I received some great news about a month ago on a Sunday evening. In response, I started crying.
Not like a few tears here and there, silent cry, pretend-like-you-have-dust-in-your-eyes, baby tears. I’m talking, wailing, can’t catch my breath, puffy eyes, crying. What was it that made me cry you ask?
-an email detailing my every weakness and down coming?
-a rejection email from my dream job?
-a nastygram from a disgruntled coworker/friend/etc? None of that.
It was news that a blurb I wrote would be published. On a blog. With a sorta popular coach.
I understand your confusion.
At the sight of the words “My gut says a lot of people would resonate with what you’re saying,” my lips got all quivery and my eyes began to water.
I'm supposed to know better right? But what did I do?
My words found space between my tears: “I don’t wanna be famous. You don’t understand, I’m a nobody. I’m just a kid from the hood. I don’t want people to read my stuff, wahhh, wahh” *cue the dramatics*
This full blown self sabotage attack was swift but deadly. It’s key components: pity party phase, whoa is me wailing, "i cant’s” and “I'm not enoughs” + the "I want validation but don't wanna seem like I want validation" pouts.
Why did I react that way?
At the time, I rationalized that I was caught off guard because of 2 other surprises that week:
I thought that a short post I had written would be sent to a few select donors of an organization. It was instead featured on the main website of the organization (check it out here)
I was just learning Hangouts Live in Learning As We Go as a fun venture (embarrassing now), but one of my group members posted a link to my then non-existent blog, which made me feel pressured to get something up and published.
What really happened is that I took my eyes off the ultimate goal: service. helping others. providing value.
My meltdown was a physical manifestation of a misalignment of goals.
You are out of alignment with the best version of yourself when you act in a way that opposes your expressed desires.
Ex: I need to pay my bills but I instead am online shopping. desire=pay bills; act=online shopping; opposition=you're not paying your bills by online shopping
How can you become more in alignment with your desires and stop the self sabotage train?
1. Become aware of your self- sabotaging. Often we are in denial of the self sabotage itself. We rationalize and make excuses or blame others. You start by recognizing your role and understanding your real goals.
2. Stop the slide. Often, we wallow in our self sabotage. Trust me, I wanted the pity party to last way more than ten minutes. We are clever beings and our minds will go off the deep end if we let it. I once let my kind wander from being scared to post something I had written to becoming homeless (I’ll spare you the 50 leaps in between).
3. Take a tiny step. I think the problem many people face in trying to stop self sabotaging is the idea that they must do something grand. In fact, only a baby step is needed. What can you do today that your tomorrow self will thank you for? How can you inch closer to the best version of yourself and the goals you've set? Rid yourself of the notion that you have to have it all figured out in this moment and start the process of getting back on track. For me, that meant 1. accepting the offer (duh) and 2. picking my avatar for the blog post. I know, super small, but it got me one baby step closer to where I was trying to go.
What do you do to get out of self sabotage mode? What lessons have you learned? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
(above image courtesy of Mark Tyrrell at http://www.uncommonhelp.me/articles/stop-self-sabotage-behaviour/)