(I started this blog on Monday…here it is Thursday, and this has felt like an anchor on my soul. If you read on, you will see the irony here – and maybe a little humor. Working through this issue has almost every component mentioned, except shifting responsibility – I fully and completely own this. I am so far out of my comfort zone I need a map to find my way…nope – not going back!)
My positive content reading this morning (3/14/22) was about self-sabotage. Interesting way to start the week. The reading concluded with the invitation to consider the possibility that this is happening in my life. After careful consideration, I’d say there is a 250% chance that I do and have done this! And in so many aspects of my life.
Procrastination – may as well jump in with this one (instead of putting it off?!!) Telling myself that waiting to do something while I think about it for a while – so I can do it better when I actually do it. Or that I work better under pressure? Totally not true – and not only that – it has to make everyone around me miserable while I stress about it. When I think about it – I probably spend about 4 times the amount of time (and energy) putting it off than it would take to just do it.
Perfectionism – the reading pointed out that if you wait until you can do something perfectly, you’ll probably die without having done the thing. How true is that? Perfectionism is my excuse for procrastination.
Comfort Zone – I know this one! But do I apply it? Maybe tomorrow…. Staying where it’s comfortable does nothing for growth. It’s a joy-killer hiding behind “safety”. And by employing procrastination and perfectionism – there is little excuse or motivation to step up and step out.
Shifting Responsibility – If the first three aren’t excuse enough – it’s not my fault! And if it’s your fault – it’s out of my control. I know better than that. I am responsible for my life and my choices – so why do I keep defaulting to these self-sabotaging behaviors?
Distraction – right up there with procrastination! Focus on what I am doing – but look – squirrel! Surely I can find someone/something to blame for me being so easily distracted!
Negative Self-Talk – Yep – since I have allowed myself to be distracted, have procrastinated, failed to step out of my comfort zone since I have perfected, and blamed everyone/everything else – it’s now time to beat myself up about it.
Reflecting on my habits and behaviors with respect to self-sabotage has been a painful, thoughtful process. Somewhere, somehow, I came to believe that I was responsible for just about everything – good, bad, and ugly. Along with that, the idea that if I rejected people or didn’t let them get too close, I couldn’t be hurt. What a huge ego…and what a waste of time and energy, and so many missed opportunities.
A very dear friend, one that I considered my “other mother”, took me aside one day. She courageously (and if you know me well, you’ll know this is true) sat me down and told me that if I didn’t start letting people into my life and welcome them, that I was going to be very lonely. She had the guts to tell me that I scared people off and built walls to protect myself. I wish with all my heart that my 19 or 20 year-old self had listened to her wisdom. She was acting out of love for me – and we still had a wonderfully close relationship. I just didn’t want to believe what she was telling me.
As time went on, I perfected the art of shutting people out. Anyone was fair game. Unfortunately, I turned this behavior on the people that were most important to me. What might start out as being a minor upset over something that happened (inconsequential) could turn into a cold war that countries might be envious of. To the point that often I couldn’t even remember why I was upset in the first place. Later in my life, I found (by accident) something that was written about me that had a profound effect on me. I keep it in my Bible as a reminder of how hurtful I was.
I can see each of these components mentioned above and how they contributed to my behavior. I am ashamed, embarrassed by the way I acted. It hasn’t been easy to change – and it’s still a work in progress. Probably the worst part is the realization that I modeled this behavior to my family and friends. The second worst is realizing that it was frustration with myself and convincing myself that I wasn’t worthy of their love and forgiveness that was driving my anger.
If I had 10 lifetimes, I could never undo or erase the mistakes I’ve made. I will, though, try to be a better role model every day. I try to catch myself, communicate better, and practice forgiveness toward others and myself (that part is important!). I am practicing gratitude, for my life is richly blessed. And I am working on practicing grace. Hopefully, I can offer even a fraction of the outpouring of grace and forgiveness that has been showered on my from my friends and family.
Finally, I offer heartfelt apologies to the many of you that have befallen my “cold war” tactics. I have no good excuse – just my inability to express/communicate my frustration (mostly with myself!). My family and friends – you are my dearest treasure – you fill my heart and life with pure joy. Bear with me – I’m learning and growing in love – because of you!