(Re-released from Feb. 5th, 2018...)
As I approach my WomanSpeak circle launch, some of the usual suspects show up, like resistance in the form of procrastination. However, I feel inspired and equipped to do what needs to be done, so I'm on track. Glorious!!
Don't things feel easier when you're inspired? What happens when inspiration runs dry and you still have something to accomplish? The lack of inspiration is a great teacher and catalyst to examine why we do what we do. It also can lead us into self-sabotage.
Self-sabotage is a wide set of behaviors that undermine our well-being and long term goals.
The awareness of self-sabotaging behaviors in not enough to stop someone from partaking, however.
Even when we're aware of our procrastination around certain tasks that doesn't necessarily lead to a step in the right direction.
There are some personalities and archetypes, that step forward out of their personal understanding.
"Just do it" attitudes don't work for everyone. I don't know why this is, but I see it in myself and others. We hear great advice from thought leaders and coaches, yet we can't seem to take the next step--let alone the big leap! There is a catch, a kink somewhere in the information-to-action line. Even the 5-second rule (ala Mel Robbins) can't un-kink the line in matters of deep-rooted resistance.
There also is the matter of identity. If we don't identify as someone who _______, then we probably will never accomplish the goal. This is why acting "as-if" and visualization can be powerful.
Why do we participate in self-sabotaging behaviors in the first place?
Why do we make room for our f*ck ups? Why not make room for something else, like freedom, abundance, and peace of mind?!
I hear a little word creep in that we all know: ego. It wants to keep us safe. Of course 'safe' means status quo and sameness in ego-lingo. The change we seek needs to be generated ongoingly and ego is not about this--it's about using our past as the driver for a false sense of security.
But the ego is not why we self-sabotage. It's the mechanism of sabotage and it's not going anywhere. Although, it can become the servant instead of the master.
What is driving self-sabotaging behavior? This question, for me, is a helpful inquiry.
I can tell you what has driven me (and still continues to). If you see yourself in this, maybe that is a place for you to look as well. If not, staying in inquiry might provide some answers. Choosing to be empowered from your insights is key. If you do nothing with your insights it's just more fuel for the ego-machine.
With a little coaching (okay a lot!), I had an epiphany around why I self-sabotage.This epiphany didn't strike like lightening. In fact, I resisted it. What we often need to hear shows up like bad news. This newfound awareness showed itself to me every day since that coaching session. It was the elusive obvious (a term I've grown to love). It became apparent that this thing was running parts of how I relate to my life and it was keeping me stuck in some areas.
Here is my elusive obvious: My flavor of self-sabotage is an attempt to avoid domination.
I had heard this before--that people either spend their energy avoiding domination or by asserting dominance--so it wasn't a new concept for me. But, there was something about SEEING IT for myself in my own life (it's always easier to see in others). For example, I mainly don't want my precious TIME dominated by things, so:
And the list goes on and on. This is self-sabotage and clearly it doesn't work. I say I want one thing (more ease with money and wellness) but I avoid necessary tasks so not to be dominated by it. It sounds pathological, and to some extent we all engage in this. And, we can't think always ourselves out of it!
Sometimes, I can explain away my avoidance as living intuitively, not having time, or some other excuse. But, the fact remains, I wanted to accomplish X and I didn't because of how I perceive something having dominance over me.
I'm sure all this comes from my past. "You can't tell me what to do." I may have been born this way. I may have been angry at even being born, who knows, it can happen. This is where my self-analysis stops, for now, because that too can be a rabbit hole of avoidance.
The payoff: what could I possibly be getting from avoidance and procrastination? Make no mistake, if you also do this, you are getting something out of it.
For me, this shows up as getting to be right. Right that the world (and people) are flawed, unfair, and pathetic--or something else that shifts the blame and responsibility elsewhere. It's hard to hear and harder to write. Do I really think that of the world?! Deep down, at times, yes. Not anyone specifically, but generally, I think the world needs to get its act together! We have lot of problems and a lot of suffering.
Whether my thoughts are TRUE about the state of the world doesn't matter. It doesn't provide me any sense of freedom, empowerment, or peace of mind if I approach life from this place of blame or avoidance of responsibility.
The cost? What does it cost me to live under the threat of perceived dominance? What does it cost be to self-sabotage? Ironically, it costs me the every thing that I want and cherish: my time and my energy. It takes a lot of energy to resist the things I said I wanted. It costs me vitality. I have often muttered, "I'm so tired of ______." (whatever happens to be stressing me out).
If you bring your body into your voiced complaints be very cautious.
Phrases like "it kills me", "pain in the ass", and "I'm tired of..." are costing you your vitality.
What can one do with the flavor of self-sabotage that comes from avoiding domination? In order to relate to the things in life differently, you can ask what is possible? This new mindset allows you to approach your tasks with curiosity instead of dread. You can set aside that you already know how a task is going to go and how you're going to feel. You can take small steps and make it as fun as you can. Any small step will leave you feeling better than you did before and create those new possibility pathways in your body.
When you act out of commitment, you don't have to check in with how you feel about something.
Your commitment will already be clear and commitments aren't concerned with what you feel like doing on a particular day. It is safe to yield to commitment because it knows the big picture and purpose; it has your back.
What I describe to you above is an ongoing practice. Hearing the words doesn't equal the work. The more you tend to overthink and attach to your ideas, the harder this work can be. I speak from personal experience.
In the end, willingness comes down to what you are committed to. Honestly, I think resistance has a beautiful purpose. It can show us what is worth committing to and what we can say no to. Boundaries may need to be re-drawn or maybe a commitment needs to be dissolved.
So, when you find yourself in a lot of procrastination, avoidance, or resistance, ask yourself:
Am I avoiding being dominated by something, or someone?
If so, what's it costing you? And how will you overcome this form of self-sabotage and re-connect to your purpose and possibility?
If you found any my story helpful, please share and/or drop me a line.