Living a harm free life?

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Mike is the Service Manager at Gloucestershire self-harm helpline, which offers text, web chat and phone based support for anyone affected by self harm. They help anyone – people who have self harmed, families, friends, carers and professionals.Mike started in 2008 taking calls on the helpline before becoming manager of the service in October 2016


In my humble opinion (or IMHO as we get sometimes in texts!) living a harm free life is well nigh impossible. Go for a walk along the busy road, and breathe in toxins. Eat a biscuit, and take in some "hydrogenated fats" - the latest bogey food! Or how about a nice session doing yoga...mind your back!

I went to the pub the other day, had a couple of pints (Alcohol is a poison apparently), and relented briefly and smoked a couple of roll ups. Now this is mild self harm. It is socially acceptable, and nobody turns a hair, unless I lit up a cigarette inside the building of course.

Why would I do it? I know i am going to feel worse for the experience, yet I continue. It is a habit, and there are good habits, and bad ones.

Many wise people have suggested that we can form good habits, and replace those bad habits with good ones. Don't go to the pub, meet your friends for a country walk instead. Replace biscuits with nuts or fruit, and when you do yoga, or any physical activity, listen to your body, and be kind and gentle to yourself.

Self Compassion is essential for reducing self harm. Would you harm your best friend intentionally? Most probably not. Would you tell them off and hit them if they made a mistake? No. So, befriend yourself, give yourself a break, learn to appreciate YOU. Forgive yourself your mistakes, as you do forgive others. Appreciate the heart of you. This can be developed by noticing how your body keeps going with little or no conscious effort on your part. How you have learned to communicate, love, reflect, experience feelings both positive and negative. How you are still here, witnessing creation unfolding, and being a part of it.

Next week we will look at Self Compassion in more detail, with links supplied for further enquiry.