The Magical Side of Self-Sabotage

Have you ever seen that innocent face a child makes when they feel guilty about something?

If you’re a parent, it’s probably a look you know all too well.

Whether it is guilt from an accident or guilt from something they know they shouldn’t do – that’s my current relationship with self-sabotage.

I know all about self-sabotage.

I spent most of my teens and early twenties living in a state of self-sabotage. In fact, it had a cycle: every 7-8 months I would “ruin” whatever good thing I had going for me because I was becoming uncomfortable with how good things were. It was as if I had a certain “threshold for good” I could not cross.

I didn’t know how to handle all the good.

I repeated this cycle until about 23, when I relocated to San Diego, CA to follow my dream of living by the water.

With a free place to stay, it was a no-brainer to relocate and try it out. The cycle continued: drinking, sleeping around, and feeling miserable no matter how much I drank.

Needless to say, you probably recognize the cycle: I hated myself.

But as we always say at MDS: all of this self-sabotage was leading me somewhere.

As I ran out of funds and had no choice but to spend my evenings sober, I had to start facing my empty apartment and the hole inside of me.

At first, I did everything I could to avoid it:

  • Cleaning the house
  • Applying for jobs {I wasn’t jobless, but was working minimal hours due to some transfer paperwork}
  • Going to the local coffee shop to enjoy their delicious, organic coffee
  • Walking a few miles along the ocean, listening to my favorite playlist

And soon I realized, well, I was just dealing with things.

I wasn’t exactly sitting around basking in my feelings and welcoming them in, but as I allowed myself to grow more present within my own body and being, the overwhelming doom I used to feel when sobriety crept in… started to fade.

I want to say I changed, but I think I simply – finally – opened up.

While it wasn’t until years later that I began embracing all the experiences, failures and wins as life lessons, I can look back and tell you every layer of self-sabotage I pulled back had a lesson waiting for me.

Recently (just last Monday, in fact), embarrassed and ashamed, I came face to face with another layer of self-sabotage.

Even though I see it, realize its gifts, and know the shifts I’m experiencing will yield the best results for me, I am embarrassed.

Similar to that child’s innocent face, I knew what I was doing, but I didn’t – because I was self-sabotaging.

Shame rushes in to scold me because I should know better.

I’ve been dealing with my “threshold for good” all year, how could I have missed this rather obvious self-sabotage?

…I could go on and on.

But as you might have figured out by now, in this shame and “threshold for good,” I’ve been finding a lot of magic.

Through this experience, I’ve discovered:

  • How “in flow” my feelings are. Where I numbed in the past, I now free flow my feelings of shame. It’s freeing and liberating every time I lift a layer of it.
  • How resilient I’ve become. There used to be times when I would be down for hours at a time because I could barely handle hardship. While there are times I still need hours or days, I do so now from a space of self-honoring rather than fear or denial, easily regulating and flowing in my resilience.
  • How far I’ve come. Sometimes we spend so much time dwelling on our stories and who we used to be that we forget who we are right now. I do that all the time. This moment reminds me that all those stories, the shame I’m experiencing… I used to experience this every day. Now, I rarely feel that shame and embarrassment.

So even though right now it hurts and it’s a bit of a struggle, I know even in the hurt that I am safe.

There’s magic waiting for you – all you must do is lean into the lesson.

Whether that is sitting with the feelings, or journaling out the reasons you might be self-sabotaging, it’s all about opening up to the possibilities.

Want to lean in with me?