post written by: Angel Chernoff

7 Ways to Stop Hurting Yourself


7 Ways to Stop Hurting Yourself

Life isn’t always a smooth ride.  It’s easy to stumble and fall and hurt yourself.  But these bumps and bruises are a necessary part of your growth – you fall down, you learn something, and then you brush yourself off and move forward.

The problem is, sometimes you fall and get stuck in one place for too long.  You find yourself spinning and unable to move like tires clenched in mud.  This happens when you feel unsure of yourself, or when your intentions are tarnished.  You get spiritually lost, bound by your perceptions and stuck deep in a pothole of miserable thinking.

Here are some ideas to help you get unstuck and navigate the road to healing.

1.  Get back on your own path.

If you’re thinking exactly like everyone else, then you aren’t thinking.  And the real trouble is if you don’t spend your life your way, other people will spend it their way.

Freedom lies in being bold.  Use your head to listen to your soul.  Find the path that best suits your calling and don’t settle until you’ve found it.  There’s no rush; life is a continuous journey.

As you cut your own path, be honest about who you are and don’t try to fool anyone.  If others don’t want to listen to you, let them fool themselves.  It means they aren’t really concerned with who you truly are in the first place.  They’ll likely continue to characterize you incorrectly no matter what you say.  Don’t argue with them; they’re obviously infatuated with some idea of a person that isn’t you.  Read 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.

2.  Let go of what was never really there.

Not everything is meant to be, and you have to accept this.  You have to seriously sit down with yourself and come to grips with the fact that you were wrong about it all along.  It was just an illusion that never really was what you thought it was.

It’s one of the most difficult realizations to accept, to realize that you feel a sense of loss, even though you never really had what you thought you had in the first place.

3.  Forget the shadows and focus on the silver lining.

Just as songs are as happy or sad as the listener, a moment is as happy or sad as the person living it.  What you hear, what you see, and what you think depends a great deal on how you feel when you hear, see or experience something.  Your truth is in your mind.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”  The key is to remain positive even when times are less than ideal.  Look for the silver lining, and walk the line, step by step, until you get your mind out of the gutter.  As you gradually begin to feel better and better, the things happening around you will seem better and better as well.  Read How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

4.  Accept reality and make a plan to change it.

Sometimes life gets really tough.  When it does, the more you understand yourself, your situation, and where you want to go, the less upset you will be and the more motivated you will become to take the necessary steps to move forward.

The very first step of overcoming pain and sadness is accepting it; only after this acceptance has been established can you come up with a plan for recovery.  After all, the only thing you can do when it’s raining is let it rain, make the best of it, and make plans for a sunnier day.

5.  Start embracing your integrity.

When you’re stuck in an emotional rut, you might catch yourself asking questions like:  “Am I a good person?  Deep down, do I even want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so other people will approve of my actions?  Is there a difference between the two?  How do I actually know whether I’m fooling myself?”

All of these questions deal with integrity, which is all that’s really important.

When you do the right thing solely because it’s the right thing, knowing that there’s a good chance nobody else is ever going to know whether you did it or not, you are walking the righteous path of integrity – a choice that always leads to better places.  Read The Four Agreements.

6.  Flow, don’t fight, with life’s little surprises.

Life is somewhat unpredictable; stop fighting it.  Ninety-nine percent of the time life delivers the experiences that are most helpful for your personal growth.  How do you know it’s the experience you need?  Because it’s the experience you’re having.  The only question is:  Will you embrace it and grow, or fight it and falter.

If you can simply let go and trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, without trying to micromanage the minutia, you’ll be able to enjoy and benefit from more life experiences.  In fact, the joy and freedom this mindset creates becomes more beneficial than most of the experiences themselves.

7.  Finally do something with one of your good ideas.

Hopes and dreams can be influential and inspiring, yet if they remain imprisoned in your head you’ll never realize their true beauty.  Now is when you can take these hopes and dreams and give them a chance to grow.

Every moment of your life builds upon the next.  This moment is the bridge between the reality of where you are and the vision of where you want to be.  Reality is approaching you every second.  And the great thing is, you’re able to alter it as it arrives.  You just have to decide what you want to do with it.

Photo by: Stephen Poff

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35 Comments

  • Great tips Angel! I have made it a mission to do most of them, to really let go of the things that aren’t who I want to be (that I was taught growing up) all while getting on my own path and being who I want to be!

    It’s good to have a reminder of this, because sometimes we can all get lost on the path!

    -Ben

  • Every other week day, the thing I look forward to is your latest article. Angel, trust me, in this one you said things so beautifully. I hope to follow every bit of advice here, especially the point about letting go of what was never really there (very painful though). You both are so amazing.

  • Excellent post. If I may, I would also add that the reason why many people do not achieve their goals in life is because of their lack of willingness to move out of their comfort zone. It’s something something you’ve discussed in other posts, but I think it’s worth mentioning here as well.

  • I don’t know who you both are and our paths may never cross face to face, but I can honestly say I value what you have brought to my life. Every second afternoon I click on your blog hoping something new has been posted. I love reading every word and taking a moment to understand and appreciate all that you are trying to say.

