Just a reminder that your struggles at the moment will pass. I had a day last week where I felt anxious and worried. The unpredictable experiences of life can get to us. Just remind yourself that it may suck, or be bad right now, but the worry and struggle will pass. Having this reminder helped me cope, and allowed me not to be as anxious as I used to be. Life is in constant motion. The feelings and experience at the moment will pass. You will get through this hiccup just like the many ones before. Our thoughts tend to exaggerate the situation. They tend to focus on the negative outcomes. Awareness of this can help us counter those thoughts in a more positive or realistic way. It may not flip our negative mindset entirely, but just a bit of awareness comes a long way.
This type of habit may not be known to many. We may do it subconsciously and wonder why bad things continue to happen, or wonder why things don’t go our way. All of that can be due to self sabotaging. We tend to do this in the form of procrastination, avoiding promotions, not moving towards personal growth, turning to drugs, alcohol or food. There are plenty of ways we can find to sabotage our success and growth. Most of the time we don’t know we are doing it. So what is it? Why do we do it? And how can we overcome it?
What is it?
“Self-sabotage is when we actively or passively take steps to prevent ourselves from reaching our goals. This behaviour can affect nearly every aspect of life be it a relationship, a career goal, or a personal goal such as weight loss. Although very common, it is an incredibly frustrating cycle of behaviour that lowers our self-confidence and leave us feeling stuck. There are many reasons why someone may choose to self-sabotage but many stem from a lack of belief in ourselves”(lisajeffs.com).
What cultivates it?
There are many things that create self sabotaging habits. I will list a few down here.
- Self-Congruence- This is when we want our outside world to fit into what we feel on the inside. If you have negative thoughts and feelings on the inside. You will most likely see more negative and focus more on the bad things in your life. This goes for the other side of things as well, but since sabotaging comes from a negative mindset. We will focus on that.
- Glass ceiling-There is an imaginary ceiling that one believes they can not go over, or below it. They like to stay between the barriers. The person feels they don’t deserve more than their perceived ceiling can give them. They believe they only deserve this much, but not more.
- Vulnerability avoidance-This is the fear of vulnerability or getting hurt. This is when you rather cut things before you have a chance to get hurt. This can go for relationship and career goals. You rather just avoid getting hurt, but in the process can lose something wonderful, due to your fear of the worse case scenario.
- Imposter Phenomenon-When you do not believe your success or happiness is a true representation of yourself or what you can do. You don’t believe you can continue this success. Maybe you believe it is just luck. You think to yourself, that you don’t deserve this. You think things will eventually go down hill.
- Lack of confidence/self worth- This is a really important reason. If you don’t believe in your worth. You will not be able to grow and move forward. You will not be able to reach the places you want to go in life.
- Fear of failure-We don’t like to fail or make mistakes, so we do whatever we can to avoid doing that, not being aware that failure is a part of life.
- Protect ego-We got our pride. We don’t want to do anything that can hurt it. By taking a leap and doing things outside our comfort zone. It may allow us to see that maybe we aren’t as perfect as we thought, or can’t do as much as we thought. Although we can easily talk down to ourselves. We also don’t want to be a failure.
- Comfort-We love comfort, so we do what we can to avoid stepping away from it, even if it can make us more fulfilled, successful and happy.
- Complaining-This type of behavior doesn’t really solve anything. It just keeps you stuck.
- Comparisons to others-It is hard to get anywhere when you compare yourself to other people’s success. If you don’t match up. You give up. We should try to focus on our growth, rather than others, so we can continue pushing ourselves. You never know how far you can go, but comparisons can halt that.
- Blaming others-Putting the blame on others takes control away from you. Taking control away from you gives you less power, and makes you less likely to push yourself forward.
- Putting yourself down-Negative self-talk can definitely cultivate habits of sabotaging oneself. Believing you can’t do something, or don’t deserve something, or that you aren’t good enough. Will keep you stuck.
- Self concept is fixed-Believing you can never change and that growth is impossible. The thing is you can always evolve. Who you are today can be different than who you are next year. The self is not fixed.
What can be done to overcome it?
- Be mindful-Practicing mindfulness and learning to be present in the moment can help you become aware of your self sabotaging habits, and the thoughts the come along with it.
- Self acceptance-Learning to accept the person you are-the good and the bad-can help reduce sabotaging habits. If you accept yourself, you can accept any possibility the comes your way. Whatever happens you know you did all you can do, and you are happy with just that. You learn with acceptance is all you can do is try, as long as you try you achieved something.
