Have your ever heard the expression, “you are your own worst enemy” or “they can’t seem to get out of their own way”? These statements are common descriptions of people who sabotage themselves, whether conscious or subconscious, from achieving a desired result. It can often be frustrating especially if you are not aware it is going on, like in terms of addiction or you are conscious of your behavior but cannot seem to control it. Many times we often wonder why we did something because we knew it would end in the opposite of the way we wanted. Like procrastinating studying for a final exam the before the test, knowing that you will not do well but putting it off nonetheless. This is self sabotage. You are sabotaging your results by doing the opposite of what you should.
Psychologist and author, Robert Firestone says that self sabotaging thoughts and behaviors are perpetrated by an inner critic we all posses,naming it the “critical inner voice.” This inner voice is not positive and often reflects self doubt, procrastination and the “anti-self.” This undermines our goals, stunts our growth as people and flat out tells us we don’t deserve what we are trying to achieve. Firestone also says this come from early life experiences that have molded us to who we are today. The negative we heard early in life, transforms us to who we are today. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can chose what thoughts to listen to, just as we chose what clothes to wear everyday. No matter the circumstance of our early lives and how they shaped our minds, we can chose to fight against that. Life is all based on choices, we can chose to listen to the naysayers or we can make a conscious choice to believe in ourselves. We can chose to be our own worst enemy or we can chose to be our best ally. The choice is ultimately yours.
Here are a few self sabotaging behaviors I see exhibited:
Procrastination is the assassination of motivation. It is the king of all self sabotage. It is the gap between intention and action and it is in this gap where the self operates. We make an intention to act but when the time comes, we make a choice to do nothing or leave it incomplete. We set a goal with zero intention on ever achieving it. Why? Because we perceive it as hard or too much or we are too busy. All of which is bullshit. If you wanted bad enough, you would of done it. If you want to drop bodyfat, you would of ate better. If you wanted to get a better job, you would of done everything in your power to get it. If you wanted a better life, you wouldn’t sit around complaining about the one you have. We procrastinate because we think tomorrow will always be here, one day it won’t and you will be sorry. If you want to do it, go do it. You are not too busy, you have 24 hours in a day just like everyone else.
We think of procrastination as an irrational delay because our reasons for action simply aren’t sufficient to motivate action. More accurately, procrastination is a-rational, without reason—because the real issue is emotional. Although we may know intellectually what we ought to do right now, we don’t feel like doing it. So we focus on short-term mood repair: Feel good now, worry about that intention later. Short-term gain, long-term pain.
With procrastination, we delay taking action longer than we know we should. In the case of chronic procrastination, we waste time that we can’t afford to waste. We can actually wind up wasting our whole lives. Make it happen.
When attempting to attend to negative emotions we often put road blocks in our chosen path. We “shoot ourselves in the foot” to quote a phrase, by ignoring negative feelings with food, alcohol or other substances. Food addiction is real and is different than alcohol and drug addiction because in order to live, we need food. Therefore, food addiction can be very difficult to attend to because we cannot shun food because that creates a whole new problem. I often find people behave irrationally nutritionally because of their state of mind, at the time. They have negative feelings and then use food as a medicine of sorts, taking to processed sugar and starch to make them feel better, which in turn makes them feel worse. We essentially try to deal with our issue but create more issues instead of tackling the issue at hand. This is the root of self sabotage. Many a client I have seen mask their pain via food. Some to more of a degree than others but it is real, very real.
Again, I am no psychologist but this problem exists, I have witnessed it. Being the problem solver I am, dealing with the root or the source of the issue is more beneficial than the site of the ordeal. At some point we all have to face ourselves and our problems to become stronger and better people. Masking our pain with food, alcohol, drugs, sex etc. does nothing but hurt us. Rise above.
Not Good Enough
The psyche is a strange thing. It can make you feel like you can put the world on your back and walk with it or it can beat you to your knees and make you afraid of anything an everything. The phrase, “I don’t feel good enough” incites a vigorous response in my gut. I detest when someone tells me that they do not feel good enough, no matter what it is. We have become such a society where it is shunned upon to be confident, that you can’t say “HELL YES I’m good enough.” It almost seems more appropriate to say, I’m not deserving of it” or “I don’t belong.” This is negative thinking and complete bullshit. YOU are good enough….for anything and anyone. There is always self doubt, we all have it. I have it. But there is also a difference between going after what you want and not achieving it and wanting something and never going after it because you don’t feel like you are worth. You are always worth it. In high school they said Michael Jordan wasn’t good enough either. In case you didn’t know….he is the greatest to ever touch a basketball. Case closed. Believe in YO SELF.
I have learned a very valuable lesson, if you want it go get it. As cliche as it sounds, tomorrow doesn’t exist and what you do today will ultimately take you into the rest of your life. Challenge the status quo and be yourself.