I self-sabotage. I’d like to think I’ve made my way to the halfway point of healing this unnecessary anchor of life simply by acknowledging the overly frustrating flaw in my personality. I can’t help it, though. I am my worst critic and put myself down relentlessly. I do things that set me back. And I fail to acknowledge small victories unless they are brought to my attention.
I have a yearning desire to succeed, yet I isolate my talents through mindless procrastination and naps that temporarily relieve my anxiety.
I know I’m good at a lot of things, and my skill set ranges indefinitely. I don’t say this to be a braggart. I just believe we have the potential to be anything we want to be. It just takes a lot of practice and self-discipline. But still, I do things that dampen my ego and feelings of self-worth. Time is wasted harboring over the mindless errors of a warped past self. It’s stifling and so unnecessary.
Unsurprisingly for someone guilty of chronic self-sabotage, I opt to crawl up in a ball, feeling sorry that I’m not the woman I long to be. And my languishing sends me deeper down the hole of defeat. Yet it doesn’t garner the attention the child inside of me thought it might from the outside world.
Then I make an effort, for days, weeks, maybe months only to reprieve it with three steps back. I still came closer to my end goal, and usually have achieved quite a handful of successes. I remind myself that success is a journey and not a destination. Despite this, I am never satisfied and angry with myself for wasting what is basically a morsel of time in the grand scheme of things.
So I breathe and attempt to become grounded while I quake with anger for human mistakes.
It brings up feelings that those who put me down were right the whole time. They told me I would amount to nothing. I know this is utter rubbish, and that I should not waste another fraction of a second feeling sorry for myself. Thoughts of youthful mistakes resurface, but I stop acting out and redeem my sanity I had lost for a brief moment — though it seems like longer.
I pick myself up and get back to work. I push and push and push and make goals and achieve them. All of my ideas excite me, and I put them into action even when I don’t feel like putting in the work. I write and I feel joyous. I contemplate whether writing could be an income I accumulate on the side or even become “a writer” for an indefinite period of time. I work hard. I devote time to all my projects that fill me with light and give me purpose. I practice self-care and devise business strategies for what one day I will start as my own.
I fight against the grain. Not necessarily a society that wants you to fail, rather the demons in my mind that tell me it’s easier to be comfortable and fall into old habits. Being lazy is my biggest culprit that comes before a wave of depression caused by a lack of productivity. It’s a vicious cycle.
Right now, I’m getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and the rate of my self-growth has increased significantly. I always make mistakes, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and recognize my small triumphs.
I stay busy. I make lists with mini-goals for the day, and they make the larger five-year and ten-year goals a little easier to reach — day by day, moment by moment. And I look back to a year ago, and I am brought to tears by what I have achieved, goals I never deemed attainable until I broke them down into the smallest steps humanly possible.
I also started actively avoiding things that devoid me of pleasure and productivity. They happen to be the same thing that garners immediate gratification — television, social media, sleeping in, etc. It’s a journey, and even though I need reminding from time to time that success doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a challenge I admit I face regularly.
You might be in the same boat. I’m sure you know the feeling of chasing a goal that lights a fire in your belly yet also sends your mind spinning into oblivion simultaneously. I reckon it’s tough for you to stay focused at times, especially during a pandemic that has thrown us off the railroad tracks of life.
So I want to remind you to be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Don’t put yourself down, and answer the voice in your head as you would a friend- likely with love and understanding. Set small goals, and when you conquer one- recognize it. Maybe that translates to an article a week, or maybe an article a day, depending on your style.
And for heaven’s sake, stop comparing yourself to others and focus on you. This is the hardest part for me, especially when jealousy brews over a stranger I hold contempt over. There is no other person like you on this Earth. Even if there are fifty people or five thousand people who sell the same product, write on the same topic, or propose the same idea as you, you will always add your spin to it. You’re special in that way.
So fight self-sabotage and make a goal to not engage in the heinous act for one whole day, and if that seems like too daunting a task- make it one whole hour. Just take it moment by moment, and see where that leaves you.
Susie has her Bachelor’s in psychology from Rutgers University and is fascinated with the art of improving our quality of life through the power of thought, intention lifestyle habits, and by consuming plant-based whole foods. She is passionate about writing and has dreams to become a regular contributor for O, the Oprah Magazine.
© Susie Pinon 2020