That’s an interesting question!
I feel like when it comes to self-harm there are a lot of layers to unpack and it’s not just one simple thing. There are so many different forms of self-harm from cutting to burning yourself. It’s not just that; people self-harm for all sorts of reasons and I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people harm themselves with suicidal intent. Self-harm can be a way of dealing with highly distressing situations or to express the emotions that you can’t bear to deal with in the moment and can lead to the prevention of suicide as well (though there are other healthier ways).
So back to our question: maybe the word “bad” is an over-generalization. The answer to your question could change depending on whether or not you still self-harm, how you self-harm, why you like your scars and so much more.
Reasons that liking your self-harm scars could be an issue include:
- Romanticizing your self-harm scars and glorifying them
- Encouraging yourself to add to your scars by escalating the type or amount of self-harm
Reasons that liking your self-harm scars could be considered okay include:
- Seeing them as a sign of growth and improvement from a certain struggle (like battle scars)
- Viewing them as a reminder to break the habit of cutting
Self-harm is a multi-faceted topic. A lot of people who don’t self-harm can’t see why the person they love would do such a thing and sometimes their reactions to hearing about it can be damaging to the person who is struggling. There is a huge stigma against hurting yourself because self-preservation is a natural human instinct and the idea of hurting yourself goes against that idea. It’s also true that self-harm is a controlled way of feeling pain that allows you to cope short-term with uncontrollable emotions.
It’s not the healthiest way of dealing with things because it often does not get to the root of the problem, but it’s not easy to just quit. You don’t expect a smoker to immediately stop smoking when someone tells them that they could be at risk for lung cancer. In this way, the struggle with self-harm is equally valid. If you’re thinking about self-harming, keep these three things in mind:
- Why am I doing this: is there something else I can do instead or someone I can talk to?
- Can I do this safely without ending up in the hospital?
- Is there immediate help if it gets too far?
Hopefully that answers your question! If you ever need someone to talk to feel free to contact us through chat, text (587-333-2724), phone call ( 403-264-8336 ), or email. For emergency assistance because you are currently self-harming, call 911. Learn more about self-harm through MyHealth.Alberta.ca.
Lastly, here’s a question for yourself: what do your self-harm scars mean to you and is it healthy?