Caution: Potentially emotionally disturbing self-harm references.
The word self-harm conjures-up images of self-inflicted physical abuse. Arms slashed with razor blades and individuals plucking their own hair out. The pain of dealing with dark thoughts and emotions is so great that it is easier to distract away from these using self-inflicted physical pain.
It may sound crazy to those who have not encountered self-harm, but the physical pain of self-harm alleviates unbearable mental suffering. Suffering that is the product of painful experiences and traumas. Experiences whose memory is so unbearable that it drives one to harm themselves physically as a coping mechanism. And, pain and suffering can remain unseen — hidden behind the façade of a smile. Hidden behind the busy-ness of everyday life.
Self-harm can happen to anyone
It is easy to falsely believe that self-harm is something limited to the unfortunate few that shouldn’t concern you. What if the reality is that the many pressures of modernity deeply impact us all? Causing mental suffering that we hide, not just from others, but that we hide from ourselves!
What if unseen self-harm is at play within each of us? In how we constantly put pressure on ourselves to prove our self-worth. To prove that we really are worth something in a system that tells us that we are not good enough. A system that deifies external status benchmarks of “success” as the stairway to fulfilment.
In a sense, we are all one-step away from hidden self-harm because we are all humans living amidst the strange complexity of modernity. Only by becoming open to ourselves and our inner state can we notice our own suffering. How the many pressures that we shut away might be eating away at us inside.
Noticing your own suffering is the first step towards healing and empowerment. But, this takes the courage to really look within. To dare to look into your own mind and what is going on for you.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.