- Gain confidence-This goes along with self-acceptance. Through acceptance you can gain confidence. Being aware of your strengths and using them to your advantage goes along way. Learning to build your strengths and utilizing them to help you grow is all part of confidence. This can push you to achieve the goals you like and to keep you from staying comfortable and stuck.
- Journal/Self-reflect-This puts your thoughts out there. It gives you a chance to become aware of these habits and figure out ways to move past them. Once you are able to become aware of these thoughts and habits through introspection. You may realize how unhelpful they are to your self growth.
- Get out of comfort zone/Face your fear-I know it is easier said than done, but comfort can only get to so far. Time to count backwards 5,4,3,2,1 and go! Everything that has helped me evolve, grow and move up has come from getting out of my comfort zone and facing fears. You will feel discomfort and anxiety, but those feelings are normal. Learning to push past it is an important skill to learn to stop us from sabotaging ourselves.
- Understanding the root cause-Digging deep and learning the real reason for these habits can help you figure out the problem, learn, and improve.
- Rise above negative emotions-Like I mentioned, feelings of anxiety, discomfort, fear, tension will arise. It is learning how to continue going forward that is important.
- Set goals and plans-Start small, something manageable to help push you. Every little step counts. With every step you will gain more confidence and feel more comfortable.
- Accept failures-You will not always succeed. You will make mistakes. It is all part of the human experience. When you accept this it will be easier for you not to sabotage any opportunity or chance you get.
- Let go of perfectionism-You have flaws. We all have flaws. Accepting you are not perfect puts our ego in check. It also allows you to put yourself out there more.
Self sabotaging habits are harmful for our growth and personal development. It may create comfort and safety. But it also cultivates many negative thoughts and behaviors that keep us stuck. It is important to learn to become aware of these habits, so we can break away from them and live a more fulfilling life.
What I mean by the title is you have control of your thoughts, mindset and actions. We tend to forget this or not be aware of it, but this is important to know for your well being and peace of mind. There are things out of our control, feelings, emotions, the environment, others, the world/universe. We shouldn’t focus our energy trying to change those things, or pushing them away. Focus on your thoughts and actions, what are they doing for you, are they helping you, can things be changed to benefit you. That should be your focus. Your thoughts and actions make you who you are. Just remember you are in control of that. I hope you all try to make the best of the week. Do what you can to bring joy, happiness and peace to your life.
The ego will find a way to trap the mind in a bubble of negativity and misery. It is easy to fall into the trap. Awareness of our surroundings can help center us back to the moment. Always strive to be in the present. It is not an easy task, but it is very beneficial for our well-being, peace of mind, and sanity to try. Living life to the fullest is being present in the moment.
Step away from the world of Social media. I have read many articles of people becoming happier leaving their social media accounts, and putting their phone aside. Doing this gives you time to prioritize your life. You realize how much free time you have to do more productive things in life. You have time to run errands, exercise, go for a walk, read etc,. You have time to get things done that you wanted to do. When you step back, you realize how many times you checked your phone a day. It imprisons you, but we can all break free of that cycle! It isn’t easy, but once you step back, you realize how much you don’t really miss it.
I am writing this, because I recently decided to pull back on my social media/phone use. I barely used my phone today at work. I realized how much freedom that brings. I also realized how much time flew by when I am not constantly checking my phone, and looking at the time. I was just in the moment, and it felt great. I have had a sense of peace, since I pushed back on SNS use. I had more time to read, which I love to do, but barely did, because of my social media use. I have more time to gain knowledge, and expand my mind. Lack of social media use can really allow you to focus on yourself and expand your mind, which is very important. You can benefit physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually from lack of social media use.
Now most people would prefer to delete social media. I choose not to do that, because I do think there are aspects that are beneficial. I also don’t like avoiding things, since it won’t help me overcome my struggles. If social media causes lots of distress and sadness in your life, then it is best to avoid it. I like the feeling of being able to go on social media, and not let the negativity get to me. I feel empowered being able to overcome this struggle. There are a couple of struggles I deal with that I am sure many of you deal with.
Comparisons are hard to avoid, and is probably a big reason people leave social media. I have done that as well. It is an innate trait in us humans unfortunately. I have a Facebook friend that I went to school with who was able to get a job I haven’t yet. Now I can be bitter, sad, or angry about her posting about her job, or I can take a step back, and realize she did something I didn’t to get that job, and it is her time, not mine at the moment. I also don’t know her real life, and I am pretty sure everything isn’t perfect. I think seeing things differently can change your experience online. This is why I do not see social media as good nor bad. It is our thoughts/perceptions that make it good or bad. It is the people behind the screen that makes the experience good or bad.
