Why are we such jerks to ourselves sometimes?
No, really though.
Take it me, the former QUEEN of self-sabotage.
Or at least that’s what my therapist dubbed me..
I was 16, seeking help twice a week, and seriously depressed.
“You see the pattern here, right?,” my therapist, Layla, asked.
(She was blunt with me like that, which I liked…It made me trust her.)
“Uhhhhhhh,” 16-year-old me stuttered.
Layla continued, “Almost all of these issues we’re talking about, all of these things making you unhappy, they all link back to you sabotaging yourself.”
Okay so she didn’t REALLY call me the Queen, but you know what I mean. 😉
I share this small section of my story to say:
I’ve struggled with self-sabotage personally, for many years.
But that’s one crown I want to set down.
And if you struggle with self-sabotage too, I’m sure you feel the same.
Not super familiar with self-sabotage yourself?
Imagine yourself swimming. Your legs are furiously butterfly kicking you towards the surface, but your arms are holding your head under.
Or, (in legitimate life terms), when you show up to an important interview with the smell of Bourbon and Burger King on your breath, because deep down, you didn’t think you were worthy of the position in the first place.
In both situations, I believe it’s safe to say:
We need to get out of our own way.
Here are 3 simple strategies to diminish your self-sabotage today:
#1. Don’t trust everything your thoughts tell you.
Just like celebrity psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Amen  says, “Don’t believe everything you hear, even in your own mind.”
Because our brains breed an infestation of ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts), which stream across our consciousness, constantly.
Unless, we teach them otherwise, of course!
Meaning that, when your thoughts are whispering to you satanically-sweet, self-limiting beliefs, you’ve got to GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE!
I repeat – GTFO!
Talk BACK to those thoughts.
(Yes, this is one of the rare arenas it’s absolutely admirable to express sass…so take advantage. 😉
When you hear a negative thought sliding across your brainstream, treat it like you would if someone was sliding into your DM’s, and question them!
For example, if you say to yourself, “I suck at life.”
(AKA: “I’m a failure.”)
Ask yourself if that’s TRULY true?
Really? 100%? Without a shadow of a doubt?
So maybe you just flunked out of college, failed at your first attempt at getting a job, and slapped a dude for some stupid reason.
Now I’m not denying those aren’t some serious no-no’s, but those actions STILL don’t deem you a failure in ALL cases.
‘Cause I’m pretty sure you still opened your eyes when you woke up, went to the bathroom when you felt the urge, and probably ate something at some point too.
Which means you must be doing something RIGHT!
Extremely ridiculous example?
But I used it strategically.
To show you that if THAT type of person still isn’t a complete and utter failure, you surely aren’t either.
So next time you think a thought that makes you feel bad, don’t forget to followup in fielding through what’s true, what’s an exaggeration, and what’s actuality.
#2. Understand that expectations ask for reactions.
On a podcast I love, called Armchair Expert, actor Dax Shepard (where my Parenthood peeps at?!) said something in the realm of:
Expectations ask for reactions.
And there you have it!
A modern man’s take on the Buddha’s key to enlightenment folks! 😉
But seriously, that’s a quality four-word quote.
Think about it.
Setting expectations for our moments, also sets us up for some sort of reaction – whether it be satisfaction in meeting that expectation, or dissatisfaction in falling short.
I know you though – you’re a goal setter!
And so am I.
So of course I’m not here to tell you we shouldn’t EVER expect ANYTHING, but I do think it may be best for our sanity if we expect with an opportunist-mindset.
Meaning that HELL YES I want you to expect the very best!
AND I want you to hold steady with that same expectation – even when you’re dealt with the worst.
In those moments where your reality isn’t exactly what you were envisioning, ask yourself:
How might your “loss” empower you to uncover an important lesson?
And thus, set you up for success with your next shot!
Are you open to exploring an alternate path, if the original goal you mapped out is no longer presented as a possibility?
Expanding our perspective through an opportunist mindset (in the good, the bad, and the ugly moments) can help you feel less like your “losing”, and more like your living life in flow, wherever your true purpose points you to go.
Plus, embracing an opportunist mindset can empower you to react less, and invite more adventurous, abundant enjoyment into your journey!
#3. Get OVER your overthinking.
Okay now THIS is probably my biggest ish, personally.
And it’s something I struggle with often.
Especially professionally, but also, like, in all of the realms, ya know?
Yep – you can find me reciting emails I already sent in my SLEEP, wondering if that was really the right thing to say?
I’m sure you’ve felt this too.
Those times when your brain just WILL NOT shut up, shut off, or STOP talking to you?
(For me, It’s the worst when I’m trying to sleep.)
Speaking of skimming through my thoughts while sleeping, theSkimm shared a sentiment on the subject with the spiciness we LOVE:
(Sent this to my bosses btw…they said no.)
LOL – JOKES!
Let’s cut to the point though:
Because it can be seriously exhausting, to have your brain be “on” even when you’re off.
Want to know what helps me?
Clarifying the things I CAN control, versus the things I can’t.
Because I’ve found that, more often than not, we overthink things outside of our influence.
Like, what other people think of you.
That’s one of my biggest fears, without a doubt.
So, (when I find my mind caught mulling over a moment that’s already passed) I try and remind myself of this:
No matter what you do, you cannot control another person’s thoughts.
NOR can you know what another person is thinking, without them speaking it aloud.
You can express what you will, but the interpretations of those expressions will never be something decided by you.
So don’t put too much pointless pressure on yourself!
And (I’m totally looking at myself in the mirror when I say this) STOP trying to control a narrative that’s never going to be completely accessible to you.
Because people that judge you don’t deserve your energy anyways.
And the people that love, empower, and uplift you – they NEED you!
So send your sweet energy to them instead. 🙂
In the end, you can’t escape your own head.
But you CAN make your head a happier place to hangout, and my hope is that today’s three tools will help illuminate a clearer route.
Till you eventually arrive at the land of ZERO FUX, (or whatever the kids are saying nowadays ;), and we meet eachother there – laughing and lighting up, smiling and waving at the likes of self-sabotage from above, as we sip spicy margaritas.
And then regroup, right here, for our next adventure! <3
P.S. Is stress a contributing factor to your self-sabotage? It sure is for me! Click right here to access 11 of my favorite productivity insights, in this 10 minute read!
 Amen, Daniel G. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: the Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Anger and Obsessiveness. Piatkus, 2016.