The Cure to Self-Sabotage

There are people that move on fast and get ahead quickly.

Then, there are people who often find themselves stuck, struggling to advance.

What’s differentiates these two kinds of people?

Those who create a great future develop the habit of accepting present circumstances as they are and forgiving past errs.

Those that get stuck often find themselves filled with intense desire but have trouble dealing with change.

Most of us fall into both these categories.

Some days we’re indifferent and some days we feel like we’re more in a flow state—doing exactly what needs to be done.

And, although life seems more harmonious when we feel good, there’s nothing inherently wrong with feeling bad from time to time.

It’s natural.

In fact, there are valuable insights for us on those “bad” days.

If we think about it, the bad days can actually be more advantageous to our growth than the good days.

It’s hard to realize it at that moment, but difficult times challenge us in ways the pleasant ones don’t—they strengthen/soften us in ways the pleasant ones can’t.

Not only that, but they also bring us clarity because those tough days provide contrast to help us understand what we want better.

The only time those heavy days become a problem is when we attach ourselves to them and begin to identify with the thoughts that came with them.

That’s when we leave ourselves blind to the lessons and only carry the burden forward—developing the “this happened to me” attitude.

That outlook does nothing but harm one’s self-esteem and on subtle levels causes them to think they’re unworthy of life—their desires.

That’s how a person gets themself stuck when working towards an objective.

They get in their own way.

It’s such a common behavior that psychologists coined a term for it: self-sabotage.

It happens when we actively or passively take steps to prevent ourselves from reaching our goals.

At times we procrastinate, other times we’re impulsive.

Sometimes we’re too confrontational, and sometimes we avoid expressing ourselves altogether.

There are times we obsess, and there are times we give up too easily.

It’s really hard to pin down because at the moment the destructive actions always seem like the reasonable thing to do.

And, although we end up getting ourselves off track, damaging our relationships, or failing in our endeavors, it’s important to realize that the reason we do this is to protect ourselves from emotional pain.

We’re doing this as a defense mechanism.

It’s our brain’s way of caring for ourselves.

When it comes to self-sabotage, there isn’t a one-quick-fix approach.

However, there is a practice that can help us deal with it better.

At its root, self-sabotaging behaviors are psychological attachments—attachments to those “bad” days, to trauma.

This being the case, we can turn to the Zen & Buddhist idea of “non-attachment” to counter it.

Non-attachment is essentially a state of mind where a person moves through life detached from worldly things.

This means things, people, places, and ideas don’t have such a strong hold on the individual that they make decisions strictly based on emotions.

This isn’t to be confused with indifference, inattentiveness, or insensitiveness.

That’s not non-attachment.

Non-attachment is more about letting things come and go from life without trying to hold onto them.

It enables one to have a greater sense of emotional stability, thus allowing better-reasoned decisions—inner peace.

We all want to have more good days than bad.

And, we all hope to capitalize on those bad days in order to create more good days.

By adopting practices like non-attachment, we increase the likelihood of carrying lessons forward instead of disappointments.

In turn, we make better decisions and increase our self-esteem and sense of worth.

It sounds simple, but the brain needs confirmation: it all starts by making the decision to have more good days.

Then, by making the decision to Let go.

Let go of the disappointments from yesterday, last week, last month, last year. And eventually, all the ideas that no longer serve our well-being, our growth.

“Nonresistance, non-judgment, and non-attachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.”
— Eckhart Tolle