Stop Hurting Yourself: How to Make a Resolution and Keep It
Self-harm recovery, in many ways, begins with intent. In order to stop hurting yourself, you first have to make a conscious decision to do so. That's the first difficult step; the next is figuring out how to keep that resolution once you've made it.
Resolving to Stop Hurting Yourself
Deciding to stop hurting yourself is easier said than done. I mean that quite literally—it's one thing to say, whether to yourself or someone else, that you're going to quit. It's another thing entirely to mean it—and to stick to it.
If you're thinking about stopping, even if it's only a fleeting thought that flits across your consciousness now and again, that's a good thing. Those thoughts are seeds; plant them, water them, and help them grow.
Let yourself fantasize about what life would be like without self-harm. Imagine feeling comfortable in your skin, not worried about your wounds giving you away, or feeling the urge to destroy every blemish (real or imagined) that mars your appearance. Picture your skin healing; put yourself in the shoes of a version of you that doesn't feel the need to self-injure. Focus on the good that self-harm recovery will bring and the reasons you want to get better.
Really get to know your "why." Once you do, hold onto it with everything you've got. It's going to be your compass throughout the recovery process.
Keeping Your Resolution to Stop Hurting Yourself
A decision is a momentary thing; deciding to stop hurting yourself takes only a handful of heartbeats at most. But it's a decision you have to make again and again; that's the secret to keeping resolutions such as this. This is why you need to know your "why"—so that every time you're tempted to forget your resolution, you can use that "why" to bolster your resolve.
Sometimes, for some people, the urge to hurt themselves is too strong. It's okay if you relapse—you still have your "why," and it will help you get back on track. (Hint: If it doesn't, you may need to reexamine it. The reason you've been holding onto may not be your true or your only reason to pursue recovery.)
Keep in mind, however, that your "why" is not the end-all, be-all of your recovery toolkit. You'll need other coping mechanisms as well. I can't tell you the precise ones you'll need; recovery is different for everybody. But my "why" was one of the first tools I put into my own toolbox, and to this day, it remains one of the most important ones.
Don't just think about it once and expect to remember it always. Write it down. Turn it into a mantra. Create a vision board, or any other kind of visual art, to help you remember. Feel free to adjust it whenever and however you need to. Wear self-harm recovery jewelry if it helps.
In short—do whatever you need to do to keep yourself conscious of why you want to recover. Knowing that you have something to look forward to, in return for all the hard work of the recovery process, will help you keep going, no matter how tough the going gets.
Kim Berkley (2022, January 6). Stop Hurting Yourself: How to Make a Resolution and Keep It, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, March 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/1/stop-hurting-yourself-how-to-make-a-resolution-and-keep-it