I also can get annoyed, and frustrated by some people’s comments, because I don’t agree with how they see/say things, but once I step back. I realize we all have different points of view on things, and even though I don’t think their way of going about things is the best. Nothing I say can change their opinion on things, so it is best to let it go, and keep scrolling. People can be negative and mean, but it is best not to get caught in it, and keep it moving, don’t engage! I have had a sense of peace and empowerment from being able to do that.
Another thing is getting noticed/likes. I am sure you thought, why didn’t this post get any likes? It was an awesome post!? I have said this myself, and I know others who have as well. I have known people who took down a post, because it didn’t get enough likes. The amount of likes validate us. It gives me, you, that sense of accomplishment, but how sad is that? People liking a status validating us. That isn’t something that should validate us, it isn’t an accomplishment. All the people with lots of likes, lots of friends/followers. Are they all happy? I can guarantee that it is a big no! The amount of likes doesn’t benefit you in any way. It may even cause stress, because now you have to top that post, or make other interesting posts from that point on.
One last thing that may be a reason people don’t want to leave is FOMO(Fear Of Missing Out). This is a reason I didn’t want to step a way. I realized once I stepped away, that there is far more I am missing out by being online all the time. There is potential, creativity, opportunities, experiences, and self growth that you miss out on by being attached to social media. The stuff you fear of missing on social media is trivial.
Now I like Social Media, because it connects me to others around the world that appreciates all the things I love. I also like to share the things that I like with others. The problem arises when there is a need for attention, likes, making comparisons, bullying others, hatred of differences of opinion. I won’t say leave social media, but learn to use it less and more wisely. Don’t get caught up in the attention seeking and negativity. I still struggle with this sometimes, but have gotten much better at handling it recently. It is a process. I will say, if social media cultivates mental health problems-anxiety, depression, addiction-it is best to leave it behind. Just to note, unless it is an addiction or bullying. The problems you may have on social media may not be solved by just leaving, because you are not facing your struggles, and it may spill into your real life, so you should be cognizant of what bothers you, and if it is something you need to face and work on. In the end,there really isn’t a negative consequence to leaving social media, so if you think that is best, then leave it behind.
Mental Health Recovery is known as “a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential”(PsychologyToday). In the article Five Common Factors That Foster Recovery From Mental Illness by Psychology Today. They discuss the five ways one can recover from mental illness. Recovery is never easy, and it is a struggle, but these five ways are helpful ways to improve your mental health.
- Clinical Recovery-This refers to recovery in a clinical setting. It usually includes talking to a therapist, taking medication, and behavioral interventions. It is important not to just take medication, but to talk to a therapist as well, since medication only alleviates the symptoms. It does not solve the underlying cause of the symptoms. A therapist can help with the real problem.
- Existential Recovery-This recovery is to help fill the existential void one has. This usually refers to individuals whom have lost hope, meaning, and purpose in their lives. In most cases it is individuals with depression. Some ways to fill the existential void towards recovery are religion, spirituality, and finding new meaning and purpose in life. This includes volunteering, taking on a meaningful job, or having meaningful relationships. This recovery includes doing something meaningful and fulfilling for oneself.
- Functional Recovery-This recovery has to do with being able to function within a society. Many people with mental illnesses are homeless, and unemployed. It is important for recovery to be able to maintain a job, get a house, and maybe even further education.
- Physical Recovery-This recovery involves physical health. People with mental illness have higher rates of physical health issues. This includes poor diet, lack of exercise, and use of substances such as, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes etc,. This recovery can help one adopt a healthier lifestyle by exercising, eating healthier, and reducing, or stopping the use of unhealthy substances. Exercise can be therapeutic in itself, and getting healthy is important, but I am not sure this is a good recovery plan. Bad health is more of a result from mental illness. Unless they improve mentally; I am not sure one can improve their health. One may have to look at other recovery plans before going to this one.
- Social Recovery- This recovery plan involves reconnecting in the social world. Having a mental illness can isolate oneself from your social circle. This plan reconnects you with friends and family, and maybe helps connect you with new friends. Being around others, and getting support from others is very important for one’s recovery. This can also include joining a support group. Just having someone there to listen, and make you laugh is therapeutic.
As I always mention, we all are different, and different recoveries will work for different individuals. It is about what is right for you, or maybe more than one can help you, or all. I think these five ways are all great ways to help one recover. It may be challenging, but the end result will be worth it. Your mental health is very important to living a fulfilling and satisfying life.