How I Stopped Carving The “F” Word Into My Body

I Used To Cut Myself

That’s me in the back row, right corner. It seems like a life-time ago. And the truth is, it was. I was seventeen in that high school wrestling picture. Now I’m 37. Twenty years have flown by.

In case you didn’t know, I used to be addicted to self-injury. I literally cut myself—for years. I’m happy to say that it’s been 14 years ago since I last self-injured.

Growing up, this was a secret I hid from everyone, even God (turns out He knew anyway). I’ve since shared about my struggle with self-injury in books, TV interviews, and articles. I’m not ashamed to talk about it and every time I do, it helps others.

You’ll Never Outperform Your Own Self-Image

Sometimes people ask, “Why did you cut?” The answer is really quite simple. I cut, because I wanted the outside to reflect how I saw myself on the inside. I struggled deeply with self-image. I expected perfection and when I fell short I got angry. I simply turned that anger inward.

I carved all kinds of negative words on my body, because that’s how I saw myself.  Achievements didn’t help, because they didn’t change the way I saw myself.

Now as a coach, I’ve discovered we all self-injure. We all self-sabotage our potential. I used a knife, but you use something else. Maybe unhealthy addictions, negative thoughts, substance abuse, or self-limiting beliefs.

I’ve discovered that you’ll never outperform your own self-image. If you see yourself as a 2, then you’re not OK with the results of an 8 or 9. You’ll self-sabotage your results because that’s where you feel most comfortable and most in control.

Your Self-Image in Your Internal “Set-Point”

Think of your self-image as your internal set-point.

Self-image is like a thermostat. You automatically reset the external temperature (results) to match your internal temperature (self-image).  (Tweet This | Share on Facebook Post on LinkedIn).

This is why so many people continue to get poor results even though they say they’d like better ones. You don’t get what you want. You get who you are. Your external results are simply a reflection of your internal perception.  

You Are Enough and You Have Enough

If you’re like most people you see yourself negatively with endless self-limiting beliefs. You take inventory of all your obstacles, challenges, and limitations. After working with hundreds of people, I’ve discovered all self-limiting beliefs center on two core lies:

  • I am not enough (lack of worth).
  • I don’t have enough (lack of resources).

Obviously, operating with this story set on repeat inside your headspace produces a negative result. Check out the 7 most common manifestations:

Day Job to Dream Job Picture

Both lies (I am not enough/I don’t have enough) center on lack. Notice the result—you hide in fear. 

I want to ask you 2 questions:

  1. How long will you keep playing safe and playing small?
  2. Isn’t it time you stop hiding in fear?

My book on this topic (Your Secret Name) released 4 years ago. Although we started an international team of certified coaches and speakers and hosted many events, I kept waiting for the right time. Finally it’s here.

In a few weeks I will take the first group of people through Your Secret Name 5 week Journey™.  I can’t wait to help others discover who they were created to be. Together, we’re going to ask God to reset their self-image set-point.  True success and significance only comes when you know who you are and whose you are. 

If you want to be the first to join me on this journey, I’d love to have you along for this life-changing ride. We only have a few seats left. 


QUESTION: What role do you think self-image plays in your success and significance?

(Please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if you know someone who needs to read this, please encourage them by sharing this post)

  • Kary,

    My son used to cut. He was in so much pain inwardly he said the cutting was at least a pain he could have control over. Now he is part of a band who tries to encourage struggling students. By putting meaningful music in their hands. Thanks for your honest, transparent post. This is an issue others need to be aware of.