I’ve been thinking about the idea of self-sabotage lately, as it is something I find myself accidentally engaged in all the time. As I thought about it more, and why I do it, I realized there are many people who are affected by the suffocating clutches of self-sabotage. There are ways I think we can break through this cycle, mostly involving mindset shifts, which although doable, can be very difficult.
Before we talk about how to overcome self-sabotage, let’s talk about the TWO main reasons why we are doing it.
1- Fear. We fear that once we engage in the positive behavior (working out, eating healthy, waking up early, giving ourselves truly meaningful and restful downtime) we won’t actually feel better. Or, if we do feel better, we are afraid the positive feelings won’t last, so basically...why bother?
Have you ever felt this way?
-You want to take some quiet time to read a book you know you’ll love but you convince yourself you won’t have time (so you don’t make time.)
-You want to start that morning workout habit but you tell yourself you won’t be able to maintain it and eventually you’ll feel frustrated with yourself, so why start?
-You want to start that awesome (and maybe kinda crazy) business idea you thought of to make lots of money but you talk yourself out of it and remind yourself how dumb it is before you can even start researching.
All of these reasons for not doing these positive things or behaviors is FEAR.
Fear that there’s never enough time.
Fear that you’ll never actually change for the better.
Fear that you will be judged or outcast from your peer group.
Fear is a very real emotion that is usually based in completely fictitious way of thinking. Have you ever heard the famous Mark Twain quote, “I’ve experienced a great many troubles in my life, most of which never happened.”? Most of the negative consequences or bad circumstances we dream up don’t actually happen. The scary thing is, most of these fearful thoughts are subconscious. We don’t even realize we are thinking them but somehow they sneak in and wreak havoc on our would-be happiness.
The most important thing you can do for yourself to get out of this self sabotaging way of thinking and behaving is to realize it is FEAR holding you back. Not you. Your fears are not who you really are and not what you really believe. It’s cheesy, but have you ever heard what FEAR stands for? False Expectations Appearing Real. The way to identify you are living with fearful thoughts is to ask yourself the question, “Am I truly happy and doing the things I want to do and achieving what I want to achieve right now?” If the answer is no, it is likely fear is holding you back.
And the second reason we self sabotage...
2- We feel we don’t actually *deserve* happiness, love, peace, wealth, connection, or time to ourselves.
Be honest with yourself. When thinking about taking some down time to do something that you purely want and love to do; do you just do it? Do you do it and feel guilty about it? Or do you not do it because you’ve told yourself you didn’t do enough to “earn” it.
I know I am guilty of doing this all the time. I really want to go for a walk or bike ride and enjoy the sunshine, but I talk myself out of it because I haven’t worked hard enough that day...
Since when does a person have to “work hard enough” to have earned some healthy physical activity and time in one of our most abundant and good-for-you resources, natural vitamin D? That method of thinking is totally backwards. Instead of hemming and hawing about how I don’t “deserve” this “play time” outside because I should be working, I could just let myself get the amazing brain and mood-boosting benefits of getting outside! I can guarantee you if I did I’d probably be a ton more productive than I would be had I deprived myself of such simple pleasures.
I also believe we deprive ourselves of doing things like eating healthy, working out, waking up early to be productive, and doing things that make us happy because because we don’t feel we deserve the joy or feelings of empowerment that would results from these sustained positive behaviors.
This idea is perfectly summed up in my favorite quote of all time by Marianne Williamson in her work, A Course In Miracles,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Williamson sums it up perfectly. We self sabotage because our power frightens us. We are afraid we will no longer be accepted by our peer group and family if we show up as more powerful. And finally, we are too married to our irrational fears to see past them.
The good news is, there is a very simple solution as to how to start breaking free from our self sabotaging behaviors. (Notice I said “simple”...not “easy”.)
We must TAKE CONTROL of our mind and thoughts and replace these thoughts of fear and unworthiness with empowering thoughts of success, empowerment, gratitude, and joy. You can do this through:
1- Gratitude journaling. Gratitude journaling gets your mind focused on everything good in your life. If you do this regularly enough you will train your brain to continue to look for more good.
