pouring his heart out. I read the words of him voicing out his anguish to God. He didn’t sugarcoat, he didn’t dress it up and rationalize it by the end. He was straight forward, honest, and ugly. He didn’t weigh the ‘what ifs’ of the responses. He knew God was for him, no matter what. It was safe, he was safe.
I was so conflicted in my emotions in discovering that. So much so, that I would cut after reading the Bible and would fall asleep from pure exhaustion. Then the next night, I opened Psalms, read David sharing, cut, and went to bed again. I don’t know how long this went on for, but I do know, that I started to discover more. Not through any one’s interpretation or opinions, but through only the Bible and our God who breathed it.
Slowly, I began to emerge from despair to curiosity. Just as a child learns to crawl then walk. It takes risks, you revert back, and then you try again. Eventually, you then can run. Even when we run, we can fall, but we are quicker and more able to get back up and take off running again. It’s not the same long process than at first when learning to walk. Such is life, isn’t it? Trial and error.
Love is a risky business. You chance a lot, you give a lot, you work a lot, and it can be just as exhausting as it is rewarding. Sometimes you think it may be easier to go back in the hole. But then, you remember the darkness. Love is light, Light is where love is. Only God can bring light in to your darkness. After all, He loved you at your darkest. He loved me at mine, and continues to do so. (Romans 5:8)
I learned a lot alone on my bed with that Bible and knife. I learned how to speak out, how to share, how to vent. I learned how to crawl, walk, and then run, fall and get back up again. I learned to take chances with Love, and let myself be loved (as hard as that can be.) It takes time, it takes bravery. Much bravery. But it’s worth it. My worst day with God is better than my best day without Him. Nothing I desire could ever come close to what I have in Him.
Don’t withhold your love. Don’t assume someone knows. Love is more powerful than you think. Love saved my life many times. Without love, we are empty and void of any thing of joy. If you love someone, tell them. More importantly, show them. When you think you’ve shown them enough, show them more.
“Above all, love each other ‘deeply’, because love covers a multitude of sin.” (1 Peter 4:8)
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Be kind to yourself today,