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Holding Space for Self-Harm through Self-Compassion: Sitting with Your Younger Self

I wrote about my own self harming to self love journey in my last blog, today I'd like to go on a journey to support you on your own explorations.

CHECK OUT: Replay of our healing circle with practices and question for reflection in our living library #deeperhealing

Self-harm is a complex topic as it weaves into all areas of our existence. There is the root cause, the beliefs around that cause and how that manifests, with each manifestations connecting to other life situations and other beings. It is a topic that is often misunderstood and stigmatized. I know for many years I never said a word, I was embarrassed, ashamed and not fully confident I wouldn't do it again. It is such a complex issue that can take many forms, some of which may not be immediately recognizable as self-harm. While self-injury such as cutting or burning oneself are more commonly recognized, there are other behaviors that can be just as harmful, like unprotected unconscious sex, eating disorders, binge drinking, excessive use of drugs, working your self into the ground, piercing and tattoos (with the intention being to inflict harm or distract), spending in excess, staying in abusive relationships.....please add your own here [_______]

When something is used which causes physical, phycological, emotional or spiritual harm is self harm. It might have immediate results or unfold later down the line, or both.

How to know? Ask yourself the question: What is my intention behind doing this?

Self-harm can serve as a coping mechanism in response to life experiences, providing a way to quiet one's thoughts and redirect focus away from internal discomfort. When an experience, either external or internal, is perceived as unsafe, painful, or overwhelming, self-harm may be a means of seeking relief, particularly when healthy coping tools are not available.

"When I was experiencing shame or embarrassment, I would cut myself because it provided a release for the emotions I was feeling. But then I felt ashamed so it was followed by drinking and falling into the same cycle."

It is said that self-harm often has its roots in early childhood trauma, such as physical, verbal, or sexual abuse. These experiences can lead to a lack of tools for emotional regulation and self-soothing. Without these tools, people may turn to self-harm as a way to cope with difficult emotions.

It is a symptom of underlying issues that need to be seen, processed and loved.

Questions for Reflection:

  • What has self harm looked like for you?

  • Were any of these expression accepted by society and even encouraged (drinking, risky sex, binge eating etc)

  • What triggered your actions AND what did the self harming behavior offer you?

  • Were you offered tools as a child?

  • Were you able to communicate your needs and fears as child?

  • What may be a self harming behaviour you notice today?

  • 5 tools that nourish you and bring you back to center?

Caring for your younger self

Sitting with your younger self can be a powerful way to cultivate self-compassion and address unresolved emotional wounds from the past. By acknowledging the pain that your younger self experienced, you can work towards healing those wounds and developing a more nurturing and loving relationship with yourself.

One way to approach this process is to sit with a picture of yourself as a child, and imagine yourself sitting with that child. From this place of compassion, you can offer words of comfort and reassurance, such as "I see you," "I hear you," and "You are not alone."

You can also share tools with your younger self that you have developed as an adult for coping with difficult emotions, such as breathing exercises, journaling, or mindfulness practices. By offering these tools to your younger self, you can create a sense of continuity and connection between your past and present selves.

Ultimately, the practice of sitting with your younger self is about accepting and loving all parts of yourself, including the parts that may feel wounded or vulnerable. Through this process of self-acceptance and self-love, you can cultivate a deeper sense of resilience and inner strength that can help you navigate life's challenges with greater ease and grace.

Hope this supports you and I'd love to welcome you into one of our live circles (7 days free access)



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