Breaking the Habit of Self-Sabotage

Breaking the Habit of Self-Sabotage

Today's "Marilyn's Musings" blog post is written by guest blogger, Susan Hemmings:

Who’s In For the Ride?

In the past summer I went to Canada’s Wonderland with my brother and nephew. We love the rides and I wanted to enjoy the thrill of the speed and excitement of being in zero gravity! I love rollercoasters and Leviathan is one of the biggest coasters in the world. On this ride however, the long slow accent to the peak was almost unbearable. With every click of the cars moving slowly up the track the urge to run fueled my panic. I had a choice to make: I could focus on the panic and urge to run and let fear overcome and overwhelm me or I could focus on the next stage of the ride and take the fear along with me. After all, no-one made me get on the ride. 

I’ve noticed this fear coming up again in my life. I’m not riding roller coasters, yet this fear surfaces when I’m gathering the momentum necessary to meet my personal goals. I decide what I want or need to do. I start doing the work. I’m moving along the track! And then, just like the being on the accent of the roller coaster, doubt comes rushing in along with fear. Unlike the roller coaster, I choose to get off the ride. I find a reason to skip the gym. I find a reason to eat food that doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t take my vitamins. I find a reason to stay up too late. I choose to sabotage my own successes. 

Self-sabotage (and the sabotaging of others) is common. Why do we do it? Is it caused by a fear of the unknown? Fear of success? Fear of failure? Fear of rejection and abandonment and shame? If people see the real me, will they still love and accept me? 

I think it’s a question of loving yourself. Do I love myself enough to keep moving forward despite what others may or may not do? Do I love myself enough to be authentic? 

For every force there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

So then, what is the opposite force of self-sabotage? I believe the answer is to lean in. Where sabotage is an expression of the urge to run away from change, leaning in is the opposite reaction. Lean in to your goals with as much energy as fear is urging you to run from them. That’s right! Acknowledge the fear and the urge to run then, take them with you. This is may be easier said than done. 

So what can help you strengthen your commitment along the way? 

Ask yourself how will reaching your goals impact your life? Start to map out the affects and changes that will happen. Think about the negative implications too. Change means loss as well as gain. Sometimes that loss needs to be grieved. Acknowledge it. Grieve it. 

I admire this in my husband. He’s not selfish, but he does take care of himself first. In doing this, he is better prepared to serve his family. As women, we tend to elevate the needs of others before our own. This is an act of sabotage. “Look out for number one!” does have some merit here. 

Who will love you no matter what may come? Who will encourage you to be the most authentic person you can be? Who will challenge you when necessary? These people are your team. Lock in with them. 

Making smaller commitments that will keep the momentum going. One way to do this is to make decisions for your actions one day ahead of time. I keep a checklist of my actions that reflect my values. I ask myself, “How am I going to do these tomorrow?”. I commit to an action that fits each value statement one day at a time. 

Some people make it look easy but, living on the edge of your soul and pushing yourself on is never easy. There is risk. There is fear. There is loss. There is gain and triumph too! So, the next time you feel the urge to get off the ride lean in harder. 

Susan Hemmings - Guest blogger.



Susan Hemmings is a spiritual mentor, personal trainer, and teacher of English. She has been involved with spiritual mentoring for 15 years. Her empathy and keen insight has been a guide for a multitude of people who she has helped both in structured and unstructured counseling and ministering scenarios.

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