2- Affirmations. Listen to and say positive affirmations out loud and in your head. You can use the affirmations someone else has come up with by googling some or searching YouTube, or you can come up with your own. Just make sure they are powerful and speak to you when you read them.
3- Meditation and/or Hypnosis. The subconscious mind is a very tricky thing. In my opinion one of the most effective ways get it working FOR you instead of against you is to speak to it directly through meditation and hypnosis. You can easily find meditation and hypnosis tracks on YouTube.
4- Constantly exposing yourself to inspiring and motivating messages. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Personal Development (in the forms of physical books or audios) is one of the most life-changing things you will ever do for yourself. Stop avoiding it, and just start doing it, k? ;)
I know you want to stop this cycle of self sabotage. It is painful, at times debilitating, and can even cause depression or deep sadness. Recognize you are doing it. That is the first step. Then accept and understand WHY you are doing it, but don’t get stuck here. You will find almost any answer you come up with boils down to fear & unworthiness. Finally, take small, daily steps to shift your mindset. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you cannot beat yourself up into changing. Change in this area only comes from changing your mindset. You need to change who you believe you are and what you believe you deserve.
If you need more help in this area I highly encourage you to check out my ebook and journal, “Breaking Free: a no-nonsense guide to crushing negativity and living life on your terms”. In there I give simple, real-life ways to break free from what’s holding you back and start stepping into the life you deserve.
You are more powerful than your fear. Let that light shine and step into your greatness, babe.
💔Just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean you can’t be flooded with emotions.
👉🏻Just because the world isn’t ‘crashing down’ around you, doesn’t mean you don’t have legitimate reasons to feel sad, stressed, or worried.
You don’t need to be going through a crisis or something ‘major’ to have a melt down.
Sometimes emotions are simply overwhelming. Go to a safe space, 🚫STOP🚫 distracting yourself with your phone, Netflix, or your To-Do list and LET THAT SHIT OUT. 😭
Cry into your pillow.
Sneak away to your car.
Hide in the bathroom for a minute.
Stop bottling yourself up and containing yourself.
YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FEEL WHATEVER IT IS YOU ARE FEELING.
And honestly, if you stop running from it, and let yourself actually experience it, you’ll probably feel better, or *at least* feel a little more clarity around the emotions bubbling up. Clarity is powerful, and at least with clarity you can start making some choices that will help point you in the direction of your joy and away from your pain.
When you allow yourself to really FEEL your pain, what images are popping up in your head? Who or what are you picturing? Is it something causing you anxiety about the future or something from the past you are struggling to let go of? Try to really grasp on to the images and words going through your head. Let it play out so you can understand what is trying to Break Free.
--So what is causing your pain? Is it stress? What kind? Work? Family? Obligations?
--Has there been a sad event in your life? What was it? A death? A bankruptcy? A friendship that ended?
--Do you need support? What kind? Who can you reach out to for help? A friend or family member? A therapist? A coach?
It’s more than ok to feel your emotions, you should. But if at all possible, try to figure out what small steps you can start taking to heal your pain. Who do you need to talk to? What makes you TRULY feel better (not just drinking a bottle of wine or binge watching GOT), what TRULY MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER?
Maybe it’s going for a walk. Maybe it’s talking to your best friend, spouse, or therapist. Maybe it’s meditating. Maybe it’s making a list of the goals you’ve been putting off and starting to go for it. Maybe it’s blogging. Maybe it’s losing yourself in cooking a delicious meal. Maybe it’s reading about mindset or relationships or depression.
Emotions pop up to show us how on (or off) track we are. So if you are feeling low, like I was today, take time to listen to yourself and find out why. You have a right to be sad, but you also DESERVE to be supremely happy. And if you need to talk, I’m here....I’d love to listen. And if I can, I’d love to help. No matter what you may be feeling, you are NOT alone. ❤️
Do you ever notice how often we put expectations we have for ourselves on others?
We feel we should do, act, or be a certain way, so we expect other people to do the same. And here’s the REALLY crazy part, we expect them to behave that way even when we are not behaving that way! (Double standard much?)
First of all, we can’t actually “expect” anyone to do ANYthing.
