Self-sabotage is just an unconscious form of self-love.
I've been rolling this idea around in my mind a lot lately. Just getting a taste for it and trying to truly and deeply understand it. The words "self-sabotage" just keep getting brought up either in the context of client sessions or in my own personal development work.
I know what I need to do or should do to reach my goals, but then I find myself doing the opposite.
Here's some examples of questions I've been asked lately:
- Why do I eat the whole pizza even though I know it's going to make me feel awful?
- Why do I not work out after a day at work when I want to lose weight?
- Why do I skip meditating to scroll through my phone?
These are all great questions.. and ones that definitely don't have easy or obvious answers.
However, a pillar of my coaching practice and my own personal rules to live by, is that everything we do can be loved and used as a lesson. That's how we heal ourselves. If we try to "fight it" or try to push it away, then we are leaving it to fester and to remain unconscious.
Consciousness brings light to the darkness of habit. Becoming aware of our patterns and understanding them with compassion and love is the ultimate healing salve, and can make even the most ingrained habits evaporate.
So, the question then becomes: How can I learn from this "self-sabotaging" pattern I'm engaged in? What is it trying to tell me?
The answer lies in the fact that self-sabotage is just an unconscious form of self-love.
When we ate that last slice of pizza we thought it was going to make us feel good in one way or another.
When we skipped the gym there was a voice in our head saying, "You've worked hard today, you deserve to take a break tonight."
We need to give these voices credit because ultimately our self-sabotage is never done with bad intentions. It's done out of a place of confused and unconscious self-love.
We eat the cookie because in the moment it tastes good, and we may not have had a lot of "sweetness" in our lives lately. We scroll through social media because our mind needs a break and "liking" stuff gives us a little shot of dopamine. We drink too much on the weekend because we're desperate for some fun and respite from the daily grind.
There is NOTHING WRONG with any of this.. but there is an aspect of ourselves that knows the cookie isn't going to be good for us in the long run, that knows the meditation would set us up for a more nourishing evening, that knows we would feel better if we just gave ourselves some peace instead of rushing around to get "one-more-thing-done."
Let's call this part of us our "higher-self," the part of ourselves that wants what is ultimately better for us. THIS is the part of ourselves that can bring consciousness to our self-love practices.
Instead of obsessing about our self-sabotage and beating ourselves up for not being able to will it away, let's make the choice to identify more strongly with our higher-selves. Realize that our higher-self always has the correct answer, AND, our higher self can love the self-sabotaging parts because it can see that these parts just want us to be happy and healthy, they just don't have the self-awareness that the higher-self carries with it.
So the gift of self-sabotage is that it gives us a place to focus our conscious energy. It points us right to our focal point of healing.
So move towards your undesirable patterns, get intimate with them. Commit to understanding them and giving them love and acceptance. You'll be surprised at how much more clarity you'll have around them. Ultimately, you'll be able to make the choices your higher-self wants you to make.