My Month of Self-Sabotage

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My Month of self-sabotage

Episode 58

Sometimes you can’t even notice that the very thing holding you back, is you.

Today, I’m sharing how I spent a month in self-sabotage. And how I’m moving forward with more grace, joy, and purpose.

 
 

Last month, I had my best month in business to date.

I gave a talk for a co-working community I’m a part of, I gave my very first podcast interview on someone else’s podcast whom I admire, I ran a workshop in mid-May that I felt wonderful doing, I booked a new client, and I nearly doubled my podcast downloads…

Ya’ll I was planting seeds and seeing some things sprout up.

And, then, I completely stopped. 

I’m still trying to figure out what my rationale was but honestly, I do not think I even have one. But I literally did not log in to my website, my Google Drive for my business for nearly 3 weeks. It almost feels like I was in a trance. I have hardly any recollection as to why it would be a reasonable idea to essentially walk away from my business full stop.

Unsurprisingly, I spent the last 3 weeks in a low energetic state. I hesitate to call it depression because I’m not qualified to diagnosis that. I distinctly remember crying randomly in the middle of the day, sleeping way more than I usually do, and questioning what’s the point of getting up in the morning when I don’t have anything to do. 

I felt like I was questioning my entire worldview and my entire sense of self.

Some of things I wrote about in my journal were:

  • “This business will never make consistent money.”

  • “I will never be able to support myself the way I want to so why even bother trying.”

  • “I’ll never really enjoy the work I’m doing so why continue.”

  • “I’m not good enough to have a platform or impact or life like the people I admire.”

So I stopped. I don’t think that’s surprising considering the nature of my thoughts during those few weeks.

A few things changed over the past week or so. 

I meditated, I met up with a friend for breakfast. And I slowly started to bring my energy back up again. But I slowly started to feel like I was coming back into myself. I went to church, I meditated, I stopped eating so poorly. And I started to do some of the things I loved doing again: engaging with beautiful things and feeling inspired to create. 

One day I randomly stumbled across this podcast called Woke and Wired. There I was in my favorite coffee shop listening to Suzy Batiz on this podcast (founder of Poo-Pourri) talk about how business is not business, it’s spiritual. It’s a all a spiritual journey And I was nodding along like a maniac. 

And then Suzy Batiz talked about this book called “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks that something in my spirit said “Read this book.” So I skipped going to yoga and drove across town to get the only copy available in the Houston Public Library system. I sat in my car for 10 minutes, while my AC competed with the Houston humidity reading this book. Reading Gay Hendricks words, and feeling completely broken open.

One of Gay Hendricks’ central arguments is that human beings are faced with the strange, but real psychological tendency to sabotage positive feelings. This is called the Upper Limit Problem. There is an Upper Limit to how much positive feelings you can experience for any given time and it is hard to sustain. (cough, cough self-sabotage.)

The Upper Limit Problem looks like you feeling elated about meeting someone new and then wondering if they’re a psychopath. 

Or you completely stopping any work related activity after you’ve had your best month in business!

Could it really be that I was sabotaging myself so unconsciously?! Could I, as someone who has spent the past three years studying consciousness, mindfulness, the mind, and applying these things to my everyday life to experience more joy, more connection, more abundance really be self-sabotaging?!

Yes, it really could. 

Hendricks talks about how hard it can be for humans to sustain positive feelings because we’re almost hardwired to expect bad things to happen. It’s as if as humans we want to be happy, don’t believe we can be, so we create the circumstances to confirm our belief. That was definitely the case for me. That’s why I spent nearly an entire month running in the opposite direction of my business.

A part of me felt elated to see all of this progress being made. And another part of me, my fearful ego screamed “We’ll never be able to keep this up! Think of how hard we had to work to get to this and this isn’t even enough to sustain us! We will never ever be able to live the life we want to live, so just stop.”

And I stopped. Even though stopping meant I was turning my back on my heart. My heart isn’t in building a successful business just for the sake of it. My heart is in showing people that life is incredibly beautiful, beautiful in ways that just break you open, and if we can open ourselves to the beauty, we can live how we always dream of: fulfilled, joyful, connected. But I ignored my heart because I became really afraid that I would not be able to survive.

If this were a couple of years ago, I would have hoped I’d never be someone to sabotage myself like that. I may have not even seen this as self-sabotage. A couple of years ago I would have castigated myself for turning away from my business. A couple of years ago I would have wallowed in self-pity and self-hatred for way too long. 

But I didn’t. I didn’t punish myself, I didn’t wallow for months on end. I’m surprised, blessed, and so deeply honored to say I’ve grown. I’ve changed. And this growth feels so much more rewarding than never making a misstep in the first place. 

I thought I’d feel happy, I’d feel joy and connection and fulfillment when I stopped making mistakes and started living perfectly. I was wrong. This is where the joy comes from. Or at least where it is right now. It’s in making massive mistakes, sabotaging myself, doubting myself to my core, and waking up from the trance, from the dream that I’m hopeless.

The joy is in telling the story with you all in hopes that something in what I say touches your heart. That the energy that I feel inside goes through me, through my voice, into this mic, through your speakers, and into your heart. Into your soul. 

And that the universal truths, the power of my experience, resonates with you so much that you recognize yourself in my words. That you recognize your own spirit speaking to you. And that you answer the call.

The joy comes from knowing that life is always extending this invitation to live beautifully. Not perfectly, beautifully. Sometimes we do things that baffle even ourselves. And we are still given the grace to accept it, to love, and move on.

I hope that you read these words today. I hope you can accept your mistakes, accept your own self-sabotage, and love the hell out of it. Love the hell out of yourself because you are all you have. And when you’re in that state of loving, I hope you move forward.


Relevant Links:

Woke and Wired Podcast Interview with Suzy Batiz

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

 
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intro and outro music: danosongs.com


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Danielle Callendar