Self-Harm, Helping Others and Focusing on Your Own Needs
Friday, February 28 2014 Jennifer Aline Graham
I have worked in professions that focus on mentoring and guiding others towards positive behaviors. Many of the youth I have worked with have struggled with some kind of mental illness, disability or self-harm. For those who are in the same profession, it feels great to watch others succeed and move in a positive direction. It feels even better to know that you did something to help alter their lives in a healthy way.
Sure, it is important to focus on helping others. It’s great providing insight and ideas to those who may be seeking it. However, it is just as important to focus on yourself during times of personal struggle.
Sometimes, you push your needs away when they need to be first in line.
Focus on Your Needs - Be Your Number One Priority
Even being in between jobs, I still find myself putting others before me. One example is of my dog, who has some kind of disgusting eye infection. Instead of calling and scheduling appointments that I need to set up for myself, I called the vet to get my dog an appointment. I’m not saying what I did was wrong – he definitely needs to get his nasty eye cleared up. However, I have needed to schedule numerous appointments for myself during the free time I have had and have yet to set many up.
I have noticed that many recovering self-harmers show interest in the field of helping others. Numerous clients I worked with in the past stated they wanted to become counselors or social workers. During my years of struggling with self-harm, I too had similar dreams.
However, it’s important to be happy with ourselves if we are going to help lead others towards happiness.
It may be a cliché statement, but it holds true. For those who still self-injure on a daily basis, you need to focus on self--harm treatments and your recovery before you put all of your effort into helping others. It is human nature to care for family and friends during times of need. You can still show them you care by proving you are strong enough to move through your own hardships. You can help them by talking about the coping skills you are using and how they too can find ones that work.
When you focus on your own success, others will notice. That in itself is showing you care.