I am my own worst enemy sometimes. I know this, but I don’t always admit it. My pride gets in the way, and I trip over my own self-inflicted bruised ego. I think everyone is like that sometimes. I think we all self-sabotage whether we know it or not. Some of us recognize it sooner than others, and some of us never realize it at all.
I don’t always recognize when I am self-sabotaging, but I thought quite a bit about it over the last 24 hours. I thought about all the things I do to get in my own way and narrowed it down to a few that cover a multitude. My top 5 self-sabotaging moves in no particular order are as follows:
- Shifting Blame – This is one I do often. I know I do, but I am working on it. Shifting blame is easy to do, especially in a world where everything is someone else’s fault according to the media. Why should I take responsibility for my choices and actions when there is someone else just two feet away? The truth is that when we blame others we don’t have to look at our own choices. We don’t have to admit that we might have made the mistake. In a world where mistakes are no longer accepted, no one wants to make a mistake. What’s sad about this is that mistakes are how we learn. So, guess what? When we shift blame, the only thing we learn is how to shift blame. We need to own our mistakes because, in the end, the only ones to blame are ourselves.
- Making Excuses – Making excuses goes hand-in-hand with shifting blame. We are no longer late because we forgot about the time. We are late because traffic was horrible. For years I made excuses about why I couldn’t complete a task or reach a goal. It was never because of the choices I made or that I was afraid. It was always because I had no choice, I didn’t have enough experience, I was too tired, I didn’t have a dance background, or something to do with my children. I never wanted to admit that I was where I was because I chose not to practice, I didn’t budget my time well, or I just didn’t want to do it. Excuses, like lies, become easier the more you make them. They are a bad habit that have no place in your vocabulary if you want to be successful. Am I rid of this habit? No, I admit I still fight this self-sabotage technique, but at least now I recognize it and work to identify the real reason.
- Being Emotionally Unavailable – Rather than admitting that I am just not ready to be in a relationship (this includes some friendships), I keep trying to create a connection where one either doesn’t exist or is too fragile to handle my baggage. Although my baggage tells an interesting story, it gets in the way. I often overcompensate in relationships by trying to correct mistakes from previous relationships such as being too attentive in one relationship because I was too withdrawn in a previous and vice versa. I might choose to be less open with someone because in a previous relationship I was too vulnerable and got hurt. What I should do is take the time I need to get to know me better. Once I am comfortable with who I am, I will be more capable emotionally supporting others. I also need to look at each relationship for what it is and not judge it or compare to others from the past. I think we all need to remember that every one of us is on a journey, and no one really knows where anyone else is on theirs.
- Being Unwilling to Compromise – I would like to say that this is a new area of difficulty, but it isn’t. I’m just a little more vocal about it now. Sometimes a compromise should not happen. For example when trying not to drown, there really is no compromising. You either have your head above water or you don’t. Compromising also shouldn’t happen when it comes to your healthcare (that’s a whole other post right there), but when working with a team, you have to be able to give a little in order to get a little. There have been times, even in recent months, where I just did not want to compromise. I wanted things done my way and that was that. I can tell you things did not go smoothly, and I got behind on several projects because I didn’t want to change what I was doing. I knew I was right, and I wanted to be right. After that, communication broke down and nobody was happy. Imagine what I could have learned or what I could have taught if I had just been willing to compromise for the sake of the team rather than trying to be right all the time.
- Failing to Ask for Help – Nobody likes to admit that they need help, and I am no different. My pride kicks in because I don’t want to appear weak or as though I don’t know what I’m doing. How many of you have felt the same way? We are inundated with infographics, movies, television shows, and song lyrics about being self-made and independent. As a woman, I feel that asking for help sometimes plays into the long-held male belief that women are weaker and can’t do anything without help. It’s not true, of course, women are more than capable. I am a capable woman, but being capable also means asking for help when it is needed. In fact, recognizing the need for assistance is a strength because it shows that you don’t know everything, that you understand there are people smarter than you, and that you are willing to work with others and learn.
I’m not going to eliminate my self-sabotaging habits overnight. It will take many months, and possibly years, to eliminate them completely. However, progress is made every time I recognize when I have done one of these and then work to change it.