Self-sabotaging behaviors are preventing us from reaching our full potential. These make up the mountain we need to climb over.
Conquer the mountain by identifying self-sabotaging behaviors and learning from them, managing and evaluating your feelings, facing your fears and faults, and making incremental changes to be your best self.
Examples of self-sabotaging behaviors:
Uprooting: diverting attention away from real issues to focus on minor details or other things like new projects, relationships, etc.
Pride: e.g., staying in a bad marriage because you're worried about what others will think of a divorce.
Self-sabotaging behaviors are avoidance tactics developed by our brains to protect us from deeply-rooted fears. They are a common coping mechanism we use to temporarily soothe discomfort. They are not something done consciously.
We might stay in abusive relationships if we fear being alone.
We might never begin our dream projects if we fear failure.
Unhealthy fears often stem from lacking mental strength and emotional (ME) skills.
If we lack the skill of self-love, we might rely on others for external validation because we have a fear of being disliked.
Mental strength and emotional skills deficiencies frequently develop from challenging life circumstances that prevent necessary skill-building.
Someone without love and encouragement as a child may lack self-confidence and self-love as an adult.
The behaviors we engage in to avoid facing our fears are self-sabotaging because they prevent us from developing the skills needed to overcome difficulties and achieve our potential. We need to identify our self-sabotaging behaviors and mental-emotional deficiencies, then overcome them.
Identify self-sabotaging behaviors by listing everything in your life you're unhappy with and want to change. Then make another list of the specific actions preventing those changes -- these are your self-sabotaging behaviors.
If you're unhappy with your current job but aren't looking for new jobs then procrastination is your self-sabotage.
Actions enabling unhealthy patterns are self-sabotaging. These patterns include:
Lacking commitment to achieve goals
Staying in poor relationships
Relying on external sources to fix your situation or for validation
Avoiding new experiences
Caring more about appearing happy than actually being happy
Fearing feelings over anything else
To identify mental and emotional skill (ME) deficiencies:
Analyze each self-sabotaging behavior and understand the fear driving it. E.g., clinging to bad relationships can stem from fearing being alone.
Link each fear to the mental and emotional skill needed to overcome it. E.g., overcoming loneliness needs the skills of independence and self-love.
Once you know the deficient mental and emotional skills behind your sabotaging behaviors, you can strategically build those skills and address the root causes prompting you to self-sabotage.
Overcoming your self-sabotaging behaviors and ME deficiencies requires you to:
Follow your intuition and let go of fears
Define your ideal self and life purpose
While self-sabotaging behaviors stem from fear, productive actions often arise from intuition -- your instinctive understanding of how to act.
"Intuitive thoughts show you how to respond; invasive (fearful) thoughts demand that you react."
Distinguish intuitive and fearful thoughts by recognizing that fear distorts reality and pushes you to act based on worry, panic, anger, etc., while intuition manifests as moments of clarity and peace in the present.
To follow intuition over fear, tune into the present rather than the future. Listen to the thoughts that are calm and helpful rather than turbulent and destructive.
Reflect on how things make you feel as you're doing them. Try to do more of them if you feel good about them, less if not.
"The way you are self-sabotaging: Mindlessly scrolling through social media as a way to pass the time. What your subconscious mind might want you to know: This is one of the easiest ways to numb yourself, because it is so accessible and addictive. There is a world-altering difference between using social media in a healthy way versus as a coping mechanism. Mostly, it has to do with how you feel after you're finished. If you don't put the phone down feeling inspired or relaxed, you're probably trying to avoid some kind of discomfort within yourself—the very discomfort that just might be telling you that you need to change."
Learning to effectively interpret your emotions rather than letting them trigger fears is important to avoid self-sabotage.
First, identify and accept what you're feeling without suppression. Suppression will boil the emotions inside of you and make you feel worse.
Pinpoint why you feel that way -- emotions are cues to take action. E.g., anger shows what you care about, jealousy reveals desired things you lack, resentment indicates unmet expectations.
Once you understand your emotions' causes, you can define the correct actions to take instead of self-sabotaging. E.g., discuss the problems that are causing resentment rather than acting out.
Our brains naturally resist change -- familiar stimuli keep us in our comfort zones, perpetuating bad habits that feel good yet harm us. Drastic change is difficult so make incremental changes.
E.g., to create a new reading habit, it's more effective to plan to read five minutes a day instead of two hours a day.
"It's not whether you ‘feel' like putting in the work, but whether or not you do it regardless."
The comfort-seeking subconscious leads to issues like confirmation bias, extrapolation, and spotlighting (believing that others are thinking about you when in reality they're all thinking about themselves).
To become your ideal self, you need to:
Find your purpose and define who you want to be
Set guiding principles/rules
Admit weaknesses and be willing to be disliked
Finding your purpose:
Your purpose is where your talents and passions meet society's needs. It's not a job but a fulfilling calling.
Ask, what are you willing to toil over? What would you do if you had no obligations? What are you naturally good at? What do you want to be remembered for?
Defining your ideal self:
Meditate in a quiet place, purge negative thoughts, and relax.
Visualize your ideal future self in detail -- how they look and act, where they're living and working, their routines and relationships, etc. -- then ask for guidance, and listen to their inspiring advice.
Finish by imagining your ideal self transferring to you their life, knowledge, behaviors, and abilities.
Setting guiding principles:
Principles are life rules you set based on the values you hold. They will aid you in making difficult decisions and keep you on the right path.
Make two lists, one of things you deeply value and feelings you want to regularly experience, and one of things that cause you anxiety.
Set rules that support your values and desired activities, and also manage your anxieties.
If you value and enjoy reading, you can set a rule to read at least ten books every year. If you are anxious about money, you can set a rule to put 15% of your income into savings every month.
Let your rules guide all areas of life -- relationships, careers, etc.
Other tips to live your best life:
Enjoy small daily joys
Cultivate positive relationships -- you become who you spend time with
"The real glow up isn't proving the people from your past wrong. It is finally feeling so content and hopeful about your future that you stop thinking about them entirely."
See obstacles as learning experiences
"Start quantifying your days by how many healthy, positive things you accomplished, and you will see how quickly you begin to make progress."