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March 26

How I Conquered My Self-Sabotage Tendencies

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For a long time, I was aware I was self-sabotaging. But I was lost on how to help myself. I was aware of the patterns too, but I could not do anything about them at the time. I didn't even try to, I was convinced it was a battle I would not win.

Photo by Stephanie Vidr on Unsplash

It would start with working hard to get a particular client, pulling all the stops, and giving my all to sell myself. But once the client started sending me regular work, I would check out. Suddenly the money they were offering wasn't enough, yet I wanted it. Suddenly, the effort the work required was too much for what the client was paying, yet I had gladly agreed to the terms while onboarding. Suddenly there was too much to do and not enough time to do it all. This wasn't true either. I always had an excuse for not doing my best or not delivering as promised. But I didn't recognise the excuses as a problem.

When you are making excuses for yourself, it doesn’t take long before you start giving them to other people. And nobody wants to hear excuses when they’re paying for your services. Most people can see them for what they truly are, not explanations, simply excuses. So, of course, the natural thing to do is to let you go. I lost many great clients like this.

But all cycles have a breaking point, an inevitable end or consequence. For me, it was when one by one I lost my clients until I had none left. Of course, I knew it was all my fault, I could have done better. To abdicate myself from taking responsibility for my actions and their consequences, a lot of self-hate and frustration with the world set in, I wallowed in my misery. It got to a point where I would get new clients, but I never gave my best because I was convinced I was going to screw up anyway. I mean what’s the point if it’s going to end the same way. New patterns of self-sabotage began. I wanted the work, I knew I could do it, but it wasn’t worth it. I would often conclude.

Eventually, I got too exhausted with the self-hate and resentment. My throat was always sore from it, literary — this is not a figure of speech — and I had developed chronic chest pain because of severe anxiety. For someone in my early twenties, I often felt like I was having a heart attack. I knew I had to make a change but I didn’t know how to and I didn’t have the willpower to start anything.

My destructive patterns could have continued, but a friend recommended a book to help me out,

“The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.”

I told him I would check it out but I didn't. Months later another friend recommended the same book to me. At that point, I had made so many poor choices, consequences were piling up and my health was really bad – both mental and physical health. I knew I needed all the help I can get and I genuinely wanted to make a change. So I got the book and read it. Eckhart Tolle is wonderful.

The Power of Now was the beginning for me, a stepping stone on my journey of self-improvement. It ignited in me a fire that led me to embrace more self-improvement books. I love reading but I’ve always leaned more towards fiction and poetry and ignored non-fiction. I started reading non-fiction books this year. Next in line, I came across

“The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.”

I wasn’t quick to implement many of the practical aspects of what I was reading but I was definitely making strides in the right direction. And once I got practical, I started feeling like a whole new person.

Then I came across

“See You At The Top by Zig Ziglar.”

By the time See You At The Top fell into my hands, I was committed to my self-improvement and around that time the covid-19 restrictions had been lifted and I wanted to make the most of the rest of my year. I took my time with See You At The Top — read it every day for about four weeks. By the time I was done I had a new perspective on life — my failures were a thing of the past. I realised holding onto them had been keeping me down and I made a mental note to stop drudging them up. I took steps to lift my head up high and focus on the positive things in my life and my past.

I continue to hold my head up high and I've never felt better, both physically and mentally. I'm also writing again and it's wonderful to dream again and pursue my dreams. Matter of fact, I'll be self-publishing one of my fiction stories on Wattpad this coming week. I'll share the link in my profile. I'm winning again and it feels really really good. I like the person I am now. This is the person I've always wanted to be. I'm practically living the dream. 😊😊😊

If you are self-sabotaging, I want you to know that you can come out from under that hell hole. I realised self-sabotage is a symptom of deeper issues within oneself. Mine was a combination of a poor self-image, wearing my failures and past mistakes like a badge of honour, and a lack of belief in my abilities and talents. I've used books to unravel the things that have been keeping me down, I still am. If you've been self-sabotaging, I want you to know that all is not lost. You can conquer if you will take the steps to help yourself. All the books mentioned in this article can be a stepping stone. You simply have to act now. So get the books already! Know that you are not alone, connect with me via Linked In. I'm only too happy to help whichever way I can. Let's grow together.

How I Conquered My Self-Sabotage Tendencies
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