Self Sabotage: The Inner Demons That Hold Us Back From Creating Our Best Lives
Around 2:00 am I was hanging a fresh batch of eucalyptus in my shower (I do this every week) and I turned around for a quick moment and saw all of it. The dimples, the paths that lead to crackles and pockets of fat still lingering around my thighs even after all of this weight-loss. I gazed down my legs and noticed how bigger my thighs have gotten, despite the daily miles I run and the heavy weights I lift. I began to sabotage myself and out loud said: "yuck!" as I sighed frustrated and annoyed. And so it began. Do other people notice these dimples of cellulite on the back of my legs? What must they think? They probably assume I don't work out. They probably think I live on junk food and I never exercise. Do I look like I never exercise? More importantly, do I even look like I workout? Oh no. STOP! I literally yelled that into my bathroom mirror. Enough is enough, I said as I stepped down from the bath tub ledge, shut the light off and left the room.
Sound familiar? These are just some of the daily thoughts that bully us in our minds every single moment of every single day, and most of the time we do not even know it until we've gone so far down the rabbit hole that we have a hard time coming up for air. These thoughts are what I like to call the inner demons that hold us back from creating our best lives possible. These voices, thoughts, and emotional reactions are what keep us from sending those e-mails and hold us in fear that we may fail or that despite however many miles we run each day, we still have cellulite.
I also have these thoughts during my runs. My mind unconsciously goes to the negative, even when I'm doing the things I love to do. My thoughts tend to go down the rabbit hole where I start wondering if I'll ever achieve all that I want to achieve. If something is worse than I think or if I'll be able to manage all the tasks and do it all. These thoughts occur at odd times during my run. They tend to creep in when I'm running faster or when I'm able to run longer and when I know I can push through to the next mile. Isn't it odd that negative self-talk creeps in when we are actually doing the work, achieving the goals, and moving past the hard stuff?
I look at running like the stuff the I'm working through. There are hills, loops, and rocks I have to climb to get to the next hill and to run through to the next mile. Some days my runs are all over the place and pretty similar to my mental mindset that day. Other days, my runs are spot on and I walk away feeling like a boss. Although the self-sabotaging thoughts do creep in, I do my best now to manage those thoughts and push them to a positive one like "You've got this G, keep going!"
I self-sabotage in vital areas of my life too. I force myself to stay awake at night, thinking I don't have enough time to get all of my work done. The scenario plays out like this: I get legitimately tired around 11 pm where my eyes start to get sleepy and my body begins to go into rest mode. I immediately jolt myself awake and think thoughts like: "Oh no! I didn't get all my the tasks done today, okay I've got to do this, and this, and oh I forgot to do that, but if I post this tomorrow, and so on and so. The running narrative that plays in my head is detrimental to my overall well-being and keeps me awake at night. I then go and do the task that is bothering my brain, and start to feel sleepy again. So this plays out again and I'm awake thinking of everything and next I know it, it's 4 am. See how this cycle is self-sabotaging? I realized the other night that I've been doing this for years.
Most of my early twenties were spent awake at night attempting to catch up on the day's tasks and never really feeling a sense of satisfaction before bed at night. I do not want this habit to continue and I'm slowly working out the kinks. The change is not going to happen overnight and there will inevitably be nights where I force myself to stay up, but now I cut myself off after a certain time. I do this in stages each night to slowly adapt my body by going to bed a few minutes earlier and earlier each night, eventually working to my goal bedtime which is 10 pm. I also run my salt lamp at night and run aromatherapy to lull me to sleep. The best combo which works for me is listening to jazz music and letting my thoughts come and go without acting on any of them. I predict this will be what eventually get's me to a 10 pm bedtime.
Psychologists say that we all have various sleep schedules and depending on the time we were born is when we fall asleep at night. I was born at 8:30 pm and I've always been a night owl. Some people just sleep better later, but I believe we can adapt our bodies and change our natural circadian rhythms to find a healthy sleeping pattern that falls in tune with our bodies. When you really cannot sleep, turn on dim light, grab a notbook and journal. Write it all out. Your fears, worries, goals, wins, losses, all of it. Write it all down and get those thoughts down on paper. Turn off all technology and keep a journal and a good old fashioned pen on your nightstand.
When the self-doubt and fears creep into your mind, or when you make a decision and then change it because the emotional demons take over, try to ignore them. This sounds too easy, right? Ignoring the voices in your mind that make you feel inferior is the easiest way to move past them. I'm not saying these voices are going to go away because that's not remotely realistic, but I can say that ignoring them does work. When ignoring them doesn't fit the bill, try this: Instead of feeding the demons that say you are fat and worthless, switch up your inner voice to I'm beautiful and worthy. It can be as simple as changing one word in a thought that creeps into your head. For example, my thighs are fat changed to my thighs are strong.
If you can see what can be instead of what isn't, you will slowly begin to reverse these inner demons that take over us in vulnerable times. Begin to change the negative self-talk to positive self-talk. Smile a lot. I'm serious about this one. Smiling is free and spreads good vibes everywhere which I think the world needs right now. Smile every time you look at yourself in the mirror. Smile to your spouse and partner when they get home. Smile at your friends when you see them. Smile in public! Most people walk around frowning and ticked off the entire day. I would rather be a person who sheds light than negativity and smiling helps me do that and so much more. I also laugh out loud a lot too, which I'm sure freaks people out, but it helps keep me from feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg. Get it? I have a plethora of more posts similar to this that will help us all navigate this crazy world we live in, while still keeping a smile on our face. And when the inner demons start to take over, get up, move around, and walk away from them. Know that I'm in this with you all and each moment of the day I'm working on being the best human possible.
Comment below and tell me if you want to see more posts like this one the blog. Did any of this resonate with you? I would love to hear your feedback.
As always, spread the light, be the light, move the light.