I know you’ve heard many times the phrase, “I’m my own worst enemy”. I had to laugh when I came across this picture where the man is wrestling with himself. I had a similar experience my freshman year in college. It was about 3 am and I awoke to an arm thumping on my chest. I started screaming, as I just knew that I was being attacked. My roommate turned on the lights, and starting jumping up and down on her bed, yelling “What’s going on”. I looked down to see that I had my own wrist tightly gripped by the other hand. The one arm had “gone to sleep” from lying on it too long,cutting off the blood supply. I must have been trying to move it, but the best it could get it to do was to thump against my chest. Its was so numb that I couldn’t feel that the other hand was clawing at it, trying to pull it away. I looked down at my wrist, exclaimed “Oh, it’s just me” and rolled over to go to sleep before my roommate started pounding me with a pillow for scaring her for nothing,
Self-sabotage is like that,where we’re literally fighting with ourselves, but maybe with not as obvious a visual sense as the man wrestling with his hand in the picture. We say we’re going to do one thing, start on it, and then never finish. We keep picking the same kind of person for a relationship, and big surprise, it turns out the same way as all of the others. We really want to lose weight, but that ice cream that we shouldn’t have brought into the house in the first place, doesn’t count if you stand up and eat it out of the container by the kitchen sink. So, why do we keep fighting with ourselves.
Self-sabotage is an illogical response by our reptilian brain that most people talk about being in our guts. Being one of the oldest forms of brains, its main function is for survival. While some debunk the concept, it’s still a useful one to explain why what’s in our upper brain or conscious thought doesn’t win out. My take is that it’s stuck energy in our unconscious brain or reptilian brain that is afraid of change. Somewhere back in the past, usually early childhood, or earlier, as I prescribe to prenatal events as affecting us, too, our reptilian brains associated whatever we’re trying to do as being dangerous. Perhaps always picking angry men as partners has to do with trying to work through issues with your angry Dad, when you were too little to speak up. Maybe your anxiety is really about fear of abandonment, because a parent died at an early age.
Self-sabotage rarely makes sense to your conscious mind as what’s really involved is in your unconscious mind, and is therefore, well… unconscious. It takes training to recognize and hear the voice of your reptilian brain’s fears and to calm it down, just as you would with a scared child. The first step is recognizing that the reptilian brain exists, even if only as a metaphor, and that that’s where you need to be working if you really want to rid yourself of self-sabotage. One excellent mantra or phrase to use when you’re caught up in chaos is to repeat slowly over and over, “Breathe in peace; breathe out fear.” Following your breath in and out gives you something to focus on that’s easy and familiar since we all breathe.
What are some instances of your own self-sabotage? If you leave a comment, I’ll “read into your energy” and see what I’m getting. Doesn’t cost anything except the bravery to leave a comment, and maybe my response will start you on a different path.
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