“Having a low opinion of yourself is not ‘modesty.’ It’s self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not ‘egotism.’ It’s a necessary precondition to happiness and success.” ― Bobbe Sommer
The Art of Self-Destruction
They say to write about what you know, don’t they?
Well, welcome to my Master Class.
What is self-destruction?
Self-destruction is when you metaphorically light yourself on fire. Perhaps you hold some low self-esteem, perhaps you’ve stopped caring about your well-being as much as you should or maybe you’ve just experienced self-loathing for one reason or another. The urge to whip yourself can be overwhelming at times, at least, I know it can be for me.
Is it healthy though?
I’ve been told time and time again, “You’re too hard on yourself”. Well, yeah. I am. I hold myself to a high standard and when I’m unable to reach my own standard I give myself the proverbial beat down.
Not only am I hard on myself, but I can be hard on others too. My high standards don’t apply exclusively to me. I’m just not immune to it either. I mean, I could probably do with learning how to dial that shit back a little! Yet, here I am.
There is no one right answer for how to properly destroy yourself. Self-destruction can take on many forms and I assume most of us are guilty of at least one or two of these acts on occasion.
Here are some examples of self-destructive habits:
- Binge Drinking
- Smoking Cigarettes
- Undertaking Risky Adventures
- Subjecting Yourself to Pain
- Promiscuous and Unsafe Sexual Behavior
- Binge Eating
- Starving Yourself
- Getting Into Fights
- Taking Anything Past An Unhealthy Level Of Commitment (Like Work)
Well, I don’t smoke cigarettes, get into fights or starve myself. So, wahoo! Three out of ten ain’t bad. Right?
To be fair, the only drug I do touch is a puff of sweet Mary Jane. Many of my bad habits come and go. I’m usually working on it daily. Though, I digress, bad habit traps are easy to fall into when you’re more focused on the bad in your life than the good. If you feel nothing but disappointment, anger or sorrow, that’s when self-destructive behaviors become most powerful. Sometimes, it can feel good to experience pain or some artificial rush of endorphins, over nothing at all.
I think that makes me a masochist?
I had even managed to find a way to make exercise self-destructive. That’s kind of impressive, right? Most people have to push themselves just to get to the gym three times a week, and I managed to push that so hard that in two years I had herniated a disc in my cervical spine at 30 years old. My obsessive compulsive impulses can be very strong. Perhaps, I was just using that recreation to hide from some ugly truth about my reality which I wasn’t addressing. It’s very likely as my demons have only recently been in remission, as I approach a stage of my life that I had only dreamed of in earlier years.
For that, I am grateful.
Sometimes rather than killing ourselves, we need to take a step back and reassess our lives. Why are we doing this?
Life is always going to be hard. Making changes can be hard. Staying in a situation that might be comfortable or secure but unhappy, is even harder. And I know for a fact that the second scenario tends to lead towards more self-destruction, or at least it had in my lifetime.
No one wants to be unhappy, and if we refuse to take steps to make our reality a happier place for ourselves, then we’re going to attempt to forget about it in some other way.
So, what’s the point of this post?
I don’t know really. Be kind to yourself. Be critical of your self-destructive behaviors and ask yourself if it’s really what’s best for your life in the big picture. Is there something else that you could change about your life to alter that desire for self-destruction? We’re complicated creatures. No one else is going to be able to figure that out for us and solving one bad habit doesn’t mean we’re fixed forever either. A watchful eye will always be necessary when observing our own natural tendencies.
As Russel Brand once said, “Be led by your talent, not by your self-loathing; those other things you just have to manage.”
Live from your heart. Treat yourself with respect. Be encouraging and even forgiving with yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay if changes happen slowly. Loving life has to start with loving ourselves first and treating ourselves with the care and respect that we would hope to show others.
How do you manage your self-destructive habits? What’s your secret or do they still pervade your life?