There is always a thing beneath the thing.
We think our decisions are just “made” based on details and facts, using experience and knowledge to determine the best course of action.
This feels most true when we’re making a decision that serves us; meaning it benefits our life, aligns with our goals and has a positive result.
But what about when we decide to do something that has a consequence we don’t want, but we do it anyway. Usually these are smaller, micro daily decisions (what we eat, how we spend our money, what we do with our time).
What about when we make decisions that don’t support our goals.
Self-sabotage, as it’s often referred to.
“I know what I need to do, but I…”
Normally, we focus on all the reasons after the “but.” We focus on all the things that keep us in a loop of sabotage and the scenarios and specifics need to change. That’s important, but I think there’s a more worthwhile question.
What is the sabotage providing you?
This is the thing beneath the thing. This is what would be more useful to delve into. This is the root.
Most likely your goal is about a new way of being, something that requires change and different habits and patterns.
The brain does not like this. It’s stubborn. Sabotage is a way of providing evidence that you shouldn’t and can’t change; that what you want isn’t possible. When you don’t follow through on yourself, it’s simply a way for the brain to prove that to you.
The thing beneath the thing is part of a story you have about yourself and when you try to re-write that story, when you try to create that new way of being — look out! The brain will go into overdrive for all the ways it isn’t going to work.
Don’t overlook sabotage. It can provide valuable info about yourself. What are you really afraid of? What evidence is the sabotage providing your brain?
Here’s a common one I see. With my female coaching and training clients (and myself!), putting themselves first is so uncomfortable. As women, we are conditioned that we can prioritize ourselves a little bit, but to totally put ourselves first — whoa, that would be selfish and basically our families would fall apart.
To be socialized as female means everyone else comes first. And this feels good to us, to be there for others, to help them, to be available to our children and our families.
I hear it so often, “I need to do this for myself.” Women who have spent a lifetime of caring and giving everything to others. And now they’re in the gym working out and paying attention to food in a different way.
Then they hit a threshold (it’s different for everyone), which manifests itself as sabotage. I also call it an upper limit of “too much” focusing on themselves. It’s the brains way of saying, “nope, I don’t know about this. It’s new and I don’t like it. Something different is happening.” It will create proof that will make you think and feel that the change isn’t OK.
What is the sabotage serving in this case? Your beliefs about the role of being mom or a partner.
So, in this case, you can ask, “What does it mean to really put yourself first?”
Cause when sabotage happens, it isn’t about figuring out details, like should you be keto or do intermittent fasting or wake up earlier or drink more water or get off your phone at night. It’s about asking what’s at the root and what are you deeply afraid of.
The crazy thing is, often the thing that we’re afraid of is actually something we would never be or do anyway.
The mom who is so afraid of not being there for her family is probably the one who is most dedicated to them.
Don’t let your deep-seated fear be the thing that shapes your life.
You are more than that.
So, if you ever utter the phrase, “I know what to do, but I ….” and then you go down a rabbit hole of all the reasons that you’re not following through on yourself. Pause.
Instead of trying to figure out what new rules you need or things you could try, ask yourself the question, “what is this sabotage serving?” What evidence is it providing for how you can’t and shouldn’t change?
Spending time on the thing beneath the thing is going to have lasting results and bring about that new way of being that you’re seeking.
Relax, you’ve got this. Sabotage isn’t a bad thing, it’s another clue to unravel.
Life is like a spiral UP. Change happens incrementally up that staircase. You’ll master something, get used to that way of being and then… you’ll bump up against the next thing. It doesn’t get easier, but you get stronger.
You’re never going backward, some steps are longer than the others. Give yourself a break from trying All. The. Things. and the constant need to figure it out now and have immediate results. Take a deep breath as you move on up.
May you let go of the story. May you not be guided by fear. May you use sabotage to create awareness.
P.S. I’m still looking for people to chat with me about the topic of taking care of themselves and getting stronger mentally and physically. If you have 15 minutes to answer 6 questions, I would appreciate hearing YOUR opinion.
I’ll send you my free e-Book, The Joyful Eating Guide. It’s to help find the joy in eating again (instead of focusing on all the things you’re doing wrong), plus there’s recipes and a guide for what to stock in your pantry. All you have to do is hit reply. 🥰 Thank you!!!!