I think we all harm ourselves inadvertently. We scold ourselves for acting like a fool in front of others. We think ourselves weak when we oversleep. We long for things we don’t need, in attempts to mask our true unhappiness. We harm ourselves mentally, because no one can see the damage with which we treat ourselves. It has become such an immediate response, that we no longer question how we treat ourselves.
I tend to talk down on myself to the extent that physical symptoms manifest. Back pain, irregular heart beat, tiredness. As a teen, I didn’t make the connection right away. How can my mind cause physical pain? It’s easy, actually. Remember when you would have a stomachache every time before a stressful presentation? It’s the same thing for your other emotions — only, they become more permanent when putting yourself down becomes a constant in your life.
We’ve all heard the same old advice that You should treat yourself like you treat your best friend countless times. Maybe it’s too soon to call myself my own best friend, but I can see myself becoming one. I got my own back, but I also call myself out when I act out. But if I just talked down on myself all the time, my life would be purposeless. The voice inside my head would not give me a chance.
Now, my reason for not talking down on myself is simple: I want to accomplish my goals. I need the freedom to think and ponder about any kind of thoughts that come across my mind. There is simply not enough space for “talking down on myself” anymore. It doesn’t do anything but sink me deeper into a dark hole. It prevents me from making progress, and affects those around me.
I don’t claim to be free from mental self-harm, but it helps to have a very clear reason why I should invalidate it in my life. It’s not about being kinder to myself, because emotions can be a fickle reason to do anything. Rather, it’s about achieving my goals, something that I will always strive for regardless of how I feel.