A smart, lovely woman I know tells me she desperately wants to find, ‘the right one.’ She says she wants to get married. She says she wants to have a family.
Yet, she remains at her law-office desk until late at night. She returns at the crack of dawn and then spends most weekends going over the records of her clients, with little time for any form of social life.
This woman also eats an abysmal diet. While downing diet sodas all day, she either starves herself or snacks on junk food. Then she complains that her digestive system is sluggish and that she has no energy or enthusiasm for life. Needless to say, she also suffers from depression.
Anyone with even the smallest shred of insight can see that this woman is not being truthful to herself. What she says she wants and what she is actually doing to support her dreams are as far apart as they can be. Yet, when this discrepancy is gently pointed out to her she doesn’t see it, or doesn’t want to see it.
To a greater or lesser degree, most of us have lingered where this woman is. I know I have. I know it well. This place is called self-sabotage and if we are not careful, we can spend years or even our whole lives hanging out there.
This unhappy, but "known" comfort zone can take three broad forms:
1. We are blind to it.
The habit of self-sabotage can be so deeply unconscious we really don’t see it. We are blinkered to what we are doing (even if it is patently obvious to everyone around us).
2. We know what we should do.
Here we know we are sabotaging our goals, yet we keep choosing the easy option. We are not proactive. We do not take the first step.
3. We give up.
We have a goal in mind and try working toward it. When it doesn’t happen immediately (or to our specifications), we give up, even if an inner voice urges, What happened? Keep going!
When we are stuck in patterns of self-sabotage, it’s like constipation of the psyche. There’s no flow, no opening and it creates a vicious cycle.
The more bound up we become, the more disempowered and disenchanted we feel. In this unhealthy dynamic, we replay old tapes in our head about what we want, but feel incapable of getting where we so desperately long to be.
When this is the case, we have to be willing to at least try to give ourselves a good flushing out and allow the energy to flow freely.
The following self-inquiry exercises help. They have helped me. They are simple to apply, don’t cost a dime and can be used again and again:
In response to a relationship, work or health issue, ask yourself, “Is this working?” Deep inside, you already know the answer to this question. However, unless you are willing to consciously look at what the issue is around a situation or relationship that creates pain, frustration, dis-ease or discomfort, you will continue being a party to it. To transform something, you must shine light on it. The minute you do, patterns of subconscious behavior begin to fall away.
Zoning out and fantasizing about an imaginary future (or looking nostalgically at the past) helps nothing. We miss this moment where there are invaluable lessons to be learned. With presence, we know exactly what to do and when to do it. No energy is lost following false leads and when the time is right, synchronicity points the way to an obvious ease and flow in the direction of our lives.
Listen to your inner guidance. Act on it and take at least one step in the direction of your dreams and goals. Don’t concern yourself with the bigger picture. Making a start is vital. For example, if you feel stuck in a toxic work environment and see no immediate way out, move your desk, or try altering your schedule. Doing something starts the energy flowing. It empowers you and helps you become clear. Then once you are consciously engaged, watch how the universe finds creative ways to support you.
It takes guts to articulate what you want out of life, and I mean really want. It’s even more difficult to stand squarely behind your dreams, goals and visions and do the work to bring them into manifestation.
However, it’s worth the effort. You are worth it. I am worth it.
And, once my lovely, smart friend wakes up to what she has been doing to herself, she will realize she is worth it.