Sunday, February 9, 2014

3 Ways to STOP Self-Sabotage

Artwork by Bazgrole
"Holding yourself back is an unnatural way of being. . . . It all comes down to belief and habit." ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Are you holding yourself back? Do you get close to your goal only to abandon it? Do you let other people and your perceived negative traits (your weight, status, lack of money, or education) dictate whether or not you will be successful? Many times we self-sabotage because we believe we are unable to control our racing negative thoughts, and even worse our negative actions. When we are in self-sabotage mode, our thoughts fall into 3 distinct categories: 1. It’s not fair; 2. It’s all his/her fault; 3. I’m doomed and don’t know how to change. The subconscious mind works hard to prove us right. When we focus on our pain, our faults, and the unfairness of the world we, on a subconscious level, remain stuck in the emotion of helplessness.
   1.   Make Friends with Our Pain
In order to make friends with our pain, we must look at what’s underneath. How are your pain and perceived inadequacies serving you? Perhaps the tenets of why we show the world just how wounded we are is subconsciously steeped in our fear of not being enough. Perhaps we feel unworthy of a good relationship and thus recreate the qualities of old hurtful relationship in each new one. Making friends with our negative thoughts is the first step toward letting go. Embracing how our pain serves us will teach us how to grow beyond our pain and eventually to release it fully.
    2.   Changing Our Inner Dialogue through Focus
Many people think stopping negative internal dialogue is difficult and that the mind is an entity outside of our control. The contrary is true. With practice, we can quiet our brains to get into what Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, Director of Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic calls flow. In flow, we are living in the moment, which is also called mindfulness. In this state, we trust that we are capable by putting all of our attention on the task at hand. We can also observe, without judgment, our internal dialogue. When we catch ourselves in a negative thought pattern, we can form a visual (a Stop Sign is a good one, or a floating cloud) to counter that thought. Where we put our focus structures our reality.
    3.  Taking Responsibility
Releasing blame can give us the gift of knowing ourselves. We cannot take responsibility until we fully know who we are. But bear in mind that taking responsibility is a practice like any other. Would we expect to magically shed 20 pounds just because we now recognize it is a good thing? No. We develop a daily practice of eating healthy foods and exercising. Taking responsibility requires the same level of practice. Catch yourself when you engage in practices that do not serve you. If there is resistance to a daily practice, ask yourself again how it serves you to stay in the emotion of blame. I discovered I was stuck in the emotion of blaming my ex-husband because of a fear of moving forward on my own. When I understood it was my own fear, each time a negative thought came up I envisioned it floating away on a cloud and got right back to what I was doing. 

Have compassion for yourself as you grow and change. Understand that moving forward can only happen when you see yourself fully and without judgment. Carlos Castaneda said, "A man of knowledge lives by acting not by thinking of acting." Become an active participant in your own success. Journal, meditate, take a class, join a supportive group, practice mindfulness, and most importantly, lovingly be aware of how you see yourself. When you view yourself as capable, intelligent, and worthy others will see you that way, too.