When we talk about self-sabotage, we're not just talking about avoidant behavior or a lack of motivation--though, that is certainly part of it. We're talking about deeply-rooted patterns that typically derive from childhood. We can only defeat negative patterns one day at a time. Every day, we must be mindful of the pull on our psyche to be drawn backwards. It is helpful then, to identify the primary source of our disconnects. That takes time and perspective--which is why I strongly recommend working with an experienced psychologist (someone with a PhD in Psychology) trained in talk therapy. Having an objective third-party listen and give feedback is part of how we gain perspective. While talking to family and friends is helpful, it's far from objective. You'll receive more sycophantic responses than not, along with conditioned rhetoric that fits within the overarching familial discourse--or, the established family-narrative. And, while there's nothing wrong with hearing what you want to hear once in a while, understanding the truth is the only way for you to move forward.
When a pattern of self-sabotage is discerned as an adult, it is because we have our own disconnects. Our disconnects are our responsibility--no one else can really know how you feel or what you think, except you. Therefore, you are the only one with the power to make effective change in both your heart and your head. Perhaps your self-sabotage streak comes from a single traumatic event from your past, or an accumulation of traumas. Perhaps it was abuse from a parent or family member, but that's not always the case. Sometimes, interactions with a teacher or peer triggers a sense of self-loathing. Maybe it was a childhood event where we ourselves perceive we did something wrong and it was never addressed properly. Everything in childhood is magnified because we are new, so every new thing we learn during that time is profound. Though abuse is often part of the self-sabotage equation, it's not always the reason we find ourselves unable to escape what is an entirely self-destructive pattern of thinking and behavior. Our genes may also have something to do with it.
#MentalHealthMatters is trending on social media today. And, it really does. Matter, that is. Our psyche drives everything--from our choice of friends and lovers, to the careers we choose (or don't choose, as the case may be), to our ability to maintain relationships, including our sense of confidence and self-worth. In other words, every success or failure we have is because of what's happening in our heads. When we devalue or deprioritize our mental health, we are devaluing and deprioritizing ourselves. That's part of self-sabotage and is a big red flag for an individual to get professional help. Medication is one of the first things you'll be offered in a doctor's office, but I'd encourage you to try talk therapy first to learn what the actual problem may be. Understanding your context will help you deal with the problem--a problem that will be with you for your lifetime. Medication can help you regain balance in your brain chemistry, but don't fall into the trap that taking a pill will solve everything. It never does. Only YOU can solve your problems. But, in order to do that, you first have to know what the problem is and where it comes from.
Our parents aren't us and we are not them. Yes, we are influenced by one or both parents. But it is not always a parent's influence that drives us to hurt ourselves. Sometimes, it's thanks to a genetic predisposition to certain forms of mental illness. Your parents may not be effected at all, but you are. No matter how good your childhood was or how supportive your parents may be, you still feel miserable about your life and still can't seem to break through certain barriers--like obtaining an education in order to work smarter not harder. Or, always feeling like whatever love-relationship you have isn't good enough--because you don't feel good enough. You find yourself angry and resentful of people who have done nothing to you except be there for you, love you, and encourage you to be your best self. No one is perfect, of course. Spouses and partner are only human. Parents are only human. Each of us was once a child of other parents, who were also once children themselves. We are each of us is made up of the influences from generations of people. Your parents are just the most immediate influence on you, but not always the most profound. Something to remember in your continued efforts to avoid self-sabotage. Even if your parents were vacant and ineffective people who did not love or want you, abandoning you perhaps emotionally and physically--you still exist. And it is you who must take responsibility for your own life. That means remembering you are in charge. No one else. So, when you find yourself sabotaging things like professional and personal opportunities that would make your life better, the "problem," no matter where it started, is with you.
Part of the insidious nature of self-sabotage is that we tend to unwittingly make life-decisions, like who we marry, that insure the continuation of failure, of drama and of trauma. Yes, social disadvantages really exist that sabotage you, too, but I'm talking about your personal behaviors and decisions--the things that hurt or minimize your chances at increasing or improving your health and wealth. When someone befriends you, and you take that friendship for granted by disappearing from conversations or making promises you don't keep until your friend prompts you to act, you are 100% self-sabotaging. That means, you don't want to be around a person who cares for you. You don't want to build trust. You don't want to be supportive...because then, you might get supported yourself. Someone might care for you, even love you, and somewhere inside, you don't want that. YOU. No one else is in your head with you. Your thoughts (and therefore, your feelings) may have been influenced by others at one point in your life--and it's necessary to be mindful of that--but it is you and only you who can stop negative patterns, negative thinking, negative behavior, and negative action. By that same token, while you push away people who can help you succeed in life, you may equally embrace those who will help you fail.
You do not want to wake up in your 40's or 50's, and suddenly realize you have been betraying yourself for decades. It's not a fun place to be. And, really, really, really hard to get out of. But if that is where you are, please don't despair. I write about mental health because I want good people to have good lives. No matter how old (or young) you are, you can effect permanent change. Unless you're chained up in a basement or locked in a cage, you don't have to be anywhere you don't want to be. No, it's not easy to leave what is comfortable and familiar--I'm not suggesting that at all. What I am suggesting is that you recognize that, regardless of how difficult change may be, it is completely possible. And, probable, too, IF you choose to be mindful. Present. Which also means, choosing to be self-aware.
I make TONS of mistakes. Boat-loads. But I never give up on myself because I want a better life. And I KNOW that it is only me who can not only provide it, but create it. If the job market isn't being friendly to you, as it has not always been friendly to me, then you must seek out and create multiple opportunities for multiple income streams yourself. No one wants to hire you? Fine. You hire you. Be your own boss. All the efforts you would have given away for a fraction of their worth so someone else can get rich are now all yours.
