Last week I talked with a longtime friend about the goals he wanted to achieve in 2019. During the course of our conversation he said, “You know, I want to go for what my heart is telling me to do, but I’m hesitant. I’m afraid I will just screw things up. When I look back over my life, I realize that just when I am about to make things happen, all of sudden – Bam! I miss an important meeting, I say something that blows up the project, I end up mistreating someone or I just don’t follow through. I don’t know why I keep sabotaging myself.”
Many of us can relate to this scenario. I recalled a time I was about to achieve a major milestone in my life and everything came crashing down due to a cascade of negative thinking that led to self-sabotaging behavior. We have between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day; while some are good, positive thoughts, many more are quite the opposite. From time to time we are shackled by negative self-sabotaging thoughts that lead to the behavior that inevitably stops us from fulfilling our purpose.
You may have said to yourself, “You can't do that!" Or, "That's way too difficult for you!" Or, "If you try, you'll probably just bomb or screw up.” Or, “Who do you think you are?”
Such statements seem like they are coming from a tyrannical or cruel person with a mission to destroy our self-confidence. Believe it or not, that tyrant comes from within our own minds. Or as Jesus said, “Our enemy is within our own household.”
When such thoughts rear up too often and with energy, they lead to behavior that stops us from achieving our dreams and the fulfillment of our purpose. They are usually on autopilot and we are not consciously aware that the self-sabotaging behavior is the byproduct of those thoughts and instead, we attribute our lack of success to bad luck.
To stop self-sabotage, we first need to wake up and recognize where it occurs in our life. We follow that up by asking questions like, “What goals have I had for myself for a long time and never been able to accomplish?” Or, “Where do I consistently fall short for no obvious reason?" Or, “Are there particular areas where I find myself putting off making a decision?” This will help bring to our awareness our patterns of behavior.
Then we must ferret out the negative thinking behind that behavior by identifying what we say to ourselves when we engage in it. We can even write down all our negative thoughts, no matter how silly or unrealistic they seem. Once brought to the surface, we challenge those thoughts and affirm, “This has no power over me!” Then we recall our purpose as well as why we decided to do what we set out to do. We begin to let this why fill our awareness until it becomes more influential than the negative messages we previously sent to ourselves.
Our positive self-messages, when infused with the energy of love, have tremendous power. They shape the direction of our life. Eventually those self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors return to the nothing from which they have come as we move closer to reaching our goals and fulfilling our purpose in life.
Peace and Blessings,