We all do it, right?
We are making progress, taking steps in the direction of our goals, experiencing some level of success along the way… and then we do something that stops us in our tracks.
We make a poor decision, we say something we don’t mean to, or we let procrastination settle in.
Before we know it, we feel like we’ve taken a dozen steps backward and we feel like shit.
We promise ourselves, “I’m never going to let this happen again!” Yet next month we repeat the same or very similar cycle and we’re back at square one.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why are we able to clearly see our faults looking backward and not in the moment before it’s too late? How can we increase our level of awareness, so that we make the right decisions at the right time?
Let’s break it down.
The simple answer is a lack of self-awareness.
Think about it - if you were aware of everything you were doing and the consequences of all of your actions all of the time, then you would easily be able to notice if you were about to sabotage your own progress.
The problem is that we become ignorant to the long-term effects of our decisions in the present moment.
We think to ourselves…
Whatever logical thought we have, if it allows us to let off some steam and relax then we’ll take it.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for doing so, but if we’re not conscious about our choices then we allow them to perpetuate for days and sometimes even weeks!
What we fail to see is that by choosing to back off from our positive progress, we set in motion the energy of apathy.
An analogy I love is boiling water.
If you get a pot of water, turn on the stove, and begin raising the temperature, eventually the water begins to get really hot.
If you put a lid on the pot, the water reaches boiling temperature faster than normal.
But, if you take the lid off, all of the steam that would accelerate the boiling process is released and it takes way longer.
Taking a long break, allowing yourself to procrastinate, or turning to negativity is like taking the lid off and letting the steam out of the pot.
All of that energy that you’ve created in the direction of your desired outcome is dissipated and you’ll most likely have to start from scratch.
Increasing our awareness is the only way to overcome self-sabotage, so let’s talk about that now.
The truth of who we are is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Our spiritual nature is infinite and we experience it through oneness. Our human nature is finite and we experience it through duality (up/down, hot/cold, right/wrong, masculine/feminine, me/you, etc.).
Since our human nature is in the duality of life, we also have two sides to our human nature. We have a part of us that wants to move forward and we have a part of us that wants to stay in our comfort zone.
It’s the second part of our human nature that causes self-sabotage and if we are not aware enough to recognize which side of our human nature we are operating from, then it’s inevitable for us to halt our forward momentum.
The good news is that you can develop your awareness to such a high degree that you can consistently side with the part of you that wants to progress everyday and say good-bye to self-sabotage for good!
To help you get there, we need to talk about the emotional factor.
We are often wrapped up by our emotions, right?
No matter what emotions we are experiencing, whether it’s fear, happiness, anxiousness, joy, anger, excitement… we are primarily in our body and in our mind.
We stay here most often because it’s familiar for us in the human experience. But, it’s only a part of who we are. Remember, we are also spiritual beings.
As a spiritual being, you have access to a great power that can completely change your life. This power is the capacity to notice what you’re noticing.
In other words, you’re able to notice what thoughts you are entertaining and what feelings you are experiencing. By noticing what you’re noticing, you have the God-given ability to choose to amplify positive thoughts and emotions, as well as dial down negative thoughts and emotions.
This is in essence siding with the part of your human nature that wants to move forward! It’s simple to say, but not easy to do, especially when you’re stuck in negative thoughts and emotions.
This takes discipline and practice, but the rewards are worth it.
Side with the part of you that wants to move forward today and have a great day!
A few questions arose after I published my last blog post about "Who Are You?"
Thanks to the wonderful questions from Rufaidah and Geetika, this post was formed. Here are their questions for you to ponder as well:
“How do you differentiate between who you truly are and what society considers as appropriate? Because we are the product of our environment, or at least that's what I believe. If I was raised up in a different society I, of course, would not be the same person I am today, and so who I truly am would be different. So how do I differentiate between who I AM and what society imposed in me the image of who I am?” - Rufaidah
“All our life we keep doing things for others & they become so habitual of us being around them 24/7 that the day we tell them that I want to do things for me, I want to live my life, all hell breaks loose. I understand we can't please everyone but how to get away in doing what we want?” - Geetika
Both of these questions point to the desire we all have to do what we want, whenever we want to do it. I firmly believe we all have that capability, but the obstacles in the way often shut down that desire.
