Time to get real. We all have dreams right? But sometimes those dreams, while being the thing that we look forward to, are also what we fear. Let's face it, dreams are scary. What would we actually do if our dreams came true?
You might be thinking, "I'd be thrilled!"
But if you keep procrastinating and putting off your dreams into the realm of someday; if you constantly find reasons not to begin, or talk yourself out of pursuing your real passions, you might just be a self-sabotager.
The truth is, we're often scared of our dreams, and in order to protect ourselves from that fear, we self-sabotage. It can manifest in different ways.
I recently realized what mine was. A few years back, I went to a self-improvement type seminar. The speaker was talking about the facades we put on for not just those around us, but for ourselves. They asked us to think of it in the form of a declaration, something we might say about ourselves, a phrase we use to define us. My phrase was, "I can do it myself." It came from a story I always remembered my mom telling me, about how I used to climb to the top of the juggle gym as a toddler, and yell at her, "I can do it myself!" if she ever tried to help me. I had a coach, who I talked to weekly and helped me dive deeper into some of these issues. She suggested that there was something more behind just wanting to do things myself, something more vulnerable. At the time, I didn't really get it, I think I said something like, "well, I guess I want to do things on my own because I don't want to burden anyone else." What a cop out! Do you see the hints of ego? The, "I'm so nice, I think about other people," of me still trying to look good even in my facade? I knew it wasn't authentic, but I couldn't pinpoint exactly what was, either.
The last few months, I've been in the crazy, life-altering world of making some of my dreams come true. Namely, I'm getting ready to self-publish my first children's book, a picture book about God and creation with an interfaith perspective, and from that, launching a publishing brand that can hopefully, eventually, help others do the same. Yikes, even writing that is spine tingling.
I'm in the arena, as Brene Brown would say, and when you are busting your butt in the arena of dream chasing, you learn your lessons fast. I've always had fear and anxiety surrounding just talking about my dreams and aspirations, and what I realized is that it's not that I don't want to burden anyone, it's not that I'm a perfectionist and have to have everything my own way, it's:
"If I tell people about this and then it doesn't work out, THEY'LL ALL KNOW I'M A FAILURE"
Oh yes. When it punches you in the gut, you know it's real.
My name is Laurel, and I'm a self-sabotager. My favorite drugs are avoidance and procrastination. I hoard my dreams because I am afraid of failure and of what others will think of me.
How do you self-sabotage? (The first step is accepting you have a problem!)
play down your gifts to make others feel more comfortable?
obsess about meaningless details in order to avoid bigger, scarier problems?
try to please everyone for fear of rejection?
settle for less because of the fear of taking a risk?
The more we are able to recognize the ways in which we sabotage ourselves and the underlying reasons behind it, the easier it is to change our behavior. What's your self-sabotage method, and what is the fear that is driving it?
I'd love to hear your struggles with self-sabotage and how you overcome them. What's working for me at the moment, is singing this song to myself whenever the icky-feelings start to rise to the surface. If you didn't already have this song in your head while reading this post, now you do. You're welcome.