Hope your week is going well and you are enjoying the summer air ☀️.
Do any of these patterns sound familiar?
- My son is embarrassed to go to camp because he missed the first day of camp. Now, he is resisting going to camp for the whole month.
- I’m on this huge diet, but once I cheat, that’s it for the day.
- All my son’s friends are married already, and he claims he is desperate to get married, but he nixes every idea for reasons that seem so minor to me. I just can’t comprehend.
- My daughter doesn’t know how to swim and is begging to learn, but she won’t take lessons because she thinks it is too embarrassing for someone her age.
- My husband and I are in such a bad place in our marriage, but we can’t go for help because every time we start discussing going for help, we fight more.
- I’m depressed. I’m in such a bad mood all the time, and I’m hurting my relationships and I feel so stuck. I don’t believe medication will help me and don’t even have the energy I need to get to a doctor. And I don’t care if I’m hurting people around me. I’m too despondent to even care. Which is of course, making me more depressed.
- My mother is upset that we don’t visit often enough, but won’t come visit us, because we don’t go to her.
- My brother lost his job, so he started gambling with the hopes to make money, but consistently loses.
- (Last example! There are just so many!) I’m stuck in an unhealthy relationship and want to find real love, but I can’t leave or I will be lonely.
Let’s double click on these behaviors. Whyyyyy in heaven's name do we act like this? Why do we hurt ourselves and push ourselves further away from the very goals that we set for ourselves?
The answer is: (drumroll please!) because, often, we self-sabotage. Self sabotaging is “deliberately hindering our own success and wellbeing by undermining personal goals and values.” When we self sabotage, which is a quite common defense mechanism, we get even more stuck. We start to believe that we do not deserve the success of our goals. And we convince ourselves that we will likely not reach our goals anyway.
But Why? What’s behind that?
Many of us suffer from chronic self doubt (consciously or subconsciously) that overrides our feelings of success - despite external evidence of our competence. We fear never reaching our future goals. We fear rejection or ridicule from friends or loved ones. And we wallow in our own self-pity, often bringing down our nearest and dearest with us.
We self-sabotage to protect ourselves in the moment, while we are really hurting ourselves in the bigger picture.
While self-sabotaging is definitely an unhealthy behavior, I have great news! The behavior can be stopped! 🎉
Here are some ideas to jumpstart the process:
- Challenge your way of thinking and your behaviors while remembering to be kind to yourself. Repeat Daily: “I CAN do this, Shifi Lieberman!”
- Reframe failures as learning opportunities.
- Begin to notice when you are being overly critical of yourself.
- Seek out support- both from professionals and from your family and friends.
- Visualize your success and keep your eye on the outcome.
- Be vulnerable and honest to yourself and to others about your successes AND your failures.
- Speak out your fears.
- Acknowledge that what “other people think” may be interfering with your self sabotaging behaviors.
- Don’t get paralyzed because of the pressure to succeed.
- Stop telling yourself you will not reach your goals.
- Celebrate the baby steps.
- Stay as productive and busy as possible.
- Start a journal to self-reflect and build self-awareness.
- Record some mistakes you may have made along the way that you would like to do differently starting today.
- Apologize when appropriate.
- Thank and appreciate the people who are trying to help you. (I know that’s a hard one Shifi, but this is important.)
- Delineate a plan of action moving forward.
- Reward yourself and celebrate every little change.
- Stay positive. Maintain a positive attitude.
- __________ (fill in other ways you can help yourself move forward!)
Ultimately, no one is as good at being you as you are 😊. It might sound cheesy, but it is true: Get out of bed, whip up a grande latte, add ice if you like it cold, look in the mirror, tell yourself how awesome you are, and make the first step towards healing and reaching your goals.
You can do it! Today is the day.
Email back with your success stories. I want to be part of this journey with you!