I have done this before: Made up my mind I want to accomplish something, set up a plan, faithfully and consistently followed the plan, eventually began to have a little "success" with what I had set out to do, and then -- "it" happens.
What is "it?" Well, it is this tendency to sabotage all my efforts and pull everything down.
For many years I didn't know why I always reversed myself when I was making progress and starting to really achieve my objective. It seemed so nonsensical to just undo all my hard work, whether it be weight loss, writing, singing, or attempting to become more physically fit -- or whatever, really.
Then, last year I saw this book lying on a table at Barnes and Noble and the title attracted me: Stop Self-Sabotage: Get Out of Your Own Way to Earn More Money, Improve Your Relationships, and Find the Success You Deserve by Pat Pearson.
"Self Sabotage? That sounds interesting. I wonder what that's all about?" I bought the book.
When I read the book, I heard about the very behavior described that had been happening to me over and over again for years.
Oh! So that's why I do that!
According to the book it's some kind of subconscious emotional thing. It can have different manifestations and slight variations on the reasons, but the basic underlying problem is that the person trying to achieve the "success" deep down inside does not feel worthy, does not feel like he/she deserves to be successful.
Armed with this awareness and recognition of the tendency to self-sabotage, I've been trying once again to set myself to my dreams and plans and this time get past the tendency. Perhaps having a name for what I do to wreck my plans will make a difference!
I am familiar with the tendency. Right after it seems like things are going pretty well and the beginning "hard" part is over and we're starting to get to some of the good stuff, I will have this feeling of rebellion. I will begin to start to feel sick to proceed.
That happened to me yesterday when I was about to step out the door to have my first run since the 1st Annual NYC Barefoot Run.
I felt the resistance. I felt the rebellion. I felt a little sick to my stomach.
It makes sense that it would happen right about now because little fruits of my efforts have begun to show:
- got to meet some cool barefoot running friends online
- ran a whole 5K barefoot
- won a drawing of a squirrel from Barefoot Josh
- won a pair of YurBuds from Barefoot Neil
- hooked up with a new barefoot running buddy
- got my feet tough enough to run around at the race with the other barefoot runners
- got to consort with some barefoot book authors whose work I admired
- got a "stomp" of approval on my blog.
- had my race write-up featured on Barefoot Runner's Society's front page
- got a group of new followers who all have cool blogs to read of their own
But this time, I guess because my awareness had been raised from having read that book last year, I knew what it was. It was a feeling of being uncomfortable with success, or even with the possibility of success. It was a feeling of wanting to go back and be in the comfortable familiar realm of refusing to try and feeling like I can't do it.
"That must be the self-sabotage." I told myself.
Well, I don't want to keep repeating this same mistake over and over when I get to this point. So I decided to push through it, no matter how I felt. I talked to myself, "This is just that self-sabotage thing. Just push through it! Just step out the door. Just run."
It felt really good to get out there. I had stalled so much, because of the resistance force that was working, that I got out there a little late and had to have a short run. But I think I did something significant. I think recognizing the moment of resistance was a new thing for me, and I don't think I would have recognized it if my awareness had not been raised about it by having read that book. Catching the first moment of it was important. Making the decision to disregard it and continue anyway was a good thing, and may have been a crucial step toward overcoming the problem.
I wasn't going to write about this on the blog, but then I thought that maybe it would be interesting and/or helpful to other people who've experienced the same thing.
Besides that, if I make the struggle public, then it kind of helps to make the commitment to get past this point this time.
I think if I can get past this issue, then I will go on to do more cool stuff in my life -- maybe even run a barefoot marathon or something some day. But I've got to conquer this tendency at this point right now. So the task is just to keep getting out there. Keep being consistent. Almost like a robot or something. I want to come out on the other side of the self-sabotage moment and start finding out what's really in me.