“I’m not smart enough.” “I don’t live in the right zip code.” “I’m not anything special.” Chances are we’ve all had to deal with these types of negative thoughts when we’ve been given new responsibility, stop a bad habit or implement a good one.
There was a time in my life when I would be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Have you ever been there? Something amazing would happen, but I just couldn’t allow myself to be in that happy space for too long. “Who are you to be happy?” It’s not a fun place to be.
But we don’t have to stay in this place. Below are three ways you can kick self-sabotage on its butt.
- Lose the box. That critical inner voice likes to keep us in a box and pigeonholed. It can be tricky and flood us with thoughts that are seemingly self-soothing. It’s easier, after all, to recognize an internal enemy when it’s yelling at you that you’re stupid or a failure. It’s harder to identify it when it’s whispering thoughts like, “You’re fine on your own. Just be by yourself. Have that extra slice of pie. Smoke one more cigarette. You deserve it. You’re tired. Turn on the TV and kick back. Don’t worry about your goals today.” This soft, parental voice warns us of potential dangers: “Don’t make a fool of yourself. Stay in the background. You’re not getting that promotion. You’ll only be disappointed and humiliated. Do you even want it anyway?” Listening to this voice may feel comfortable at first, but once we give in to bad habits or avoid going after what we want, the self-loathing begins: “What a loser. No one loves you. You’ll never amount to anything. You’re a nobody.” Life is to be lived. Get out the house and try something new.
- Fear is a Liar. Fear is usually at the root of what holds us back—fear of the unknown or unfamiliar, fear of failure, fear that our critical inner voice will be proven right or overpower us, fear that we will have too much to lose or that we will have to face pain or rejection. The truth is we are much more resilient than we think. That same inner voice that tells us we can’t handle obstacles feeds our fear. But in reality, life is both joyful and painful. The more fully we live and love the more sadness we are bound to experience – that’s life. Our inner critic shields us from feeling the pains and joysof existence. To face our fears, we must consciously identify and actively ignore this voice. Fear is a liar. Kick its ass.
- Go easy on yourself. “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
Change for me didn’t happen overnight. It’s an on-going process. I had to give myself space and time because it’s tough to unlearn the habits I had been doing for years.
Question: What are some of the ways you kick self-sabotage on its butt?