    I have gone through years of anxiety and depression and only stumbled across your site of late. At first I was reluctant, I was doing it tough mentally and emotionally and had fallen into a dark hole. I wanted nothing more than to be numb, I couldn’t read because it meant I had to think and I wasn’t capable of hearing any other voice but my own. Over time I was hungry for a better me. You made sense. You made me want to think. You made me want to listen. You made me want to feel for better things again.

    Your site has been a breath of fresh air. Whenever I needed a reminder that I wasn’t alone, that life doesn’t always have to be so hard, that it’s OK to let it rain, not everyone who enters our life stays, that not everything we wish for ourselves is meant to be… your site has been there. When I would pray for a sign or feel like there was nothing more I could do, your site was there. When all I wanted was sit in a dark room and cry and forget the whole world, your site was there. When I would be sitting at work wondering how am I going to get through the day, your site was there. No amount of money, chocolate, wine or pills has brought me the clarity or peace that I have found here. It has been my cheering squad, my shoulder to cry on, my hand to hold and warm hug on a cold day.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Thank you for using my love of words to inspire me to accept, let go, embrace, challenge, breathe and move forward. Thank you for showing me the light at the end of the tunnel and being there to help get me to the better place I am in today.

    I wish you both enough…
    I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
    I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
    I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
    I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
    I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
    I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
    I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”
    - compliments of Bob Perks

    Please keep that candle burning… Me :)

  • Number two hit me square in the face. There’s a relationship I’ve been trying to hold on to, but it hasn’t really existed for well over a year now. Thank you for sending me the reminder I needed to read.

  • One word: Awesome!

  • Beautiful.

    Change your mindset. Listen to your intuition. And walk the path.

    Those are the keys to a life well lived.

    If more people could stop fighting with themselves long enough to notice, they might actually see that life is pretty wonderful.

    And we can make it even better yet.

    Cheers!

  • You both are my inspirational teachers. This post was great.

  • Prefect advice.

  • This morning I am walking through fear and quitting a job that is so not me.
    Today is the first morning I must face reality and live by my integrity. I am going against almost EVERYTHING and everyone my tribe has thought was best for me. In the end I stand alone and am only responsible for myself.

    I printed this column out for courage, as I move forward into the vast unknown. Thank you.

  • Thank you for this post. Every day I’m making sure to read your articles. They really give me the extra strength to move forward and fight for my honest existence. Little by little I am gaining more courage to forget my dark past and overcome my fears. Your posts are like bullets of postivity hitting me from deep within, and thriugh them I’ve found many of the answers I’ve been searching for.

    More power to you, and please continue to lighten my heart and mind.

  • Thank you for such a meaningful post! It’s been a rough few months and it’s been a working progress for me to accomplish these things. I need some affirmation and encouragement, and this was great for that. Thank you! :)

  • Superb post. Good reminder!
    Best words here for me are: “Hopes and dreams can be influential and inspiring, yet if they remain imprisoned in your head you’ll never realize their true beauty. Now is when you can take these hopes and dreams and give them a chance to grow.”
    Well said.

  • Hi,

    These are excellent points! I especially like points #2, #4, and #6. These are some of the hardest things to do, but once you get over your fear and do them anyway, you’ll end up a stronger person.

    I’d like to add the following:

    Point #2

    It’s true that “not everything is meant to be.” Sometimes, we have tough life lessons to learn. Unfortunately, you may need to learn some lessons again and again. Admit that you were wrong (I know this can be tough for perfectionists) and move forward with your life. We remember, when you depart the earth, you aren’t taking anything with you.

    Point #4

    I love the 90s! One of my favorite movies is “Reality Bites,” and yes it can bite, some of the time.

    Accept and bless your messy reality and think of actions steps you can take right NOW to change it. Acknowledge your part in your reality and forgive yourself. You did the best you could.

    Point #6

    Have you heard the saying, “Go with the flow.” Sometimes stuff happens. You can either become annoyed and upset or shake it off. I recommend the latter. Fighting against the current of life will only make your life harder. Let go and “bob” along like a cork on a lake. Trust that everything is as it should be right NOW. Learn anything and everything you can from life’s challenges — embrace them with open arms. Things have a tendency of working themselves out, sometimes better than you could have ever imagined. So…get out of the way and go with the flow.

    Please don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re doing the best you can. Lighten up and enjoy your life TODAY.

  • Two words: Spot On!!

  • I’ve had a tough childhood growing up and all of the above points reflect much of what I’ve been going through for years now… hope is a good thing :)

    This post gives me hope. Thanks Marc and Angel for sharing this.

  • To me,

    You said everything I had wanted to say and you said it in such a vulnerable, transparent way, thank you.

    As yourself I have suffered depression and anxiety which started in 2011. I was in such darkness that I really didn’t know how I was going to find my way out, but through meditation, exercise and stumbling across this site, which has been a true godsend, my life really has changed…for the better.

