I have a pet peeve around the phrase “self-sabotage.” Typically when I hear people using that language, they’re feeling judgmental about themselves, for “sabotaging” their efforts and goals with unhelpful or unconscious behaviors.
And maybe, for some people, making it into a “saboteur” is helpful.
But making an unconscious part of ourselves into “the bad guy” is still inflicting self-judgment, even if it does seem fully justified.
And, while pushing through self-judgment might work for some people, I have always found that a more compassionate and inclusive approach is more effective for me and most of the people I work with — at least during the phase of evolution in which frustrations about “self-sabotage” come up.
The idea of “self-sabotage” comes from a fundamental misunderstanding about how human intelligence works. It’s a force-driven paradigm of assumptions from the “just push through it” school of achievement. And sure, it must work for some people.
But when equipped with a deeper understanding of how the human organism works, I find that people don’t have “self-sabotage” anymore.
Sure, there may be unconscious patterns that come up, but with illuminated understanding of the deeper need that’s wanting to be met, a natural compassion arises rather than a force-driven “push” to defeat the saboteur.
Now, don’t get me wrong — most people want to fight the “saboteur” to the death. “GET RID OF THIS THING! I WANT TO BE FREE OF THIS SUFFERING! MAKE IT GO AWAY!”
But the only way out, is through.
And there are important clues in the suffering, that allow for greater integration, healing, transformation, and empowerment — WHEN you know how to read the clues.
But it requires you to take a more objective perspective about your suffering — to be curious about your body’s intelligence and looking for the empowering reason why you’re engaging in “sabotaging” behaviors, rather than making yourself wrong.
Because when it comes down to it, your body’s intelligence is primarily concerned with safety and security — preservation of the organism.
And in the face of uncertainty, risk, unknown variables, potential failure, perceived threats, or any other obstacles that arise on our journey, the most fundamental role is “create safety.”
Now, as we all know, safety is a total illusion. There is nothing truly “safe” in this life — after all, we’re on a blue-green marble hurtling around the sun at 67,000 mph, in a solar system moving at 515,000 mph through the cosmos. We’ve created an earthly environment with the illusion of safety, which is quite miraculous, but how safe can it be, really, when 100% of us all die?
Nonetheless, while we are experiencing this human lifetime, our body-mind organism is wired to seek safety. And while not all of the means for “seeking safety” make sense, they are still endeavors to preserve the organism:
Things like eating comfort foods, staying up too late, getting into an argument with a loved one, avoiding difficult conversations, staying extra “busy” instead of creating space to align with a deeper purpose, creating waves of anxiety and panic in the face of new situations — these are all ways in which the system is, perhaps unhelpfully, attempting to create safety.
Now if your #1 protector, guardian, and defender were going to battle for you in an attempt to keep you safe, would you get upset and wish for it to go away?
Of course not. But that’s what we do every time we get mad about “self-sabotage.” Damn protector. Trying to keep me safe again. Argh.
Sure, the guardian of your safety IS less evolved — it’s a more primitive part of your brain and nervous system. But “less evolved” is not necessarily cause for judgment, rejection, and anger.
Next time you’re noticing yourself engaging in “self-sabotaging” behaviors that seem to pull you off-track from your objectives, get curious. You’re simply engaging in the polarity between safety and novelty, between the familiar and the unknown, and the primitive brain needs your assurance that you’re going to be safe.
There is no such thing as “safe”, of course, but like a small child or a puppy, you can still soothe the scared small self that believes it’s defending you from imminent danger.
Get intensely curious about the hidden benefit of the “sabotaging” behavior.
Start wondering about what needs are not being met, which your body-mind organism is now trying to meet through these behaviors.
And then give your defender, aka “saboteur”, a big virtual hug. It’s just trying to keep you safe, after all. And there’s a clue hidden in the unconscious behavior that will unlock oodles of energy, latent potential, and power — when you know how to interpret it.
If you’d like to learn more about unlocking the clues in your greatest challenges, and harnessing the untapped power of your biggest obstacles and stresses to fuel your wildest dreams, you will love what we’re doing in the Joyful Genius… Unleashed! retreat in St. Lucia this winter.
Because here’s the deal: High performance, productivity, and efficiency don’t come from “pushing through” with your willpower to get your desired results.
Performance and productivity come naturally when you understand the clues your body and emotions are providing — the messages in the low points, the gifts in the obstacles.
The path IS the way.
It’s about working smarter, not harder, WITH your body-mind organism and WITH the principles of creation and the universe.
You can do “battle” with yourself — even in the language you use, like “saboteur,” — or you can meet yourself with kindness.
One approach creates more struggle, one approach creates more flow.
Either way, you’ll achieve your goals or you won’t, but you’ll have a very different experience of the journey itself.
If you’d like to be held in the cradle of the Caribbean as you do the deep inner work that creates alignment, flow, and calm in your nervous system, join me for the Joyful Genius… Unleashed! retreat happening January 27-February 2 in St. Lucia.
Deepen your understanding of your body-mind organism and the inherent challenges in your journey, and learn the essential joy hacks you need to thrive ANYWAY.
Everything you’re working to create right now in your life and business is all because you want THIS — this feeling of inner peace, ease, flow, and alignment.
So… let’s hack the system and create it all from the inside out, instead.
It’s ridiculously faster, much more effective, and exquisitely empowering.
To accelerate your path of joyful creation, I’ve set up a crazy awesome SUPER early bird special for those registering in the next 2 weeks (whaaa…!?!? save $800!) — PLUS you’ll receive two private coaching sessions ($1400 value) to jumpstart your journey now if you register by Monday, October 22 — email (team AT annerosehar.com) if you’ve got any questions and let’s do this!
Let yourself be held by Mother Nature as you uncoil the conditioned patterns of stress in your body. Come snorkeling with me and let’s uplevel your life while we play on the beach and slurp on fresh mangoes. 🙂
There’s no such thing as self-sabotage. But there IS such a thing as illuminated understanding of yourself as the operator of a body-mind vehicle that’s got, uh, a few lovable and well-meaning quirks in the operating system that occasionally wreak havoc.
Come and decode the owner’s manual for being YOU. 🙂
See you in the Caribbean sunshine.