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The One Word That Helps Me Combat Self-Abuse

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“You’re worthless. You’re useless. You’ll never amount to anything. No one is ever going to love you. You’re disgusting and pathetic. You don’t belong.”

If someone said this to your friends, I imagine most of us would get up in arms and defend them. I hope if someone spoke these words to you, you’d cut that person, and that toxicity, out of your life.

But what happens when the one who spouts all of this is you?

I’ve looked in the mirror and said every single one of these things to myself. I’ve berated myself for not being smart, loving, beautiful, worthy and much more. I’ve mentally cut myself so deeply, I’ve curled up into a ball and sobbed. It hurt and, I’m not going to lie, it has led me towards suicidal thoughts. How can you not feel that way when you’re ripping yourself apart from the inside and you, yourself, insist you’re not worthy of life?

I imagine all of us go through this kind of self-abuse to some extent. It’s hard to get away from it, though, when it comes from you. I didn’t even realize how self-deprecating I was until my therapist asked me to write down my feelings when I stress ate.

And then she made me read it out loud to her.

I cried.

The words were so malicious. I knew I would never say that to someone else, so why did I think it was OK to say that about myself? I struggle with anxiety and depression, so it’s even more important I work towards fighting against self-abuse. It’s difficult to find the beauty and worth inside yourself when your mind is screaming that you don’t belong.

Some of the best advice I can give you is to say one word: No.

When your mind claims, “You’re worthless,” you say, “No.” When you think, “You’re disgusting and pathetic,” you shout back, “No!”

This silent battle wages inside of all of us, but we have the strength to fight back. I used to drink in all of my negative thoughts and truly believed I was worthless. Over the years, I’ve learned to say “no” to those thoughts when they spring up. You can’t see it. I might be having a casual conversation with a friend, while inwardly, I’m screaming, “No, no, no!” at myself each time a negative thought comes up. It’s exhausting, but the more you do it, the more it works.

Soon, those thoughts start to dissipate. Even when they do arise, you fight back and remind yourself that you are worthy. You belong. Don’t allow yourself to become your own worst enemy. Society does enough to make us beat ourselves down. Learning to love yourself is one of the most difficult things to do, but if you take steps towards it, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll find the light in darkness.

And maybe one day, the self-abuse might not come at all

Just say no. Don’t let self-abuse tear down the amazing person you are. And if you feel like you can’t fight it, then find a friend, or family member, who can help you. Ask them to remind you how truly incredible you are.

You are not alone. You can survive this and become stronger than you ever thought possible. Because you are worth it.

You belong.

Getty Images photo via Marzacz

Originally published: February 28, 2018
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