The odds seem stacked against us and our dreams, so is it even possible to achieve the life we long for even if we really do try? And how can we feel free to do what we want with our life?
I believe we absolutely can live our dream life and feel free to do what we want, but it takes work.
Let’s start with the people around us: our family, friends, co-workers, etc.
Whether it’s your mother, your father, you best friend, your boss, or your grandmother, they all have a concept of who you are in their mind.
This is normal human functioning - you have a concept for each of these people in your mind, too.
The danger is in believing that these concepts are all the person is and all that person will ever be. This is why “all hell breaks loose” when you do what you want to do and strive to change your life.
What you want to do most often doesn’t fit the other person’s concept of who you are and so their reaction is some way of trying to keep you aligned with who they believe you are.
Let me share with you the best way I have found to move forward in doing what you want even in the presence of people who want you to stay the same. It’s simple.
Have compassion for them.
They are most likely just trying to protect you from failing, hurting yourself, or making a mistake. They aren’t in your head, so don’t expect them to fully understand why you’re doing what you doing.
With compassion, you can understand where they are coming from and still move forward because what you want to do matters to you. That’s the only way you’ll ever drown out their negativity.
For example, in 2014 when I discontinued getting my doctorate degree in pharmacy, my parents were livid.
Okay, my dad was livid. My mom was silent.
I wanted to leave and do something different because I discovered I no longer had a passion for pharmacy.
I wanted to help people heal holistically and I wanted to treat the underlying cause of someone’s illness, not just the symptoms.
My parents understood my reasoning, but they wanted me to finish the 2-3 more years of graduate school I had left and THEN do what I wanted.
If I hadn’t been so convinced that what I wanted to do was right for my life, then I would have caved in and fit myself into their mold.
My burning desire to help people in a different way overcame the gravitational pull to the familiar. I did leave and I have never regretted it.
The sad truth is that the expectations of our loved ones can be silent killers of our dreams if we are not careful. When we are careful in protecting our mind and we do move forward in doing what we want despite what others say, we become a beacon of light for others to follow.
When we are careful in protecting our mind and we do move forward in doing what we want despite what others say, we become a beacon of light for others to follow.
Now, let’s talk about society.
The environment we grow up in and live in has a profound effect on how we live our lives, but I don’t believe environment can ever dictate who we are.
For example, I grew up in the suburbs of Queens, New York living in a small 2 bedroom apartment with my parents and two brothers.
There’s a great contrast between the way I lived my life growing up and the way a child growing up in Cairo, Egypt lived simply based on what I saw during the time I visited. If I was swapped with that Egyptian child growing up, then yes I would be a different person in many ways.
However, who we are is different from everything we learn from the day we are born. Our preferences, our beliefs, our perceptions are all based on knowledge we gained as we evolved as human beings.
Remember, who you are is more than anything you’ve ever learned.
How you differentiate who you are from what society or your environment has imposed on you is by going deep within your mind. You must first be able to see through the illusion of separation that is created when we look at other people’s skin color, intellect, possessions, or beliefs.
This is not some “woo-woo” feel good talk. This is real. Science has proven that at the core of who we are, at the subatomic level, we are literally all the same. We are energy. The only difference is in the physical manifestation we see with our eyes.
By recognizing that you are not different from your neighbor, you can begin to shed the layers of what society believes about you because it’s simply not true.
Society says you can or can’t be or do something based on your level of education, your age, your sex, and even your sexuality. I don’t believe society’s presets are intentionally created to hold people back; I believe that they’re created based on a group of people’s best thinking. That’s all.
From this place of understanding about the people around you and about society, you can boldly choose what you want to do and stick with it, knowing that you are serving YOU.
This happens in small moments at first, so don’t expect to change your entire life in one meditation session or in one day.
Radical shifts CAN happen that quickly, but allow the process to unfold in its own time.
It took decades for you to grow into the person you are today, so enjoy the work of unlearning what you’ve learned about your potential and the possibilities for your life.
You are so much more than you have believed yourself to be up until now.
You are life expressing itself in human form and life always desires growth. That feeling you have inside of you to do what you want, to forge your own path… that’s life. Say yes to life by saying yes to yourself.
What does saying yes to yourself mean to you? What would you do differently if nothing or no one was holding you back? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.