We can’t control other people, we can only control ourselves. An expectation is the same thing as having a “should” for someone. Such as:
-My husband “should” take out the garbage every week.
-My kids “should” be more grateful.
-People “should” use their turn signals.
Yes these things all logically seem to make sense and are without a doubt courteous actions, but if I learned ANYTHING from Byron Katie’s absolutely INGENIUS book Loving What Is, it’s that we simply cannot expect anyone to do anything…especially if our reason for expecting is because we feel like they “should.” Having these expectations and “should-ing” all over others is a recipe for major disappointment and suffering! We cannot control others, therefore we should not “expect” anything from them!
I know this, and yet I sadly “should” all over myself and others more often then I’d like to admit! A very real-life example for me occurs frequently between my husband and I. We both do not like to cook. We both do not like to do dishes (no dishwasher.) And we both love to eat out.
This is a problem when you are attempting to be both health conscious and budget conscious! Many times by the end of the week I will have hit my “guilt-threshold.” Meaning, I have eaten out or just “grabbed a quick bite” or a “quick cup of coffee” too many times for my comfortability level, and I start to impose my guilt and “should’s” on my husband.
He will want to grab brunch on the weekend (he loves going out for brunch), and I will start laying it on thick about how we’ve already spent too much money on food from out, we should eat at home to be healthier, and how “if only we were more organized and responsible we wouldn’t run out of food and have to eat out”, etc.
But how do you think this makes him feel? Exactly right. Somewhat attacked, confused, and uncomfortable with my imposed expectations. Then I start to feel even more guilty because I know I am “sneak-attacking” him with emotions that have been building up in me throughout the week and are finally bubbling over. Now we both feel upset. Ugh.
So how do we prevent this miserable feeling? A few ways:
1- Stop “should-ing” all over yourself and others. Why “should” you do one thing or another? Do you really feel that way or are these feelings you’ve imposed on yourself by comparing yourself to others?
2- When you have an expectation, it’s usually fueled and backed by emotion. Try to realize that and take the emotion OUT of it. Instead of feeling guilty or sad or frustrated about something that results in a “should”, ask yourself; “Do I need to feel guilty about this? What if I just looked at this situation in terms of facts instead of emotions? Are the emotions behind this making me feel positive or negative (if negative, are they really worth holding on to)?
3- If you decide you have a meaningful “should” or expectation for yourself (that is hopefully fueled by positive motivation), make sure you apply it ONLY to yourself. Do not force your standards on others…again, it only sets you up for frustration, disappointment, and misery!
Put these practices into place….and you can start living The Empowered Life! =)
Have you fallen into the "expectations" trap? Do you think you could implement these three steps to free yourself from guilt, misery, and disappointment? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!
Do you believe in ‘signs’ or ‘nudges’ from the Universe or a higher power?
Do you ever feel like you get stuck in the SAME or similar types of situations all the time?
Do you feel like you experience the same types of personal struggles or pain over and over and you perpetually ask yourself ‘How did I let this happen AGAIN?!’
If so, you are SO not alone! In fact, you're pretty normal! Most of our life’s ‘road blocks’ tend to center around issues we’ve struggled with since childhood. My mother always used to tell me, ‘You’ll be presented with the same problem or situation over and over again until you figure out how to move past it or grow from it’, and she was RIGHT!
One of my biggest struggles?? Saying ‘No’!
And I'm guessing if you're reading this it's one of your biggest struggles too! Lately the Universe has been not-so-subtly sending me messages about how I MUST incorporate saying no to more things, events, and people before I reach my inevitable ‘crash and burn’ mode. This is the Merry-Go-Round I've been unable to get off of most of my life, where I put almost everyone's needs and feelings before my own and I try to show up in any way I can because ‘it's the nice thing to do.’
And although it really may be the ‘nice thing to do’ I have to remember (and so do you) that every time you say ‘yes’ to something you are saying ‘no’ to something else.
This may not be a bad thing because maybe you are saying ‘yes’ to a workout and ‘no’ to lying on the couch binge-watching G.O. T. for 5 straight hours on a Saturday. Or maybe you are saying ‘yes’ to visiting a friend you really want to see and saying ‘no’ to alone time.
