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.