“Self-sabotage is like a game of mental tug-of-war. It’s the subconscious mind vs the conscious mind, where the subconscious usually wins.” – Bo Bennett
I made a decision several months ago that I wanted to get a few things accomplished this year. I can recall stages throughout my life where I had made similar decisions and declarations. Those decisions would spur me into action and I would experience some initial success, but then something would happen that would throw me off track. I would feel strong emotions that would knock me out of the zone, my Codependency would kick in and I’d start to do and think things that would sabotage my progress.
I have done that dance a thousand times in my life. The problem was I didn’t know how to handle my emotions, my fears, my doubts, or my beliefs about being worthy or good enough for success. They would overwhelm me and I’d revert back to old patterns of behavior, because they were comfortable and what I knew.
What I didn’t fully comprehend was that in every man, woman or child’s life there are going to be bumps in the road. No one gets through life without having to overcome obstacles – no one. That’s the human experience. The difference between success and failure is how you deal with those challenges.
One of the biggest differences in how I handle obstacles now is that I learned to stop expecting perfection from myself. I learned that I was allowed to make mistakes and slip up once in a while, but rather than let myself go on a spiral all the way back to the bottom, I stopped the downward trajectory immediately. I stopped the emotions that were causing it and I forced myself to get back on track.
You can’t go through life thinking nothing is ever going to go wrong. That’s not realistic, but you do need to have a plan and you need to create a new way of handling those inevitable road blocks. That’s the difference between winning and losing. You make adjustments and you battle on.
If you don’t stop the downward cycle and you allow your emotions to become negative the universe conspires against you and brings you more things to be negative about.
I’ll give you a real-life example:
My birthday is coming up soon and every year my family goes up north to the cottage together. This year we had all agreed on a day and time, I booked off work and was really looking forward to it. My brother informed us a few weeks later that he had another party to go to and won’t be coming. He suggested the following week, but I couldn’t go the following week. He said, “Well we’re going to go up the following week and even though we won’t be spending your Birthday with you, we’ll be thinking of you.”
There’s a little more to it than that – like, I haven’t seen him since May (his Birthday) and this has been a family tradition for years and he behaved like it was no big deal and he had nothing to be sorry about. It was kind of like, “Nope can’t make it, don’t care about you or your birthday. I’ve got better things to do. See ya round.”
Being a student of Psychology, I know that people do what they want to do. Period. People may lie but behavior never does. If he wanted to be there, he would have found a way. It triggered those old, “Mom doesn’t love you,” issues and I was deeply hurt.
I walked around for the next week feeling emotionally abandoned by my family, unsupported, unimportant… very familiar feelings and I turned to my old faithful friend – food. I haven’t had a morsel of sugar in about 4 months. I haven’t had bread, rice, pasta, potatoes…. in months. What did I do? I grabbed a slice of pizza and some ice cream and started that familiar downward spiral, because I’ve been eating a mostly plant based diet and I’ve been at the gym 5 days a week for months.
On top of that, those feelings of being unloved, unsupported, unimportant and heartbreak, that I was sending out, came back to me tenfold. I received a couple of really mean emails from strangers on my site, my boss got mad at me and was giving me the silent treatment, I got the flu….
Your feelings really do affect your reality and I’ve seen it time and time again in my own life. I had to stop this before it went any further, so I did a few things to get myself back on track.
<I used logic and forced myself to realize that I am not responsible for my brother’s behavior or my boss’s behavior.
<I understood that these emotions are only temporary and will pass.
<I helped to bring my emotions back to neutral through meditation
<I restated my initial intention on paper and out loud
<I wrote out the following I AM mantras:
- I am loved
- I am supported
- I am powerful
- I am healthy
- I am strong
- I am a servant of God
- I am good enough
- I am deserving
I spent a little time with each one. Feeling the feeling that each resonated. I sent those powerful emotions out to the universe. I repeated this process every day for a week. I got back on purpose – back to the task I set for myself all those many months ago, by remembering what and who I wanted to be. That process allows me to expand into that space of being and to be receptive to that energy.
Afterwards I got together with my mentor.
“Why do you care what they think? He asked.
“It wouldn’t bother you if your brother acted like he didn’t care about you?”
“Nope. I couldn’t care less what he does. He’s not going to change what I do in the slightest.” He said. “You’re too cerebral. You need to get out of your head, out of your own way.”
For someone who grew up with loving, doting parents, he really couldn’t understand why I allowed it to eat away at me. As someone who was conditioned, from birth, that I was responsible for the behavior and feelings of others, trying to shake those belief is an on-going battle, but maybe it is that simple. Maybe if you don’t spend any time thinking about all those little nuances of hurt feelings, nice or not nice, dissed or not dissed and you don’t take any responsibility for how your behavior lands, because you trust your intentions, you don’t open yourself up to doubt and insecurity.
It donned on me, a while later, that when I am my most successful, I’m in the zone where negativity can’t enter. When I start to doubt myself, or feel insecure, that’s the window negativity and sabotage use to enter.
I’ve known my mentor for several years and I tried to recall a time where I’ve seen him down or doubting himself and I couldn’t. I realized that when you are self-assured and you have a healthy self-esteem, all those bumps you hit along the road of life feel more like pebbles.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net