Why do I keep doing this?
What’s wrong with me?
These are two of the common questions I hear. Let me explain a couple of things that your brain is doing when it comes to self sabotage.
You might sit there and say ‘I’m happy”, or ‘what have I got to worry about’, or maybe ‘I just need to be grateful for what I have’. All nice clear conscious thoughts. But if you are unhappy at a deep level, your mind will subconsciously be reacting to that unhappiness and will create defences from the feelings of hurt/despair/anxiety etc. Your mind doesn’t need your conscious permission or awareness to be self-sabotaging your relationships, your health or your life.
Think of it this way:
You are at a gathering following a funeral of someone close. Yet you’re laughing with family remembering the good times. At that moment you feel and look happy. Is there a deep hurt present too? Of course. You are very capable of having layers of emotion. Life might be going well. You may have a good job, a nice family, etc., but something can still be eating away inside.
The problem is that your brain can run this system: Something hurtful is present – the mind doesn’t want to deal with it – so it hides it (so you don’t think about it much) – something reminds you of it and the bad feeling comes back – rather than deal with it your mind distracts you – food, facebook, anger, drugs, there are many ways it can do this.
What I can guarantee is that for most of us it’s the thing we don’t want to think about, and that we don’t even like to admit to ourselves that is causing problems. But you CAN change it. Sit down and face your demons, get help if you need it. Practice mindfulness to be able to stay with the now and not escape into the sabotage.
Change is easier than you think.