Do you know the fine line between self discipline and self punishment? Do you self punish? Condemning yourself for the mistakes and things you do? I can truly understand as the one who is hardest on myself. I have an expectation that attempts to elevate my actions each time I try at anything. I should improve each time. Yet when I fail at this, I tend to cross a line from my discipline, to a form of self punishment.
You see, I have crossed that line many times, my most extreme forms include self harm. Those are not healthy behaviors or traits, but what causes that? For me it’s that expectation and the inability to reach it in every case. When I make mistakes, I am incredibly hard on myself. The more the mistakes, the harder I am, the bigger the mistake the harder I am. Even on something small. I have self-destructive self-talk, and all I have done, the atrocious mistakes I have made rise to the surface.
When you’re in the face of self-punishment you understand it is inescapable. In fact there is a want for it. As if deserving it is something. The problem with even my own behaviors in this regard is that they often are very damaging. Mentally to physically, and the problems that can occur when other people are involved. You do damage. I do damage. It’s not pleasant to experience, and in ways the idea is a continued improvement on this too. I am no perfect being.
The hardest part of the self punisher is that you don’t realize from the inside that you don’t need to do this. You don’t need to feel the way you do. But you do feel it anyways, don’t you? The struggle to step from self and think in even a translucent form. For me it’s anger driven. For some it is depression. That self-talk and inward driven damage is the one thing that you and I must always strive to fight. An ongoing mental war of endurance to the highest degree. You can do so much damage to yourself because your brain was meant to balance arrogance and pride, but we’re overcompensating the other way.
While the idea of self-punishment is so close to self-discipline it becomes a vague line that is obscured in emotional states. You may not know you’ve crossed it, till you’ve crossed it, and by then it’s too late. Everything from cutters (self cutting), to self-talk in ways of saying, “stupid, moron, idiot, etc.” to ourselves is a damage to our own mental state against that ongoing war in our mind. You even over time begin to devalue yourself in a way that harms your relationships.
You begin to believe that kind of thing. You begin to believe that that particular voice in your mind as you being “worthless”, or “completely stupid”. When you begin to believe that you begin to shape that for yourself. Whatever you believe you will make true for yourself. That can only mean that the longer you stay in a mode of self-punishment, the more you will begin to believe, the more you believe the more it will become your world.
I never expect anyone to change overnight, even when struck by epiphany you would have to consider it, and make the appropriate changes. If you can learn to overcome your proverbial inner demon, you can enter a catharsis of peace and in a sense a harmony. However, do not expect that to be the end of it. Unlike the stories, there is no “happy ending” where there is no strife or struggle in the future. There will always be a chance that you may find yourself facing off against the inner demon once again.
You have to know there is a choice in it. To continue the existence of self-punishment, or to learn to let it go, or learn to direct it. The whole point in all of this is that you have a choice. Make a choice of who you will be, who you want to be. When you know that, you can have direction. However when you falter, do not do as I do, and be so harsh to yourself, learn to forgive that portion of yourself and move on from it with a better mind. When you’ve learned to do that you can learn to shape your world.