Do you feel "fat" or "unattractive"? Start walking! Every damn day. It's free. If you really want to kick it up a notch, join a gym and begin doing weight-bearing exercise--the monthly cost is now less than what it costs to buy two meals at Panera, or five fancy coffees at Starbucks. And, some health insurance companies even provide incentives. You can get back at least part of the cost of a gym membership if you are willing to obtain, fill out and return the proper paperwork within the proper deadlines. The other benefit to working out or being active for an hour or more 5-7 days a week? You not only look better and feel better, you THINK better, too. Your confidence skyrockets. And so does your energy. Like everything else in life, you have to commit to being consistent to see your efforts (and your time and dollars) pay off.
Eating healthy has it's benefits, too. Find local farmers or farm markets that offer cheaper produce, dairy and whole grains. Give up meat completely. It's really not healthy for you, the environment, or, your wallet. If you don't want to go cold-turkey (pun intended), take yourself out to get a burger or chicken wings or steak once a week. Eighty-percent of our health and well-being comes from our food. Eating too many carbs can make us tired. Eating too much sugar speeds up the aging process in our cells, not to mention creating unnecessary fat deposits. Movement is a BIG part of our overall health, but your movements have less meaning if they're not fueled properly.
When you choose not to eat well or move well, you are choosing to sabotage yourself. It's another red flag, prompting you to learn the reason(s) behind your avoidant behavior. When you take the time to nurture your mental health, you can address any issues that are holding you back in order to move forward toward better health and wealth.There can (and will) be blips--periods where you stop caring. That's par for the course for most adults who have to balance work and family. What isn't okay is when you let long blocks of time pass that result in a decrease in your health and wealth. It happens. As I know all-too well. But when it does, it's very likely you are suffering from a period of mental illness that, if not properly addressed, will only get worse. And, I don't want that for you. I want to see every single one of my two-plus million readers from 133 countries and counting (so incredibly grateful to each and every one of you!) to be healthy and successful. No matter what you believe in, I believe in you! But, you must believe in you, too. You must take responsibility for getting healthier, for stopping avoidant behavior in its tracks, and putting an end to self-sabotage. Not just today or tomorrow, FOREVER.
There are nine months left in the new year. In the Northern Hemisphere, there are 60 days before summer starts to unfold pretty much everywhere--which means, less clothing and more time outside with other people. If you do not do everything in your power so you feel good when you start removing clothing, you are sabotaging yourself. Find out why and start using the strategies I've outlined in the last three months to fix it. No matter who's "fault" it is that you are not where you want to be, it is still you who is responsible for making change. Creating closure. Finding resolutions. Moving your body. Eating well. Looking for opportunities. Creating opportunities. And, staying positive in your thoughts. Because, your thoughts influence your feelings, which in turn influence your behavior...your actions. Your actions in the next 60 days--whatever they are--are what will lead to your future success or failure. Yours, no one else's.
A friend or relative finds reasons to say and do hurtful things? Know that the individual is self-sabotaging. Know that the individual is avoidant. And, instead of reacting, distance yourself from their toxicity. Anyone who chooses to see problems instead of solutions is a destroyer. If that weren't true, people would be prioritized over any "problem." If you can successfully separate yourself from the destroyers in your world (or those who want to be in your world), you are on the road to beating self-sabotage! Hurray!!! I'm psyched for you. My biggest accomplishments in the last three years all involve identifying toxic people and, whenever possible, distancing myself from them. It's huge. And I'm really proud of (finally!) learning how to say "no" and mean it. Life isn't perfect and I still struggle with self-sabotage each and every day. But no matter how sad I am, or how stuck I feel, I know that if I keep going, keep thinking positive, momentum is inevitable. At the very least, my body will be healthier. As will my mind. And, it usually follows that a healthy body and mind live a healthy life. Success will happen. It's the same for you, too.
Daily #Success Affirmations for the Next 60 Days:
1) Excuses and justifications remove my power to make positive change.
2) When I have an idea, I will act on it immediately.
3) Improving my health and wealth means improving my credit; I will actively address any outstanding issues.
4) Success is cumulative...I will commit to my success by not giving up on myself or my goals.
5) I will be patient with myself and forgive relapses without excusing them or letting them stall my momentum.
6) I will be kind to myself and not speak, write, or listen to negatives that hurt my confidence and self-image.
7) Unconditional love is only something I will receive when I give it to myself.
8) Happiness is a choice; I will consciously make it every day.
9) Even if the rest of the world says otherwise, I have faith that I will overcome every obstacle before me.
10) Every new day is a new chance to improve my life.
11) Being mindful is my best defense against self-sabotage.
12) I will remember #EMMA: "Everything (in) My Mind Awaits." Because, it does. And that means I will succeed!
Screen-shot these affirmations and say each one every single day. If you do that for the next 60 days, you will be well on your way to not only feeling healthier, but being healthier all around. Through these blog posts, we are not only unlearning the language and psychology of self-sabotage, we are learning the language and psychology of success.
You CAN do this. You WILL be successful. #EMMA is your trigger-word. When faced with any negative in the next 60 days, recall #EMMA and you will trigger the twelve affirmations above. As we move toward completing the first half of the year, we are moving toward being awake, alive, and effective people. We are moving toward SUCCESS on EVERY LEVEL.
I'm PROUD of you for choosing to stay in the world. You are making it better just by existing. You are not alone. I am here. And I will not stop reminding you of your potential. I will not stop encouraging you to live a better life. I will not stop sending light to every corner of the globe. I will not stop praying and meditating on peace and joy for others, as well as myself. We are all in this together. Connected. No matter what.
You are LOVED beyond measure...so am I.