The battle to keep up appearances unnecessarily, the mask- whatever name you give creeping perfectionism- robs us of our energies.’ Robin Worthington.
Changing our mindset or the way we look at the world is no small task as it incorporates engagement and awareness. The only reason people will ever endeavour to change anything about themselves is because their tried and tested methods have not brought them happiness, life affirming connectivity with others or valuable support. Their resources for living a full life has been limited or curtailed due to their own self limiting and self punishing mindset. People will only start to engage with change through opportunity and this is key.
If one is fortunate enough to bump into an individual or situation along the way that offers the opportunity for change: to be, think or do something else greater with their life that benefits themselves and/or humanity.
Once someone is hopeful about opening up possibilities for themselves, then they are motivated to change, then they can see how change can and will benefit their life.
To engage with lasting change one has to develop three core drives within themselves. These are: a willingness to be open to a new approach or different way. To have trust in the process, to give over one’s defences and completely trust in an unknown path or a loving force greater than themselves that guides, a leap of faith.
To be fully committed without hesitation to the journey and process, in it’s undertaking is the true nature of personal resolve.
Defensiveness and hostility are the only negative self sabotaging attributes that one need observe in themselves when engaging with change or any new way of being/ thinking. Defensiveness and hostility are born out of our parent-child relationships where varying degrees of experience in criticism, over protectiveness, abandonment, rejection and low self esteem all affected our innate ability to trust.
Ultimately, we are alone, we are born alone and we die alone, so all engagement in the end is with ourselves. Once we recognise this truth there is opportunity to engage with life fully. Often our self sabotaging defences are benefiting no one and are self defeating as a means to control our fear of the big vastness of life that is full of unlimited possibility.
Managing self sabotage requires reflection and the ability to develop self insight, self awareness (one’s position in the real world objectively), empathy (arising from resolving inner conflict), stress & anxiety management by engaging with our levels of emotional intelligence, which is the ability to adapt to social understandings and environments.
Another really important part of change is: affirmation!
To affirm the small positive changes made and to see the benefits of change as a form of positive feedback in our life. This suggests that change is affecting our behaviours positively and is working and helping us to move past entrenched self limitation.
Reassurance and self praise are very important when starting out and to develop the ability to self sooth as a means to develop and enhance internal parent child relationship, often missing from childhood. As we grow more and engage openly with change, we experience a new view of ourself in our life and in our interpersonal relationships. Our skills are derived from a rich internal well of interpersonal resources rather than looking to external or outside world to satisfy what we think is missing within.
We then can observe self sabotage as an active internal force that wishes for things to remain the same. Why?! Because change is difficult and our behaviour and habit patterns are really all we have ever known in our life.
Self sabotage has its markers which are good to observe so that one can challenge them when they arise, these are: criticism, rigidity, blame, excuses, righteousness, uncertainty and doubt.
All these forces create resistance, inflexibility and a lack of receptivity in relationships, behaviours, communications, work and life. Here is a list of self sabotaging identities that stop us being in the flow of life:
I am superior- the perfectionist, I have standards.
I am aloof -the rejection sensitive/dislikes conflict
I am a victim – I might end up being abandoned
I am judgemental – people should be punished for doing wrong things, bad people exist
I am withholding – I withdraw emotionally/ I never disclose
I am helpless – I’m afraid I’ll make mistakes/ I can’t
I am inhibited – my life circumstances stop me, I am blocked
I am approved of – I need to be liked or approved by others.
I am controlling- I need to control others around me so I feel safe.
I am defensive – I need to defend my position, I often feel provoked and criticised
I am needy – I self sacrifice my life and needs to help others. I have to meet the needs of others.
When we truly look at ourselves and our defense strategies, then we start to focus on our life and not how we are in relation to the external world. This is a way into the infinite possibility of life as opposed to our subconscious self limiting identity.
Written by Saralee Cassidy