I find it fascinating to study the mind and how it impacts our spiritual journey. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the concept of self-sabotage is false: no matter what we do, even if we logically know we “shouldn’t” be doing it, it is in our favor. You can simply stop at that or you can walk down this article with me as we really slow down and dissect this idea step-by-step – is self-sabotage a myth?
What are Examples of Self-Sabotaging Behavior?
Let’s unpack this. So, do you find yourself “self-sabotaging” through behaviors like:
- Deciding to take a nap but realizing after an hour that you’ve been on your phone scrolling and exhausting yourself even more?
- Committing yourself to lose weight but being unable to resist temptations, so much so that you might yo-yo and GAIN weight?
- Being sure you will NOT stalk that “ex” but end up feeling really bad after an hour of ruminating through their social media?
- Planning to meditate in the morning, but suddenly “not feeling like it” when the time comes (and then distracting yourself with work or by sleeping in).
You’re NOT the only one. Behavior that seems to go against what we logically know we should be doing is very common when we have an “unhealthy ego” running the script from backstage.
Now, you might wonder why I say that self-sabotage is a myth.
It’s because no matter how destructive the behavior can seem on the surface, underneath the “bad execution” is good intentions. In other words, there is a part of you that gains something through the bad execution, even if almost all of the other parts of you are losing something. So, this gives that self-sabotaging part of you permission to keep going, because it hasn’t yet identified a way to have that “need” met in a more healthy way.
Examples from the above scenarios could be:
- The ego-mind wants you to remain productive even at rest. So – it decides to engage you in more mental activity.
- Those snacks and sweets are actually a way for your ego-mind to reward you for all the hard work you’re doing with your diet!
- Your ego-mind is still hunting for evidence that your ex still misses you or has remorse now that you’re gone.
- Your ego-mind is afraid of enlightenment! It’s literally protecting you from whatever it believes will go wrong if you get enlightened.
Do any of the possibilities seem relatable? Maybe these aren’t the exact reasons for you, but what if you could take a pause to reflect on any self-sabotaging behavior you think you’re engaging in? Especially if you frequently say that you “know” you should not be.
Journaling Prompt: “What is the BENEFIT of me doing this seemingly ridiculous behavior?”
And if you’ve discovered your deeper WHY, what can you do differently?
So if it’s about reward, can you develop non-food-related rewards for yourself? I noticed that this was my pattern and I decided to choose gaming as my “reward” versus putting more calories in my body. It not only allowed me to take better care of my physical health, but it also helped me get in touch with my inner child’s need for play.
After making that conscious shift, I can successfully share that I no longer yo-yo diet and my sugar cravings have dropped to almost zero on most days. I recently shared a step-by-step technique on how I moved from autopilot chocolate eating to conscious consumption, in my podcast collaboration with Katie Allen:
Let’s take another example: If stalking your ex is really about confirming that you’re still loved, can you start leaning on your friends and loved ones to help you fill that empty reserve?
The point I’m trying to drive home today is that even the most outrageous behavior that we engage in has some underlying purpose – otherwise we would definitely NOT be doing it.
Even substance abuse (or heinous acts of crime) has an underlying “need” to fulfill something that our ego-mind doesn’t believe can be fulfilled in any other way.
Self-Sabotage Is Just Hidden Ego At Play
The ego is not the enemy, but more like an overprotective brother that eventually holds us back from even the good things. So, we aren’t striving for “ego death”. Rather, enlightened thinking is about the soul witnessing the ego with love & compassion, and thus, integrating with it. The framework is :
Unhealthy Ego (Shadow) -> Healthy Ego (Light) -> Beyond Ego (Soul)
An unhealthy ego is one that has good intentions but the behavior goes against the intention. For instance, any self-sabotaging behavior, like trying to lose weight but ending up eating tons of snacks every night, is actually an ego with good intentions but incorrect execution of those intentions. Healing the behaviors of an unhealthy ego is what I like to call shadow work.
A healthy ego is well-intended and well enacted. This type of ego will typically work in our favor. Like healthy self-esteem and relationship boundaries. To develop a healthier ego, we would typically do what’s called light work.
Why move beyond the healthy ego? Because as long as we’re identified with the dualistic, “good and bad” ways of living, we are still identified with the ego. This limits our ability to see the whole picture (aka being in touch with the soul). Being able to bring our soul’s qualities into daily life is enlightened thinking.
Befriend Your Ego-Mind & Free Yourself of Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
This is just 1 of the ways we become limited by our unconscious and unfulfilled needs of the ego. And I’m here to share 29 more ways of ego-healing and enlightened living with you, with the help of my new course + workbook:
In this second edition of the workbook, you will experience a self-paced course designed to show the subtle flavors of your ego-mind and to unlock new insights on spiritual ideas such as:
– How do I resolve conflicts between my ego and soul?
– What does it mean for my ego to “hide behind healing”?
– How can I make friends with my inner critic?
– Why does my ego keep self-sabotaging my plans (and how to stop it)?
– and many more…
Enlightened Thinking and Being is NOT about renouncing the world or wearing orange robes. It’s about taking all the knowledge and “digesting it”. In other words, embodying the intelligent words so that they can become intelligent actions.
This is an editable workbook that you can immediately download, and redo as many times as you like. If you’re old-school like me, you can also print out these pages and meet pen-to-paper.
If you’ve been considering working with me and want a (BIG) taste of the work I do in my private coaching, without investing too much time or money, I would recommend gifting yourself this workbook.
Side Note: If you’ve already purchased the first edition from 2020, you can simply go back to the portal and “redownload” your second edition for free. How cool is that?!
Being able to understand this concept of false self-sabotage is a blend of spirituality meets psychology, an outcome of over 5 years of writing, coaching, and doing my own inner work. So I know with every cell in my being the massive potential and power that these 30 tools + journaling exercises have for your healing.
And I’ve spent countless hours leading up to the reintroduction of this workbook, ensuring it acts as a true companion to anyone that’s committed to doing the work. So, if that’s you, know that you’re in good hands!
If not, no worries – do reflect on the idea expressed here and let me know your thoughts: what does your self-sabotaging behavior actually want from you?
Do share with me in the comments below, I’d love to hear how this article serves your growth. And happy reflecting!
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