The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Self Sabotage

A popular and quite descriptive term used by nice people, often quite smart people, to describe non-obtimal behavior.  From the Lifewriting perspective, what is Self Sabotage, and how can we deal with it?
A couple of principles and thoughts.  Since this is just stream of consciousness, I'll enumerate for clarification, but please understand that if I was writing a more formal article, I'd probably use another format.
1) A Hawaiian Huna principle:  The primary dictate of the subconcious mind is to protect us.  That means that a lot of what you consider "self-sabotaging" behavior is actually an attempt to protect you.  That means that it is quite possible that some part of you considers your current status to be one of safety.  Shall we look at some of this?
a) financial.  Do you put off doing the bills?   Thre's probably pain associated with them.  YOu don't really want to KNOW how short on money you are.  Put off doing your homework till the last minute? (Who doesn't?)  This kind of procrastination is  damned near universal.  Avoidance of pain is easy to see here.
b)  Personal.  Sabotage relationships?  Cheat on a partner?  Fail to make calls, or keep appointments, or fly into  inappropriate rages?  There are few things in the world more frightening than true intimacy.  And I think most of us have done stupid things here, feeling we weren't worthy of a truely loving partner, or that if we open ourselves, we
ll just be hurt, or what's the point--if we care, we'll just be revealed as vulnerable and silly.  I know that both men and women feel that their vulnerabilities are used against them in relationships.  They'd feel the same way if they were gay.  Relationships can be very fang-and-claw affairs.
c) Physical.  Who among us hasn't dealt with the pains, real and imagined, of changing a fitness level, or losing weight?  I mention weight issues o often because they are a major concern for America right now--they reveal one of our Achilles' heels.  We like to eat.  We don't like to move. Teh combination is deadly.  Add to this the fact that sexual abuse, insecurity, and self-image problems can manefest in the same arena.  We associate with our bodies, and if we change them, who are we? We store resentments and fears by the bucket inourbodies.  How are we to process this stuff?
One day at a time.  I recently sponsored a little Hoodia experiment in the household, partially to allow Nicki to visit her friends in Washington in about 10 days with a greater sense of pride in accomplishment.  She's been working our for a long time, using disicpline and trying to keep her spirits high.  But I'm pushing her in all three major arenas--body, mind, and spirit, and that is some major self-confrontation, folks.  From time to time, a little help isn't hte worst thing in the world.  She's still done the work, this just reduces the friction a little bit. 
2)  All living systems crave homeostasis.  We want to stay the way we are.  Inertia is a bitch.  Once you're moving, it's easy to keep moving.  but when your base-line has been constant for a long time, your body and mind will give you absolute hell on the way to change.  You want and need allthe allies you can get.
The study of the Hero's Journey suggests three steps that are important.
A) Assumption of responsibility.  You have to commit to the journey, although you KNOW that you will encounter dragons along the way.
B) Gathering of allies and powers.  You must assume that you do not currently have the abilities necessary to get there.  Look around for the people who can help support you.  Look also into the question of whether current associations are toxic or healthy.
C)  The dark night of the soul WILL come.  Always.  It is absolutely inevitable if you are moving from one serious arena to another.   What gets us through is faith.  What manefestation of faith has helped you in the past?  Talk to others who have accomplished your goal (stay away from those who have failed at it, if possible--they can infect you with their own negative attitudes!) and try to ferret out the critical differences between those who have succeeded, and those who have failed. The differences are there.
And above all, self-love is vital.  Why go through all of this nonsense, if you don't love yourself?  Don't have faith in yourself?  Don't beleive that, at the very core, we are eternal and beautiful, wonderful and wise, and made of the same stuff as the stars.  Why? Luminous beings are we, not this crude flesh.  You have the right and responsibillity to build your life into a temple in praise of the Creator, however you envision that force.  Believe me, the world is filled with people who say there is no home.  Leave the pity party.  Take a step toward your true magnificence.  Five times a day, breathe deeply and remind yourself of your three most critical goals.
And fail successfully, with a sense of humor about it all.  Do these things, and nothing can stop you.



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