Why Beating Yourself Up Doesn’t Work
I spent years beating myself up. I thought if I was harsh and mean to myself, I could beat myself into submission, make my current mental state so intolerable that I would be forced to change. Instead, it had the opposite affect. The meaner I was to myself, the more I acted out… alcohol, food, unhealthy relationships- you name it. The truth is, beating ourselves up doesn’t work. It only creates more pain that we then desire to escape from.​More often than not, that looks like acting out in the same behaviors that we were ashamed of to begin with, We take another swig, pop another pill, finish off the cake, because it’s our primary way of coping with the pain. It’s our source of comfort. Soon, we are trapped in a vicious circle and our addiction becomes an endless loop of the escape we need and then punishment we deserve. The pain compounds and we collect another layer of self hatred with each addictive round.

​I truly thought if I accepted my situation or gave myself any type of grace, it meant my behavior would be permanent. I thought that anything less than self hatred would indicate that I approved of my behavior and that terrified me. The only thing worse to me than continuing my addictive patterns was being okay with them. So around and around I went.

How things changed

Eventually and painfully, I learned an inevitable truth about change. “The curious paradox about change is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change,” Carl Rogers. I learned that negative self talk doesn’t work. Hating myself doesn’t work. It is only through honestly looking at my behavior, accepting my circumstances as they are and offering myself compassion that I was able to change.

Spare yourself the pain and the wasted time. You are doing the best you can. Give yourself some grace and allow yourself to be surprised by the results.

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​with grace,