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  • Jess Nugent


Imagine if we stopped judging people's self-destructive behaviour and started asking why they are hurting so much.

Imagine if we understood that people don't inherently want to engage in behaviour that is self-destructive, but do so to escape a pain.

Imagine if we realised that each person is brought up differently, and because of this have learned different coping mechanisms.

Some of us learn destructive coping mechanisms because they were the only option available during a difficult time.

Destructive coping mechanisms are addictive and are difficult to unlearn after trauma.

Destructive coping mechanisms are the smoke, when what needs to be addressed is the fire causing that smoke. Imagine if we wanted to find the fire.

Imagine we understood that a level of self-respect is required to unlearn or grasp constructive coping mechanisms, and that trauma & excruciating pain can obliterate our respect for ourselves.

Imagine if we could accept that we cannot shame people into change. That change and growth come from love and support, from others and from ourselves.

Making mistakes or using the only tools we had within reach during dark times does not make us bad people. They make us human, humans who were just trying to survive during tough circumstances.

Self-awareness and self-respect are learned, and are easier for some than others. This does not mean those who struggle with this deserve harsh judgement. This is only harmful and pushes those who struggle further into darkness.

Judgement creates silence.

People cannot talk until they feel safe to do so, unconditionally.

There is not always a fast way to extinguish the fire that is pain and trauma. But talking and learning about healthy coping mechanisms can help.

It can be frustrating when people don't immediately leap onto healthier ways to manage their pain. Building confidence and self-respect is the bridge, and a helping hand makes the journey easier.

Whether that be a therapist, a friend, a partner.

The way in which we are or were treated can be internalised. It's ironic that we know ourselves better than anyone, but the words of others can completely undermine everything we know to be true in a second.

Even when we understand that the nasty things people say are often projections of their own feelings of pain.

When the people who we feel are our safe space cast judgements and labels, they hurt. They can crumble our sense of self-worth, the self-worth that is fundamentally required to pick up those pieces and re-build.

It may feel impossible to re-build, but it isn't. We can surprise ourselves with our resilience and strength. Sometimes we just need to hold on.

Sometimes we need to work at telling ourselves we are good at our core. Even when we don't believe it, even when it hurts, or that little voice in your head tells you too much has happened, we've made too many mistakes.

It is never to late to start again. I promise you.

It is never too late to know you deserve respect, from others and yourself.

It is never too late to decide you won't tolerate what you may have tolerated in the past. Even if those boundaries turn people away, you are turning away people who may have benefitted from a lack of boundaries. Those aren't your people.

The people who can help you grow into who you want to be, they want you to respect yourself.

Imagine where we could be in a year if we decided to embark on the journey to a better relationship with ourselves today.

Imagine if we seemed help to find the fire and worked on ways to stop those flames burning holes in our future.

Speaking to a therapist helped do this for me.

Sending love & strength,

J x

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