How do we notice those habits ingrained in us, sometimes for generations, that don’t benefit us? I am talking about things that limit our ability to move forward toward our best selves. Sometimes it is fear of being great, we’ve talked about that one. Sometimes we have these learned self sabotaging behaviours like enabling from our family dynamic. And sometimes we just have a hard time with things like confrontation, honesty or saying no.
Rinpoche, a well known Buddhist philosopher calls this ‘idiot compassion’ placed before self care. Pema Chodron defines it as the general tendency to give people what they want because you can’t bear to see them suffering or complaining or learning their life lessons without your interference. In reality, enabling is not compassion at all. Chodron says,“it’s selfishness, as you’re more concerned with your own feelings than attending to your friend’s actual needs.”
You get the picture. These sorts of behaviours hold us back and don’t let us (or others) be the amazing humans we were meant to be. And there are loads of ways to sabotage your success.
Here are 3 ways to combat those tendencies.
- First Recognize that self sabotaging behavior. Always the first step, right? But how? By finding a quiet place to look inside yourself and observe, i.e. meditate. I like to pretend I am floating above the situation that is driving me crazy and look at it objectively, as if I am not involved. Every so often while I am noticing and breathing, clarity comes. I see the pattern I have been repeating. That way I at least know what it is I want to change.
- Address it. For example, if you always choose codependant relationships, ask yourself “what do I get from them?” As Pema Chodrun says, this is really about selfishness. What do you get from these actions that hold you back? I know each time I fill in for other people, I get a sense of superiority. Too, I feel needed. I feel I will never be alone since this person, animal etc needs me soooo much. Or do you make appointments to help someone else exactly when you should make appointments to help yourself? What are you getting from that? Commit to help yourself first and practice it. Enabling is self sabotaging, for everyone involved. It helps us stay in disfunctional relationships where neither person is able to grow. And you can never help others until you help yourself. Like they say in the airplane briefings, put your oxygen mask on before you help others with thiers. Enough said, right?
- After you have taken a good look at your behaviours, either meditating, journaling, chatting with a friend or therapist, take another moment and write it all down for yourself. Then decide 3 ways to stop.
It can be as easy as making a list for yourself each day and following the steps to self care BEFORE you phone a friend. It can be stepping away from a particular activity or person until you have done something good for yourself. Always, to get through a change in behavior, remind yourself that you deserve the best. If you fall a little short one day, don’t abandon it. Try again. You can do this. Remind yourself that happiness in not a goal, it is a daily condition that you deserve. Being your very best will help you find that condition.