Strawberry Fields – forever?
Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to: strawberry fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry fields forever
This beautiful Beatles song with its poetic lyrics I have borrowed years ago, as a secret lingo code with Mine, for self-harming and self.injury, especially the kind that involves breaking the skin, like scratching off skin or cutting. I have chosen a benign, even beautiful and slightly psychedelic song title for many significant reasons. One of them was, so those under My wings could safely and without fear of repercussions of third parties communicate with Me about this habit.
Sometimes these people were children and adolescents (usually children of My “vanilla” clients, meaning people whom I got to know and work with through My Shaman consulting practice, and sometimes the clients who do the self-harming actually regress, so that having an unrelated, and yet very graphic term helped Me building a bridge, we could all be walking over safely.
There are so much guilt and shame going on surrounding this topic, as it is, that there is no need to set up another hurdle to jump over, by using clinical or intimidating, or dramatic words. In no way, shape or form doI wish to insinuate that the classic song has actually anything to do with this topic, let alone would make people do these acts. I also do not wish to trivialize or minimalize the subject.
Self-harming is not a new phenomenon. Even the Bible speaks of ritualized self-harming, as a form of worship to “Baal” (1 Kings 18:24-29). Certain Celtic warrior tribes would cut before battle. be it to proof their dedication and fearlessness, be it as a sacrifice to their Gods of War.
Self-harming as a form of psychological stress relief has been described quite well in the recent years by Johnny Cash in the song “Hurt”:
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything…
The phenomenon is neither new nor rare, and by far happens more often in its many forms than the average person would believe. Usually, it is done in the privacy and a lot of shame and guilt come along with it, also quite some stigmatization. In some cases, the self-destructive behavior is shown off and portrayed as heroic, or otherwise glorified by the person engaging in it – in an attempt to paint it with a less despicable brush. In either case, there is quite some self-denial at play.
It may not come as a big surprise that I stand firm against any and all forms of self-harming and self-injury. My opposition to this form of self-bullying and self-abuse is just as vehement, as I am opposing bullying and abusing someone else. There is no theory, under which an act of anger, fueled by frustration becomes justified and right especially if it involves damaging the structural integrity of any person, especially a vulnerable, hurting person.
It does not make any much difference, whether the weapon of choice to cause the self-injury or self-injury by proxy is food, drugs or a razor blade. It makes not much difference whether we talk punching walls or head-butting walls. The mildest forms of self-injury, that usually are even socially somewhat accepted, are the “popping your own head” and people addicted to those trained behaviors will argue, these were “automatic, thoughtless actions” just as a smoker will describe lighting up a cigarette or an alcoholic would downing a shot: as natural and automatic responses, in an ill attempt to rationalize and minimize the unwanted and unacceptable act of self-harm.
I am well aware of the addictive potential that comes alongside the self-harming, and that there are components of the body’s own produced drugs, partially at play here be them adrenaline or endorphins among others – but all these technicalities should not mask the fact, that this is a trained behavior that can be and should be overcome. Even a substance dependency can be overcome through a consistency of effort, and so the argument, that maybe there is a drug component at play here, cannot fly.
There also will be the argument, that the person who is self-harming isn’t causing any external damage, or that they have consented to what they are subjecting oneself to, so what is the big deal. As you will see, I am no stranger to any such ill logic. Someone, who is as desperate as to take a weapon, or using their muscle strength to cause injury to oneself will claim that they are in control and that these acts of self-harm demonstrate that very self-control. That they know what they are doing. But if you ask a few questions more, you will notice, that the act of self-harming is done as to escape frustration.
Whatever is the cause and trigger may be individually different. What is evident in all cases, is that the person doing self-harm lacks the ability to process anger and frustration, and takes it out at the weakest link at hand, themselves. Instead of growing past the pain of the frustration, instead of processing whatever causes them to be angry, overwhelmed or frustrated, they keep feeding the very enemy that sets them up for failing. With every punch, every cut they sabotage their self-worth, their own integrity, and thus feed the very force that is destroying them. Problems don’t get resolved, they grow and the temporarily felt relief is short lived: it is a vicious circle
The ill behavior which is a coping mechanism needs to stop and be replaced by working and solid coping skills. Sometimes, we use a substitute to help overcome the addictive nature of the acts of self-harming and the accompanying sensations native to those acts of self-injury, just as sometimes drug addicts are given substitute drugs to break them free from by-products and ill side behaviors to their drug addiction, so that the person caught in the vicious cycle can get a better working chance to fight their way out of the unwanted, self-destructive behavioral pattern.
However, even when we do use substitute actions, we never bargain nor negotiate with the enemy (the ill behavior) and we don’t capitulate to it. We stand firm on what is right and implement the working solutions, step by step in a holistic approach. We do not just tackle the self-harming itself. In order to break the person from an addictive self-harming cycle, we change their habits considerably. We will tackle sleep patterns, nutrition, hydration and provide healthy structures to their life. We will be changing the way they go about problems, by slowly but surely teaching them to use different routes toward success at life. Instead of seeking short cuts and loop holes, we will build up their self-esteem and make them not shy from challenges: challenging themselves and growing past obstacles.
We will replace the failing and self-sabotaging behavioral patterns with working coping skills and instill a life-affirming working compass to help them navigate through even difficult emotions without getting off track. By helping them to find respect and self-respect we will manage to break them free from the trap of self-harm and all the lies and half-truths they have been telling themselves about it.
Instead of feeding the raging angry monster within, that believes in its own ugliness, and its incapacity to love, we will teach and anchor the universal truth, that where there is love, there is forgiveness. we will be planting and tending to the seeds of love in the inner backyard and repair the inner landscape that has been vandalized and demolished through often years of self-loathing and self-injury. When we reset, we set the sails for success at life, instead of feeding systems of failure. Because it is a principle of love and of nature, that even the worst crises can be overcome.
Strawberry fields, do not have to have a season all year, not even come into season once every year. And if I can help it, they will not last forever #StrictMotivation
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