Suicide and Self Harm

Death by one’s own hand is always tragic. It evokes identifications with the unhappy person as well as contemplation about what circumstances could be that bad that death is deemed preferable. This is all ratcheted up several notches when the person is famous, is a celebrity, and appears, at least to the outside world, to “have it all”.

We might wonder about the lesser forms of self-destructive behavior, drug and alcohol abuse prominent among them. Why would someone choose deliberately, intentionally to harm themselves, to behave in ways they know to be harmful to their well being.

This big question begs big answers, and there are many to be had. The thought that keeps coming to me is this. Generally speaking, nobody knowingly or willfully destroys something they value. All our instincts are to protect and preserve the things we value and love. From treasured objects to precious relationships, we invariably act thoughtfully, gently and lovingly towards them. So we can say that self destructive behavior is expressed and directed towards something we don’t care for or about, something we don’t value or treasure, or love, this being our very own selves. Self-destructive behavior is an expression of low self worth or the lack of self-love.

To someone caught up in the immediacy of intense self-loathing, it seems impossible to imagine that it is possible to love oneself. But it is. It really is. It’s a matter of learning how.

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