On Self Sabotage
As a human being, and generally someone who likes to make excuses, I know a lot about self sabotage. I’ve put my head down on the pillow at night to replay my previous failings for hours on end. Each time, I tell myself that it wasn’t my fault. There was nothing I could do. I blame the other people involved.
I realize that this is a part of my innately selfish nature. Any of my friends will tell you I’m a rather endearing narcissist, but this is one place where my ‘me’ focus creates a divide between where I am and where I want to be. I tell myself, I’m just waiting for the right conditions to thrive in.
I keep hoping that someone else will water the dry soil that I’ve grown roots in. I think that it’s not my fault; the conditions just weren’t right. I tell myself that a day will come when the conditions are perfect, and I will thrive. But that day never comes. Something happens, I make an excuse and skip out on going to the gym yet again. I tell myself that it wasn’t my fault that I had a bad day.
I grant that some of the bad that I go through is not my fault. There are outside variables that contribute to the moments when I fall short of who I aim to be. But the difference, for me, between those moments being a failure and a triumph, is my attitude. The difference is whether or not I chose to let life happen or let myself live.
This applies to a lot of what is going on in my personal life. I’m working on a project, and I have a great support team who are cheering me on every step of the way, yet I struggle to push out a couple pages a week. When that team of people asks for a status update, I find that I only have an empty page and shame to report. I believe in this project. I love this story, and I know that once I finish it, I will have told a story the needed to be told. Yet, I stare uninspired at the page night after night and pretend that I am working.
I make the excuse that I am tired. I say that I’m not mentally ready to write. It’s not the right time of day. I don’t have enough coffee. I’m hungry. I’m stressed.
I make every excuse I can to avoid taking the personal responsibility that I owe myself.
This morning, I made no deals with myself. Instead of going back to bed, I made myself go to the gym. I could have easily spent the 2 hours it took to motivate myself into putting on gym clothes and running on a treadmill in bed. But I decided this morning that if I ever had a hope at keeping the same body size that I have now, I would have to start acting like I want it.
I’m not the thinnest person ever, but I am lucky to be petite. I am lucky that my metabolism has been able to keep up with the bad food I constantly choke it with because I would be facing a lot of health risks if I were to gain weight. My knees are bad now (I’m 22, I can’t imagine what they’re going to be like in 50 years), and if I ever hope to keep from replacing them in the future, I have to start building good habits now.
I have to start taking responsibility for my actions both great and small. I have to realize that while I may have one bad situation in a day, it’s up to me to decide whether or not that situation is how the rest of my day goes.
I have to make a conscious decision that if I ever want to do the long list of things that I want to do, I have to do them. This seems simple, but it takes a pep talk to make myself open up the word document and get things started. And that has to change. In reference to Hemingway, I need to remember the hunger that comes with the art. I need to feel it in my gut and embrace it, so that I can let that desire propel me into being the person I want to be.
I won’t kid myself into thinking I’m gonna turn over a new leaf tonight, but I am signing a contract to myself to do these things:
Take responsibility for what I can control,
Respect my body and take care of it,
Have faith in myself.
That last one is the hardest and the steepest uphill battle, but it is the promise most worthy of keeping. For me.