“I’m always a hot mess,” Kim said when I called to see how she was doing.
Just a few days prior, she had attended one of my workshops and broken through her longstanding blocks to experience a major personal shift. But now, as I listened quietly, she recounted a long list of challenges, crises, and problems that she had encountered since returning home.
When she was done, I made an observation: She was so used to feeling like a “hot mess” that it had become like second nature to her to collect evidence that “proved” it was still true. She was falling back on her default tendency.
“Wow,” she said. “You are right. That’s exactly what I do.”
She’s not the only one.
I’m sure it has happened to you too. You do the work. You feel a change. Life takes over. You automatically slide back into old behaviors. It’s not surprising. After all, our brains are programmed to operate in a certain way, and once we’re triggered, we switch to autopilot.
Let’s say that you intend to change your perspective and look at things in a more positive way. But your default is highlighting the negative. When something happens, and you are triggered, it’s not really your choice. You automatically respond negatively. You self-sabotage.
After I brought Kim’s attention to how she was defaulting to self-sabotage, her energy shifted completely. She switched to giving me a long list of new behaviors she had created intentionally using the tools she had learned in the workshop—small wins that showed her to be a beacon living at full power: She was able to stay calm in stressful situations. She was less reactive during conversations that previously would have freaked her out. She had shifted her attitude quickly a few times when she realized she was resenting a friend. She had reconnected with a woman she had previously met and had a heart-centered conversation—an act that was previously outside her comfort zone.
You see, beloved, if I hadn’t called her out on her tendency to keep collecting evidence that showed who she was before her change, she would have continued to self-sabotage. Looking for something bad to happen, worrying, getting angry when things don’t go our way, being impulsive in our conversations, thinking we’re not good enough—those are tendencies that make us self-sabotage.
How do you stop self-sabotaging?
STOP collecting evidence that backs up old, automatic, default tendencies that you’d like to change.
START collecting evidence that proves new habits and behaviors that you are intentionally choosing to create because you’re tired of self-sabotaging, and you know that these new tendencies reflect the person you really are.
Throughout the day, say to yourself, “interesting!” every time you notice an old behavior. Let it go. Don’t give it any energy or attention. Instead, pay attention to moments when you intentionally create new habits or behaviors.
Make a list (in your journal, or at least in your head) of the small wins, new behaviors, and new responses that are in alignment with your true potential and who you really are.
Start right now: What is one way you responded to a challenge in the last day or two that is in alignment with the beacon that you are?