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The Refiner’s Fire

December 16, 2022

In the pandemic, I was able to really analyze my nail biting habit. When the salons closed and then later when I wouldn’t go in for fear of getting sick and then dealing with the mess that the befallen Covid cases had to get involved with, I was able to restrain from biting and picking my nails and cuticles. Also with the help of my partner, encouraging me stay motivated with my financial goals, I’ve gotten pretty good at manicuring them over the past of year or so as well.

As I embrace this new me who has healthy nails and cuticles, and who is saving a ton of money by not going to the salon, I’m even more vigilant when I regress and start to bite and pick. In being observant and thoughtful about my compulsion when it shows up, I’ve discovered functions for this bad habit, as that is simply what a bad habit is – a function; a poor coping mechanism.

I’ve uncovered that reasons for this form of self-harm most predominantly include stress and boredom relief. I’ve realized that I pick and bite when I am nervous or uncomfortable, and have further more recently discovered that boredom is a huge trigger for me. I have for many years been in toxic work environments where I was shamed for not being busy, or for taking unscheduled breaks. So now when I have even 10 seconds of downtime, I get uncomfortable and fearful, and begin to attack my nails in a desperate attempt to be busy.

So much of our bad habits or addictions simply need to be understood, which is why my program of recovery has worked so well for me; we get to the root causes instead of band-aid series that only scratch the surface and don’t provide sustainable change. Applying what I have learned in recovery to other malfunctioned patterns helps me uncover the truth behind a destructive repetitive action.

When I am in uncomfortable or confusing scenarios today, I trust that there is a lesson to be learned. I remind myself that my higher power wants me to have an experience in order to learn and then grow from it. Without all of the hardship that I have experience the past half year with work, I wouldn’t have gotten to the bottom of a lot of my more damaging behaviours. Therefore, even in hardship, I can thank God for using me as an instrument to move toward goodness.

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