I love positive “self” compound words: self-love, self-confidence, self-awareness, self-esteem, self-acceptance and so on. I appreciate these because of the experience I’ve had with that other self-word: self-sabotage. Living a conscious life means understanding that in spite of our best intentions, each of us will sometimes sabotage ourselves. When this happens, it is important to remember that growth is not always orderly and even; sometimes you take a couple steps back before taking three forward.
I’m not the first, but I certainly won’t be the last person to admit that I’ve been (and in some ways still am) a self-destructive person. Sabotaging my sleep and failing to take action are still behaviors I am working on. I´ve pushed away people I loved; to repeatedly self-harming with drugs and alcohol in my teenage years… I’ve been down this dark alley more than once. As I’ve grown, however, I’ve realized that self-destructive behaviors are expressions from our Shadow Selves, springing from low self-esteem and even self-hatred.
Most people have a variety of self-sabotaging behaviors that prevent them from manifesting the life that they want. The first step in overcoming self-sabotaging behaviors is to first recognize them. One of the most powerful self-sabotaging behaviors is denial. Denial is a defense mechanism that discharges anxiety and emotional discomfort. By denying there’s a problem we don’t have to feel bad about the fact that there’s a problem. Unfortunately, this doesn’t solve anything or make our lives better. It just sweeps our problems under the rug. They’re still there. Still gnawing at us and still getting in our way.
The real danger of self-sabotage is that it’s often subconscious. The behavior is so logical and natural to the person engaging in it that he or she often doesn’t know it’s happening. And the ego is also at play here. Most of us subconsciously work on our excuses before we set out to do anything, and even hold back (self-sabotage) just so that when we fail, we can protect our ego. Your ego’s primary job, of course, is to keep you safe. As you desire to progress, your ego is that small voice that keeps your foot on the ground – often pointing out what the reality is (one of the ego’s primary concerns). Your ego also is the one responsible for rationalizations. Unfortunately, there are no surefire ways to overcome your ego. When we understand our ego or inner critic for what it is and become attuned to what it needs, it can shift from being an abusive intruder to an empowering ally. But there are a few things you can do to minimize its negative impact.
Like creating time on the yoga mat and in meditation opens our eyes to see that which holds us back. Only once you acknowledge the old pattern, can you change that paradigm and create something more life-affirming. Yoga is cognitive behavioral therapy. You get immediate feedback on where you hold tension in your body and how you speak to yourself. These patterns become ingrained into our psyche. The first step is awareness. Then you can do something about it. Also with meditation, you can release unhealthy habits that no longer serve your Heart’s desires. That’s part one. Believe it or not, part two is harder. That’s where you know what you want for your life and you have to stand up for what your intentions are. – Letting go of the mind’s identification with you as a victim clears the space necessary to see that we are accountable for our own happiness.
I don’t consider myself to be perfect or complete, but I do consider myself to be determined: a warrior, voyager, and healer in progress. Like you I make mistakes, I feel vulnerable and fragile – but I work to accept these and hope to help you do the same, to reclaim that powerful, earthshaking wholeness deep inside.
“Overcoming self-sabotage…is one of the most important conversations you’ll ever have with yourself. Honor it and know that it will change your life.” Debbie Ford