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4. Recognizing Self-Saboteurs and Mastering Them

“Make sure your worst enemy is not living between your own two ears.”

Laird Hamilton

What are self-saboteurs?

They’re all those unconscious aspects in your psyche that undermine your conscious plans.

When you’ve consciously decided to exercise regularly and constantly skip workouts, finding excuses not to go to the gym.

Or, when you’ve decided to lose weight, but you keep eating junk food.

Or, when you’ve been preparing for an important meeting for days, and the night before the meeting you go out with friends and get drunk.

Your saboteurs want to give you an auto goal. Whenever you want to do something good and productive, they appear in the form of various tempting desires that give you only momentary pleasure but later lead to feelings of remorse, guilt, or shame.

Everyone has their saboteurs, some of us less, and some of us more. It’s essential to become aware of them because they have the greatest power over you when you aren’t conscious of their existence.

How are you going to become conscious of your self-saboteurs?

To do so, you have to watch how you behave after you make a decision that will bring you some progress, such as: finishing that schooling you neglected, taking off that belly fat that doesn’t allow you to bend normally, eating healthier because you have high blood pressure, participating in sports because you’re watching too much TV and drinking too much beer, and so on.

A progressive goal is everything that develops you, moves you out of your comfort zone, and requires effort.

When you decide to do something progressive for yourself, a saboteur appears to preserve the status quo because certain unconscious part of you doesn’t want you to develop.

Maybe that saboteur in you represents the voice of one of your parents who spoiled you as a child, so you didn’t have to do anything for yourself, or maybe they criticized you a lot whenever you wanted to do something, so you lost faith in yourself.

There are many reasons for the emergence of saboteurs, and one of the goals of psychotherapy is to make you aware of them, break free from them, or reduce them to something less harmful.

As you can see, saboteurs don’t want you to live a mentally healthy and harmonious life. They want to keep you in unhappy relationships, in bad health, and in destructive habits. They want you to be fat, messy, drunk, lying, fickle…

How to effectively deal with your self-saboteurs?

By consciously analyzing them with your Observing Ego, you need to become aware of them and put them under your control.

While you probably won’t be able to beat your self-saboteurs right away, you’re going to be persistent in trying each time again, knowing that:

  • every person tends to regress to a bad habit
  • it’s hard for everyone to get rid of them
  • everyone needs to invest some effort to introduce healthy habits and make progressive life decisions

It’s like having a lot of different suits in your closet.

The most difficult one to wear is the most formal and high-quality one because you also need to clean up your hair and nails, make sure you stand up straight, and deal with whatever special occasion you’re probably wearing it for.

It’s much easier to just put on jeans and a sweater and run out into the street.

It’s the same situation with different aspects of your personality. You have many of them, and it’s easiest to live with less demanding ones.

Isn’t it easier if your parents still support you even though you finished school a long time ago?

Or, if you sleep until noon and play video games rather than having a job?

Or, if you watch TV until late, so you can barely get up early in the morning?

It’s easier, but it’s not mentally healthier.

Unfortunately, most people live on the path of least resistance, which is why they never live to their greatest potential. They live according to the less demanding aspects of themselves.

For example, if you have a gift for painting, you may find reasons not to develop that gift. These reasons may include needing to invest time and energy or living more modestly since painting, at least for a young artist, is rarely a materially lucrative occupation.

Thus, you have decided to study economics, since as an economist you’ll be able to get a job easier and earn more. So, you neglect your talent, which is why you’re never delighted at work.

If something similar has happened to you, don’t despair because it’s never too late to live out your gifts. If not as a profession, then at least as a hobby.

It’s important to let your hidden talents live whenever in life, to accept and employ your suppressed creative energy, because only then will you get a feeling of happiness and fulfillment.

So, get that brush and paint something for your personal pleasure!

At this point, you’re very close to mastering the skills of keeping your mind in good shape. The final step is a kind of temptation: Don’t Strive to Achieve Perfection.

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