    I feel no matter what I am going through, whether doubt, sadness, feeling like I’m going down the depression route, I can always access Marc and Angel anytime day or night and find what I call ‘grace.’

    At this particular time is when I ‘REALLY’ needed this post. I thought after five years of living in an apartment where I had no peace of mind through noise and simple inconsideration from management, except receiving my rent payment, it was time to leave. I found what I thought was the right place, once we moved in I realized it was a huge mistake and one at this time I simply cannot get out of. Everyday I walk towards the building I see the mistake I’ve made and the huge regret. I’m financially in a horrible way and thought I had planned the move financially, but I guess not because we are now suffering the consequences of my mistake. The apartment doesn’t feel like home and everyday I enter, I want to cry and just move away. I feel I have failed not only myself, but my son. I feel myself going into depression and am trying my best to not sink there again, but I have only myself to blame for if I had stayed at my old place, regardless of the noise, I would have had money in my bacnk account to buy groceries and not have my son living like this. At this time, I tried to do the right thing for us and feel like a complete failure.

    I’m sorry if I have put this out there, I just felt safe enough to write how I’m really feeling.

    Marc and Angel, this post really hit home…thank you!

  • Great reminders, especially 1, 2 and 4.

  • Angel, thank you for writing this - it is a blessing.
    Your site filled with these posts are invaluable and so precious.
    What a truly great way to start off this Wednesday morning.
    This is a wonderful, thoughtful, insightful and very poignant post.
    It always amazes me, when I read your blog, I can continuously relate the ideas found here back to myself and my little life.
    EVERY post I read on your site helps me in some way to gain strength and courage to face my fears and move on with some of my dreams and “good ideas” for my life.
    Much love and respect to you and Marc.
    Brilliant.

  • Suffering, once accepted, loses its edge, for the terror of it lessens, and what remains is generally far more manageable than we had imagined. Thanks for reminding me of this.

  • Wonderful… You guys have been a huge inspiration to me this past year. Thank you again!

  • Dear Connie:
    One small step. Get that financial footing, one dime at a time. Set the goal at six months, then see where you are. I know where you are. I left NJ for Texas and graduate school. I had not one dime to my name. Every day was my last day at school. I got my financing 36 hours before I was going to leave.

    Think of it this way. You are looking for rocks to walk across the water. But you do not see many rocks. One can also walk straight across, because they see only rocks, and no water. Everyone hear is pulling for you, whether you know it or not.

    Take Care

    David

  • Angel: so well done. I see bits and pieces of another post coming together between you and Marc. To me, its about getting unstuck, and also how to continue the quest when you get down. Maybe you can stitch these together someday. Just a thought based on a pattern I see…

  • This is one of the best articles I have read in awhile.

  • Great list! I like flowing with life’s surprises and doing something with your good ideas. Those are two of my goals for this year. :)

  • Wow,everyday feels like a wake up call when I read posts like these. I’m with Neelam… It is one of the best for sure.

  • This message was really meant for me. Thanks so much for the timely counseling.

  • To: David Rapp,

    I want to thank you for taking the time to respond to me and with such thoughtfulness. Its nice to know someone else has been there and has come out on the other side!

    I’m going to look into part time job to get a better financial footing.

    Take good care

  • Its always been a life struggle for me to find happiness and peace within my self, mentally, physically and emotionally.

    A few months back I got into a relationship that I mentally and emotionally I knew wasnt right.

    2. Let go of what was never really there. Really hit home.

    I want to thank you for your continued inspiring posts, without them I might as well be a turtle living in a shell.

  • Awesome pieces of advice! It’s really a pleasure to have you there Marc & Angel… #2 and #4 are really for me and I am going to change my life with these .. I really never thought about ‘Let go of what was never really there.’ I was stepping back on shadows since a long time and actually there is nothing there.

  • @Me: Wow, your words are so heartfelt and touching. It’s comments like this that inspire us to keep writing. Knowing we made such a positive impact in your life means the world to us - no other satisfaction is greater. Thank you! I am happy to hear you are in a better place and the light is shining bright. =)

    @Patti: You are stronger than you believe. These first steps you are taking are more than most do in a lifetime. Congrats!

    @Amandah and Trevor: Great additions! Thank you!

    @Connie: Don’t beat yourself up; your heart is in the right place. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Take one day at time and keep your head up. We believe in you. =)

    @All: Your words keep a smile on our faces all day, every day. Thank you, as always. We love reading your comments.

  • Thank you for this wonderful post. #2 spoke volumes. I idiotically nutured and stayed in a false friendship. One in which I knew was destined not to grow due to our similar circumstances. I trusted this person and allowed my feelings to manifest. Ofcourse the trust was broken and I am left picking up the pieces. I knew there was nothing really there but I didn’t want to come to grips with it. Thank you for helping me realize that it was just an illusion.

  • Number 2 - perfect for me! Reminding myself of this has helped me move on in such a positive way. Thank you!

  • Flow, don’t fight. Go with the flow! Acceptance is key!

  • #3 and #6…so perfect for me!

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