Thursday, May 10, 2012

How to Avoid Being an Emotional Cutter

Have you ever heard of teens who physically cut their bodies as a way of dealing with emotional pain? They are called cutters. They commit this physical act of hurting themselves as a way to focus; thinking that they won’t feel the emotional hurt if they are focused on the physical pain.

It’s not always a logical connection, but in many ways adults can be cutters as well--emotionally. Have you ever felt that “fight or flight” emotion? Ever felt like there was something you needed to do, but couldn’t get motivated to do it until you were backed into a corner? You know—not getting your finances together until you’ve spent 6 months close to being evicted from your apartment; or not getting a job until you’re so severely in debt that it will take you years to climb out; or quitting your job without having a new one because you feel like that will force you to do the search.

Holding off on making a change until the very last second is, in a sense, punishing yourself emotionally--like a cutter would punish his or herself physically. So how can you avoid getting to this point? With two very important things: planning and patience.


Figure out what your goal is, and then write down the logical steps to get there. Give yourself a time limit: can you do this in a week? One year? Five years? Set reasonable expectations for yourself and be adamant about working consistently toward your goal. You won’t see progress overnight but you will be able to track that change weekly, or monthly or yearly—if you stick to it.


And that’s where the patience comes in. Yes—you’re frustrated at your circumstances, but knowing that you have a plan in place to change them gives you the upper hand. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, just take a look at how far you’ve come, and then update your plan; this gives you something to focus on other than what’s upsetting you.

Have you ever felt like you were an emotional cutter? What other tools did you use to turn your frustration around?

Photo via Pinterest


Anonymous said...

What if you followed a plan, worked hand, sort out expertise, established a deadline and still your goal is not achieved. You're still jobless (except for a temp job) and your student loans are coming due. What do you do? You've analysed what you could have done better, you asked for help to be better at interviews, you've gotten your resume revised etc. And still 7 months later...nothing and the debtors will start pounding for their money. What advice would you give?

Kim Jackson said...

Let me preface by saying that everyone's situation is different; what I am speaking of herein is a state of mind--the action steps that someone else has taken may not work for you.

Additionally, things don't always happen on the timeline we would like. If nothing has happened after 7 months, maybe it will happen after a year; maybe not for 3 years. But if it's something you really want you have to keep plugging away.

That stated, our economy is making it difficult for TONS of people to find jobs; it isn't just you. So volume of competition is likely the first issue in your job search. Have you considered:
- hiring a headhunter or recruiting agency?
- deferring or requesting forebearance of your student loans?
- hiring a life or career coach?
- making your own job/starting your own business?

I don't claim to be a career coach, but I know the best way to accomplish any thing is to keep trying. So have faith--you'll get there.

♥ CG ♥ said...

I deal with physical responses to stressful situations, not cutting but just as habitual. For years I don't think it was even recognized by the medical community so it has helped to know I'm not the only one.

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