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Thursday, June 07, 2012
Comforting Ways to Soothe Your Self Sabotage
Have you ever gotten real clear about some authentic desire which your heart yearns to express, yet when you take the steps to give it voice, you find yourself going in the opposite direction? Things start to shift and change like the ocean tides and your faith starts to plummet.
Welcome to the voice of self sabotage.
How can you actually defeat self sabotage without sabotaging your best efforts? Susan Falcone of Powering Possible wrote a beautiful and powerful article on the subject in Forbes magazine. I share the parts which most resonated with me, which I hope you will find inspiring as well. She writes...
"If you have a fixed mindset you work with the assumption that growth and success are the direct result of your work product, performance, talent or intelligence. If it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped, or you fail altogether, then you think you suck, you’re stupid, and a giant loser. If you don’t get what you anticipated, you beat yourself up, blame someone or something else, or find every reason in the world why it wasn’t your “fault” because that smacks of epic failure.
When you’re operating from this failure/success point of view, your real motivation is, “Are people going to love me?”, “Are people going to accept me?”, and “Am I good enough?”
Here’s the shift in mindset that actually fosters sustainable change: People who have a growth mindset are not inspired by the fear of failure or the promise of success. They believe that wisdom and success are gained through each experience. So if they stumble, they assess the blip, modify their behavior and proceed in a different way. Subsequently, each behavioral modification increases their rate of success as they move forward—a sort of live and learn mentality. They don’t expect special attention or rewards. That’s not their motivation. Their motivation is simply a sense of forward movement (not fixed ideals) and the accumulation of wisdom as they work toward their ultimate goal. Because they accept their imperfections and are gentle and kind to themselves when they trip up, they move forward more successfully and are generally happier.
In other words, they modify as they go, avoiding the hamster wheel altogether.
Stop trying to be perfect
If you’ve adopted a fixed mindset, chances are you live in or frequently visit the Land of Perfectionism. It’s a huge trap, like that weird toyland Pinocchio went to before he got turned into a donkey. In his twisted pursuit to become something he wasn’t, he turned out to be something else altogether. A rather undesirable outcome, I might add. He turned into an ass.
The problem with perfectionism is that you’re trying to achieve an undefined and ever-shifting standard, so it’s a perfect setup for failure. In the process of trying to be the “winner” at whatever you’re trying to do, you’re creating an unattainable goal and trying to meet it in an unsustainable way. Perfectionism creates the perfect conditions for self-sabotage. There’s always someone better and more perfect, so striving to be the best at everything all the time is lost cause. Being the best is unnecessary for success, unless you’re trying to feed your ego. Your best is all that is required.
Susan goes on to say...
"When you’re motivated by making yourself feel bad so you’ll try harder, you’re engaging in a cycle of behavior that almost inevitably ends in failure.
Let’s revisit the fad diet scenario. Most of us have experienced self-talk like this: “I ate this bad thing; Now I feel guilty; I’m a loser because I have no willpower; Next time I will suffer through and stick to the diet.” Then you repeat the same cycle. Studies prove that this cycle ends up in you failing even worse the next time around. That’s why people lose five pounds and gain ten.
According to Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., a health psychologist at Stanford University, stress, guilt and shame actually make you more susceptible to immediate gratification, temptation and anxiety. She says, “The harder you are on yourself when you have a willpower failure, the more likely you are to have the same failure again, and the bigger it’s going to be when you do.”
Fascinating, huh? (my note :-)...
When we feel guilty for either letting ourselves or someone else down, most of us are really experiencing false guilt. False guilt is feeling responsible for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy. It stems from a perception that you are somehow breaking unspoken rules, are not meeting some perceived standard or are just not good enough for the task at hand. Limiting beliefs are the operating formulas created by those unspoken rules. Those limiting beliefs will suck the energy right out of you and cause you to fail or have a setback because they are not finite. They’re constantly changing and have no basis in reality.
If you enjoy your jog on the hamster wheel, keep guilting yourself.
Be kind to yourself
So, it’s been proven now that, contrary to popular belief, self-flagellation and guilting yourself do not help you get what you want. They actually cause setbacks, complete failure or regression.
You’re more likely to meet your goals or break your bad habits if you treat yourself with kindness and allow yourself some grace if you trip up.
This is one of the principals of the growth mindset and certainly does not invite perfectionism to play.
This is where self-compassion is crucial to helping you get to where you really want to be. If you want to meet your goal or change the bad habits that are preventing you from doing so, and sustain your practice of creating change, you need to be kind to yourself. The actual practice of being kind to ourselves and giving ourselves some leeway is called self-compassion.
When we don’t practice self-compassion, we often don’t allow ourselves experiences that make us feel good, or we may downplay our successes when we do have them. We use negative self-talk and self-deprecating humor to punish ourselves for our perceived shortcomings. We tend to deny ourselves feel-good experiences because we feel like we’re not worthy, or we’re not getting the approval from others that we seek, so we must not deserve kindness. We tend to allow unrealistic romantic sentiment or learned ideals to hold us back from celebrating a seemingly insignificant milestone. Or, we put everyone else’s needs or expectations ahead of our own, causing us to sabotage our own plans."
In order to reattune yourself to your self compassion, here is a soothing music meditation, imperfectly human, to revive your energy and refocus your attention to your own imperfect perfection.
If you'd like to deepen your own self compassion, please subscribe to my youtube channel where you will find more than 130 ancient healing and transformational music videos to connect you with your authentic voice.