“Really?  I’ve been doing that?”

“Yes.”

“F&*k.”

Few realizations render as much guilt and shame than recognizing how we hold our heart back from vitality and thriving. 

It appears, as far as I can tell, that humanity has been endowed with particular blindspots. Inheritance is a tricky thing. Hey, Welcome to Earth. You’ve been given, along with original sin, the following:

-a dying body

-physical traits that may not be seen as attractive, and if they are, people will forget about other parts of you

-emotions to go with every occasion, some of which might stick for years like cooked rice to the side of a pot. 

-patterns that will develop through childhood, then go under your awareness and bleed out into the rest of your life without you knowing about it (until you take proper steps to become self-conscious)

-and last, but not least, a stark raving mad ability to avoid what is best for you, to sabotage the interests of the self based on the above inheritances and more … 

Self-Sabotage arrives when:

We are in a mind storm. Thoughts are uprooting our ability to stay present and we end up in a cigar shop, needling through porn, or going back to an abusive partner while our body is clearly running for the hills to safety. When caught in the mind, we ignore even the strongest pulls of the body. After a while, the body tries to follow suit. When eventually we want to do something for ourselves, the body will feel tired, agitated, or anxiety at the thought of self-improvement.

Our ideas of success are tangled in the appeasement of others. We feel like we need to make others happy at our own expense.  When someone who we think cares about us (but actually doesn’t) puts us down, the momentum of that insult can funnel our own anger deep inside. Internalizing negativity ends up another excuse to become couch-tied and bed-ridden. Contributing to the happiness of others is a by-product of self-enhancement. If the vestiges of your self-worth disappear in certain ongoing relationships, those relationships are not healthy.

We use substances. Alcohol and constant use of drugs can veer us toward getting a dopamine increase rather than the natural thing from doing what we love. While there are many incredible uses for drugs, even to help us wake us, the mainstream attitude is one of escapism rather than immersion. Many narcotics give us ideas that feel good, but when we come down, those same ideas fall by the wayside because of the alteration of brain chemistry. That same high can be achieved naturally, by giving your gift. 

We burn out before we flame. Ever have a candle that lights for a few moments, then recedes into the wax that ought to keep it ablaze? We are about to do something we love, maybe even feel somewhat excited about it, then all of the temptations, addictions, and distractions we have entertained in the past, come swooping in like ravens on a carcass. 

We are not ready to admit what our gift is. I’ve worked with many people who say they do not know what they want to or like to do in life. Within a few minutes we will locate several things and their eyes go to the floor, and they say something like “ya I guess.” It may be weeks or months before they actually pick up a pen or brush to write or paint. We all know what we need to do at some level, and perhaps this is even accentuated in childhood, but we all may not be ready for the knowing.

I’m not sure if Adam and Eve ever found a way back to paradise, but I believe the way out is the same way in. We go out wild eyed and distracted. We must go in the same way. Here are the ways I have found to sabotage self-sabotage.

Don’t plan to do something you want to do. When the urge or even thought rises, move your body and do it quickly without thinking. Put a twinge of madness in your eye and a goofy grin on your face. In much the same impulsive way we dodder off into a self-destructive tendency or avoidance of our dreams, do the same when returning to them. 

Hold up the incense of your inner standard to vampiric criticism. When the burning fire of criticism lands in your lap, when someone is mean to you or invalidates your existence, use that opportunity as life’s alarm clock telling you to take care of yourself. These criticisms are fuel for manifesting what you want. The greatest in the world see criticism as fuel. This does not mean we learn to love it, it means we learn to make it work to our advantage. The first few attempts are very hard, but hey, if we can follow our path when we are feeling lowest, we can certainly do it any other time.

Destroy Routine. Despite this counter-intuition, and with great respect consistent behavior in the right direction, routines will have taken from us much more than we have gained, until we imbue them with conscious certainty. When we destroy routine, we allow fresh magma to surface, the light of our inner world to flash open to the surface. Do not be concerned. New routine will be established. We are creatures of it, after all. 

Allow emotions to do their work. Loneliness, fear, anger, sadness, and grief are serious gamechangers—if we let them be. I curl up in my bed or on my couch and let these emotions lather me up. I will not move until they’ve made their way through my system. Usually, this takes about 10-15 minutes. If I sit up and meditate on them, breathe into them, sometimes it takes little more than thirty seconds. Whatever energetic patterns we have in us, which keep us in a self-sabotaging circuit, they cannot be modified without a proper electrical blast. The above emotions are audacious enough to break down emotional patterns and recycle them anew.

Indulge. Rather than fighting our distractions, or subvert to them automatically and unconsciously, go into them with full awareness that you are indeed avoiding what you really like to do, and indulging in a golorified procrastination of your soul’s unfolding. Then, refer to the last suggestion, allowing all these feelings to surface. Allow them to do their work. Finally, in the blink of an eye, with the extra room created, slip onto your path of self-awesomeness.

Photo—andronicusmax/Flickr

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Jordan Kozey

206 2445 Broad Street
Regina, SK S4P0C7
(306) 581-4149

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Jordan Kozey, MA - R. Psych. (provisional)

206 2445 Broad Street - Regina, SK - S4P0C7

psychotherapy@jordankozey.com

(306)581-4149

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