4 Must-Do's To Quit Self-Sabotaging And Get Out Of Your Own Way
I am a recovering control freak, have struggled with depression and anxiety and in my ‘down’ periods, I am notoriously good at self destructing. When I was single, that used to mean drinking myself into blackout, sleeping with the bad boy again that I knew was toxic for me, treating my physical and emotional health as if they didn’t matter.
After Dad passed away in early 2016, I sunk into a deep depression. I didn’t get out of bed for days at a time, I couldn’t keep it together at work. And in absolute honesty? I often felt drawn to getting in my car and driving it at full speed into a wall....I was in serious self-destruction mode.
I felt out of control, I wondered what was the point. I crave certainty and the ability to influence and change situations and I had none of that. I felt out of control. With it all. My business, my life, my relationship. My future. I withdrew. I reclused. I cried. A lot. Just because. Because I felt pain. I felt scared. I felt lost. I felt angry. I felt numb. I felt too much and then I didn’t feel at all.
I knew that that’s not what I wanted and it’s not who I am. And it didn’t even align with what I truly believe! I truly believe that we have this one life, we have to be here now and we each deserve to make it our best life and leave an incredible legacy behind - for me, that’s as a woman who truly aligned with what was true to her and inspired others to do the same. We deserve to love, to be healthy, to be happy, to feel and give kindness, we are capable and have infinite potential. We are powerful. And that is all true to me and my real beliefs.
Instead, I was this shell of my former self missing the sparkle in her eye that was letting external situations dictate how I was in this world. I realised I had a choice. I always had a choice. I couldn’t control what was going on around me, but I could control how I reacted to it and how I wanted to be.
So the first thing I did? I looked inward. I took myself for a drive and allowed myself to get lost in thought.
So I asked myself - why?
Why was I feeling this way?
Why was I reacting like this?
What was I so fearful about?
Was what I was doing serving me?
What had triggered me in the past and now to feel this way?
What story was I telling myself? What beliefs did I hold that were pushing these behaviours and habits to the surface?
And how could I get rid of them for once and for all?
And I came up with this -
I believed I was not worthy.
I believed I was not capable.
My pattern of starting a business and coming up with these great ideas and pushing forward with them at full throttle only to hit my self imposed glass ceiling came back to my belief that I’m not worthy of success. I’m not capable of breaking beyond that. So I would just stop. Overnight. I became the boy who cried wolf with a new idea every 6 months, only to stop it in its tracks 6 months later. I was always picking the ‘easy’ option of a business that would make me ‘successful’ by measure of money and what that looked like to others. When really, this website and the future of my business now is what I’ve always wanted. What I’ve always aspired for, but didn’t believe I was worthy or capable of creating. I did a lot of things I ‘should’ as a business owner, whilst preaching about the crappy ‘shoulds’ of corporate life (ironic, huh?).
I believed I was unloved.
I was self destructing as a way to show others that my pain was real, that it was serious. I was crying out for love and support. I wanted attention and expected others to read my mind. I wasn't sharing how I felt and yet I was angry that no one understood how I was feeling. I had convinced myself that I was a victim.
I believed I was weak.
Coming back full circle, the fact that I never would see a business through to success and wanted recognition for my pain and to be cared for, resulted in me believing that I was weak. That I wasn’t strong enough to be the woman I wanted to be and that because of that, there was no point.
Recognising these patterns, behaviours and habits was incredibly powerful. It took me years to even allow myself to truly turn inward and ask myself introspectively what was really going on and why. And for that, I’m so, so thankful. But I also want to take preventative steps every day now to use this insight and not allow a crappy day to turn into a full scale depressive period or allow my anxiety to take over my life. We have the choice of how our life plays out moment to moment.
1. Get showered, get dressed and get outside
When I’m in meltdown mode, my default is to stay in my pyjamas all day and do nothing. You too? Literally nothing. Instead, when I’m feeling this way, I now have a shower. Get dressed, put on real clothes (no yoga pants here!) and go get a coffee. Or I do put on the yoga pants and actually go to yoga. Breaking the habit of allowing yourself to wallow in your misery and stay in victim mode is such an important first step. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything that’s going wrong or that’s out of your control or that is affecting you, I’m not suggesting you jump up the happiness ladder from the lowest rung to the top in one day, it’s the small steps that take you step by step up to the top of the ladder, each and every day until you’re living your life in alignment with who you really want to be.
2. Talk to someone
I’m not saying you need to go share your struggles online as I have, but just reach out to someone close to you and let them know that you’re not okay. That you’re not doing as well as you would like and that you’re taking steps to move beyond this. Whether it be a friend, your partner, even your yoga teacher, just let someone know. Sometimes putting what you’re feeling into words for someone else can help you get clarity around what and why you’re feeling what you are. Don’t expect those around you to be able to read your mind and know that you’re not okay. Make it your priority to reach out to one person and ask them for a coffee or to go for a walk. Put yourself in the presence of someone that you love, admire or inspires you and open up wide. Don’t be afraid to share that beautiful, vulnerable part of yourself that you’re punishing yourself for. When I am in my dark space, I purposefully make arrangements with friends and stick to them. Even if it means showing up in the same outfit I've worn for 3 days and with hair that hasn’t been washed for over a week, I’m there.
3. Treat yourself with kindness
Beating yourself up because you’re in this place? Not helping. Punishing your body because you’re in this place? Not helping. Keeping yourself stuck because you don’t believe you deserve to be happy? Not helping. You deserve to be a healthy, happy human. Even if you don’t believe it just yet. So be kind to yourself! That doesn’t mean you allow yourself to wallow and throw a pity party, it means you actively take measures to shower yourself with self love and kindness. Whether it be forcing yourself to get to that yoga class you know you’ll feel amazing for afterwards, or a long hot bath with some lavender oil whilst listening to an inspiring audio book, or buying yourself some fresh flowers for by your bed. Treat yourself with kindness. Loving yourself and being kind to yourself doesn’t happen overnight. But you do these things anyway, because that’s how you get there.
4. Aligned action
After turning inward, I wrote everything that came up for me down. I word vomited it out. I included it all. What triggered me. What I believed. Why I believed it. Why it wasn’t working for me. What I could do instead. From that, I crafted my own manifesto (and my own mantra that I would remind myself of on the daily - it's FIND YOUR HAPPY for those playing at home!) A declaration to live by of my beliefs, my wisdom, what aligned to the true me. From there, I evaluated every situation that I felt out of control with and asked myself how I wanted to respond to it from my manifesto. And that is always, always, ALWAYS honest, kind, loving and empowered. I sat down and did that with everything - my business, my life, my relationships and I had instantly taken aligned action towards the life that I wanted to lead.
Now it's your turn - what are some things that you can do to stop self-sabotaging and remove those self-destructive habits from your life?
Remember, you matter, which means your comment matters and it might just inspire someone else that really needs it!