BUT- if you are stressed, depressed, anxious, exhausted, or just feeling ‘blah’, I'm willing to bet one of the MAJOR reasons is because you are saying ‘yes’ to everyone and everything else and FAR too often saying ‘no’ to yourself and your needs!!
Like I said, the Universe has been not-so-subtlety telling me I need to start saying no a bit more is several ways:
• I’m tired like, alllllll the time and have started having wavy lines/spotted vision and headaches
• It stresses me out to even LOOK at my calendar and everything I've committed to lately
• There’s not much (if any) ‘down time’ or ‘me time’ scheduled on my calendar
• I've come across several quotes from mentors/thought leaders I highly respect solely centered around power of saying ‘no’
(Okay okay Universe...I can hear you now!)
Two of these quotes are particularly awesome.
One Lewis Howes shared on his Instagram recently is:
‘You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.’
And the other one from Lisa Nichols’ brilliant book Abundance Now is:
‘Exercise the word ‘no’, and remember that it's a complete sentence.’
Damn. That's some powerful stuff right there. And so freakin’ true.
•It's ok to say no just because you want to say no.
•It's ok to say no because it's simply the right choice for you.
•It's ok to 100% unapologetically say yes to yourself. It's YOUR life. You need to stand up for you and be your #1 advocate...it's pretty much the only job you can't delegate.
In my next blog post I'm going to tell you how you can start gaining the confidence to say no, how to figure out WHAT to say no to, and how you can say no without feeling guilty (or at least start to minimize your guilt!)
So tell me in the comments below, do you struggle to say no? What do you struggle to say no to? Do you have a close friend or family member that struggles with saying no?
If so, SHARE this post with them and tell them to keep an eye out for my upcoming posts about the life changing ability to say 'no’ more so you can start to say YES to yourself! :) So stay tuned!
Love you guys! Mean it! <3
Can I just be honest for a minute?
I'm really frustrated. I'm frustrated with myself.
I'm someone who has big goals and dreams for the future. I want to be a life-changer. I want to be healthy and fit. I want to be debt-free. I want to be a speaker. I want to be peaceful. I want to help others achieve their goals. I want to be an inspirer. I want to travel. I want to foster amazing and deeply meaningful relationships.
And yet, lately, I've let fear of what others think, negative self-talk, distraction, comparison, and a general feeling of unworthiness overtake me. I've been hiding from the world and myself. I've been hiding from what I love most; connecting with and making a positive impact on others.
Fear is a tricky thing. Many times we don't even realize we are acting (or not acting) out of fear. We just don't show up to the thing, don't reach out to the person, and try to fill our mind and our time with distractions. Hell...I'm the queen of hiding from my fear through distractions! My upcoming calendar is proof of that...I'm booked so solid I barely have time to think!
So what is the point of this post? Is it to therapuetically vent? Maybe a little...
I guess the point is, it's ok to have HUGE intimidating goals. And it's ok to be afraid. It's ok to want to curl up in a ball sometimes. It's ok to let people know you need help coming out of that tiny wound-up ball. It's ok to take baby steps.
One thing I've heard several times recently is that it's ok to let fear be a passenger in your car, but it is not ok to let fear drive. Fear may grab the steering wheel for a few seconds when you aren't looking, but try to get mindful and present and recognize what's happening. Recognize that you are not stupid or lazy or damaged or incapable...you are just someone who's learning, step by step, how to overcome fear. Being fearful of the ridiculously awesome life you are planning for yourself doesn't mean you can't have ALL the awesomeness, it just means you need to learn to "do it afraid."
You and me, we need to stop hiding. We need to call our "laziness", "lack of motivation", and "lack of happiness and clarity" by its real name: FEAR.
I'm so far from perfect...but I'm going to keep trying to step out. I'm going to keep trying to "do it afraid." I'm going to keep shooting for those amazingly awesome goals even when my own mind is trying to sabotage me. Because I can see you, Fear...I know I can't eliminate you completely...I might allow you to ride with me in the back seat...but I am not going to let you drive my car!