Self sabotage is a term that I know we have all heard of. According to Psychology Today,"behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals." There are a plethora of ways in which we may sabotage ourselves, including self-medicating with drugs, and excessive consumption of self-help. As creatures of habit, we engage in those sabotaging behaviors because we feel as if they protect us or make us feel safe. Even when something is not good for us, we may continue to engage it because the pattern feels familiar.
Embracing the unknown is never easy, but here are 5 ways for you to take those steps towards healthier habits. I'll be using the example of dating, but these tips and tricks are helpful no matter what situation you find yourself in.
1 ) Remove Your Mental Filters!
Sometimes, we get in our own way by having a one-sided view of things. In order to protect ourselves from disappointment, we may cling to a negative perception of something without giving room for the positive. For example, let's say you go on a date with someone you have been dreaming about for ages. All is going well. You guys have a lot in common and there is a clear spark. Then, you spill your drink into your lap. Now, you're embarrassed and wet, and your whole evening is ruined. Sabotage would be letting that spilled drink spoil your whole night. Removing mental filters would look like acknowledging something happened, but remembering that you had a good night despite that.
2) Stop Blaming Yourself!
Self-blame is something I know we've all done. Seriously. In the last scenario, you spilled your drink and you felt embarrassed. Say the date was lukewarm before that and you weren't sure if there was a spark or not. Fast forward a week later and you haven't heard from your date. Blaming yourself would sound like, "If only I hadn't spilled my drink on myself, this person would have called/texted me already." Not blaming yourself would look like reminding yourself not to take things personally, and that what other people do or don't do won't stop your shine!
3) Quit Jumping to Conclusions!
There are two major ways in which we jump to conclusions: mind-reading and fortune telling. When we mind-read, we make negative assumptions about how people see us or what took place without any evidence to back it up. When we fortune tell, we make negative predictions about the future without any factual support. Let's say you went on two more dates with your person. You've been chatting regularly, and then all of a sudden, you didn't hear from them for a day. Mind-reading would look like freaking out because now you believe they think you're not dateable or worthy of speaking to. Fortune telling would look like drawing the conclusion that you will never hear from them again. A healthier approach would be for you to acknowledge the situation for what it is, and then address your concerns with the individual(s) at the next opportunity you have.
4) Remember: It's not All-or-Nothing
All-or-nothing thinking is very common. Right/wrong, black/white (I mean, who needs grey areas, anyway...), no in-betweens - these are all examples of how we may view the situations in which we find ourselves. Essentially, if a situation is not exactly as you think it should be, then it's a failure, right? WRONG. Example: You've been on two dates with someone, and you're itching to make it official. If you don't make it official by the end of the third date, then it's a failure and that person does not really like you. Now, what would a healthy approach to that line of thinking look like? Taking into account the reality of the situation, and establishing a healthy middle ground. The reality of the aforementioned situation is that it probably isn't the healthiest idea to want to make it serious after 3 dates. Do you really know that person? What would a healthy time boundary look like, that is realistic but also not a waste of your time?
5) Start Acknowledging the Positive!
This is a small, but mighty way to keep yourself motivated and out of the clutches of self-sabotage. It's so easy sometimes to forget the positive, or to discount our accomplishments. Say you're now in a happy, healthy relationship with your person, and you had previously expressed to them that you wanted to meditate every day for 5 minutes a day. They ask you about your progress, and express that they are excited you are able to stick to this routine and find balance. You then respond with, "Thanks, but's not that serious, it's just 5 minutes a day." With that response, you are diminishing the fact that you set a goal, stuck to it, and that it has a positive impact on your life. All of your accomplishments, no matter how small, mean something. Don't forget that. Instead of writing them off as small, insignificant things, celebrate them and receive them.
Don't forget to share this post if you liked it, and remember that you can light the world with the spark that's inside you!