'It's Not that Bad': How Self-Harm Stunts Your Happiness

January 9, 2019 Kayla Chang

'It's not that bad' is probably something you've thought about your self-harm. But that thought is limiting your happiness. Learn more at HealthyPlace.

Are you sure it's not that bad when considering the damage self-harm is doing to you? One of the strange things about self-harm is that we all know it’s bad. Rarely are any of us truly under the delusion that it is making us happier in any way. In fact, most of us acknowledge that it actively makes our lives worse. And yet, we don’t stop.

Why We Excuse Our Self-Harm with 'It's Not That Bad'

It is not that we are in denial of the unhappiness self-harm brings. Again, we are usually aware.

The problem is not blindness to the unhappiness. The problem is our willingness to accept the terms of self-harm, despite our unhappiness.

As destructive as it is and as we know it to be, self-harm does something for us. It distracts. It relieves tension. It acts as an emotional crutch

And at a certain point, we decide that something, whatever it is, is worth giving up a portion of our happiness for.

How Self-Harm Blinds Us to Our Own Unhappiness

Here’s a secret you don’t find out until you are well into self-harm recovery: you are capable of being a lot happier than you think.

We give up a portion of our happiness so the self-harm can stay. At the time, it feels like a reasonable trade-off, because really, how happy could we possibly ever be? After all, it wasn’t exactly happiness that brought us to self-harm in the first place.

But during that time, when we are actively struggling with self-harm, we can’t know how happy we can be, because we don’t know how unhappy we actually are.

You don’t know how bad you feel — even if it sometimes feels as though you can’t feel worse — until you look back on it from a better place. And when you do, you’ll be thankful you didn’t settle for what the self-harm let you have.

Whether it be out of desperation, apathy, or sheer habit, it is easier in a lot of ways to let self-harm stay in our lives than it is to let it go. It’s easier not to change. The effort may not seem worth it, especially if things don’t seem so bad the way they are.

But I promise, things are worse than they seem, worse even than they feel. And we can only know that by deciding once and for all to refuse further negotiating our happiness with the self-harm. 

APA Reference
Chang, K. (2019, January 9). 'It's Not that Bad': How Self-Harm Stunts Your Happiness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Author: Kayla Chang

You can find Kayla on Google+.

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