From Self-Sabotage to Self-Mastery: Steps to Own Your Happiness and Success

From Self-Sabotage to Self-Mastery: Steps to Own Your Happiness and Success
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor / Unsplash

I am the reason that my life isn't the way that I want it to be. And I've decided that as of this moment, that ends. Most of the limits that are imposed on us are self-imposed and they are based in fear and not in truth. Too many of us have allowed chickens to convince us that this thing or that thing wasn't possible or wasn't worth pursuing and it's caused us to close ourselves off to experiences that could have made us more complete people. We all have a calling in our hearts -- we all have something or some things that we would like to accomplish before we leave this planet. But most of us won't pursue those things because of what might happen. Because of what we might lose. Because of what we might gain. Because of what others will think about us. Because we might fail and because, if we do fail, it'll likely make us feel less sure about ourselves than we already do. So we keep doing what we've been doing. And we keep getting what we've been getting. And I guess that if you like what you've been getting, there's nothing wrong with that formula. But I haven't been liking what I've been getting. This past year has confronted me with more toxic patterns, more bad habits, more old thought structures, and more open wounds that I need to tend to in order to become my best self. I've had to deal with a lot of monsters this year and like a nightmarish episode of Scooby-Doo, each time I pulled the mask of the monster I saw myself. If you can relate, know that there is hope for us. What has been learned can always be unlearned. And I've committed to unlearning the habits I've picked up over the years that too often steal too much of my precious time, my precious energy, and this precious life.

How do you get out of your own way? Well, the first step is to find the places in which you are standing in your way. You must become conscious of the systems you've created and the thought forms you've been programmed with that are hindering your progression. Once you become aware of the ways you sabotage yourself, you can begin to take steps to change them. For instance, if you find yourself skipping the gym because you don't have time to find your gym clothes in the morning, start packing your gym clothes at night. Become aware of the excuses that you frequent when it comes to not achieving your goals and then attack them! Most of us would have a lot more time to be productive if we didn't fill our free time with bad habits. Habits that bring us immediate pleasure but later add to our misery because they take away time for us to go after the things that are truly going to bring us fulfillment. If you show up for yourself and be your own guardian and your own motivator, your own supporter and your own disciplinarian, I promise that you'll see radical changes in your quality of life. But getting out of your own way in just the physical world isn't enough. You also need to find the places you get in your own way in your relationships with others and most importantly, how you get in your own way in your relationship with yourself.

It is inconsiderate, irresponsible, and frankly, quite selfish to get involved romantically with someone new when you still have attachments or unhealed wounds from a prior relationship. This is a major way that we tend to get in our own way in relationships. Reason being, until you've dealt with everything you needed to since a prior relationship, you are going to bring those same wounds and still be affected by the same triggers with your new person who doesn't deserve what you're going to project on to them. This not only applies to romantic relationships but also to the relationships you have with your family members. Mommy and daddy issues sabotage relationships more than anything else, I'm certain. Because they didn't give you the love or support or attention you craved, you seek it in partners and when they can't live up to your skewed expectations, you sabotage the relationship. Or you don't believe that you're worthy of being loved so whenever someone gets too close to you, you do something destructive to sabotage the relationship. Or in my case, you still haven't quite gotten over your abandonment issues and so now, at the first sign of trouble, you're ready to bail on the relationship out of fear of being left again. So be mindful and take notice of what triggers strong emotions in you and investigate the causes of them. Understand that the only person that can heal you is yourself and that regardless of the choices the people in your life have made, you are valuable and you are worthy and their lack of desire to be involved in your life doesn't change that at all. You have to choose that being free of having to react to every little thing is more important than the petty, useless, empty, toxic grudges that you're holding on to. You're going to have to let that shit go if you're going to get out of your own way.

I love being kind. It comes to me pretty easily and is pretty much my default setting unless something is really bothering me. I believe that just about every human being on this planet deserves my kindness with the exception of one person -- that one person being myself. It's kind of mind-boggling when I think about it but I guess I'm hard on myself because I've assumed that that's what's gotten me where I am today. And in a way, it is what's gotten me here and by "here" I mean, "neurotic", "anxious", "overly-critical of myself". People were hard on me growing up, likely because others were hard on them, and I accepted what was said to me and what was said about me as fact when it was merely a poor opinion. No one can say "Micheal" with more disappointment in their tone than I can. No one can present a stronger case for my inadequacy than I can. I truly, truly, truly have never been called "stupid", in it's literal sense, by anyone in my life other than my self. I've falsely convinced myself that what has brought me success up to this point in my life is being rough on myself but it is a lie. Condemnation serves no other purpose than to shame and to punish -- not to rehabilitate -- so there's no way that my self-condemnation could have made me better. It just made me more damaged.

If you want to be a more hopeful and positive person, you have to surround yourself with hopeful and positive people. You have to consume hopeful and positive media. You have to read hopeful and positive books. You have to aim where you want to land. One of the biggest concepts I've grasped this year is that where you look determines what you see. For so long I didn't understand why I saw so much pain and suffering and frustration and confusion when I looked out into the world. But I've realized that the reason I saw those things is because I was programmed to look for those things. Because they validated my unhappiness. Because they validated my unworthiness. Because they validated the darkness that I felt inside sometimes. But I guarantee you that there's at least as much good in the world as there is bad. And if you choose to look for good things, you will find them. And if you can train yourself to look for mostly good things most of the time, then I promise your experience will shift from pain and suffering and frustration to peace, and joy, and wonder.

Consider the possibility that you only have one hater and that is yourself. Consider the possibility that you create conflict with others to validate your own unhappiness or your inflated ego or because you want them to be miserable like you. Consider the possibility that everything about your life that you don't like is, at least partially, your fault -- and if you can't accept it as your fault, at least accept it as your responsibility. Because it is your responsibility. How silly is it to put your path and your happiness in the hands of other people? How silly is it to try and live your life for the approval of other people who can't know what you're destined to become? People who can't know you in the way you know yourself. People who only think they know what you are. People who really don't care whether or not you're happy with yourself or not as long as they're getting what they want from you. How silly is it to allow the poor choices others have made to convince you that you're not worth going after everything your heart desires? It's very silly. And I hope that you will join me in responding to that silliness in 2018 and beyond with "fuck that noise!". I'm doing me. This is my life. I am in control. It will be what I want it to be. And I or no one else is going to prevent that.