EVER WONDER WHY NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU TRY TO CHANGE, YOU JUST KEEP FALLING BACK INTO OLD SELF-SABOTAGING PATTERNS?
I’ve been there, and you know what I realized? I’m FULL OF S.H.I.T! And guess what? YOU’RE FULL OF S.H.I.T too.
No, I’m not calling you a compulsive liar, although I am going to argue that on a subconscious level, you are lying to yourself all the time.
Here’s what I mean. We all have what I like to call, S.H.I.T. “Stories that hurt your self-image and take away your power.”
S TORIES H URT I MAGE T AKE POWER
We all have our S.H.I.T., some of us just have more S.H.I.T than others. The saddest part is that most of us don’t know what that S.H.I.T. is. And when we can’t identify the stories that we’ve created in our mind, about who we are, what we can do, what is and isn’t acceptable, that’s when this S.H.I.T turns really toxic.
Energetically speaking, it’s the equivalent of constipation. You become so backed up by the underlying BS that it literally creates blockages in your life. And without realizing it, you start exhibiting and embodying patterns of behavior that keep you STUCK.
This is where most life coaches will tell you that the solution is becoming more AWARE, and sure, this is true. But as someone, who is not only a life coach but has also had to overcome a slew of self-sabotaging patterns, I can tell you that AWARENESS is not enough. Especially if like me, you have ever struggled with low self-esteem or are dealing with core wounding that causes you to feel overly responsible for everything in your life.
AWARENESS, if not used properly can actually make matters worse. It can fuel a vicious cycle of self-sabotaging, beating yourself up for doing so, lowering your self-esteem even more, which validates that you aren’t enough, so you continue to sabotage further. Sound familiar?
Being aware of the self-sabotaging behavior enough. You have to get clear on the dominant thought patterns associated with these behaviors and identifying the root cause, in an effort to disassociate the behavior with who you truly are.
Here’s a simple acronym that I share with clients to help them unpack what’s really at the root of their self-sabotaging behavior. The formula is:
BTF = R
This acronym stands for Beliefs, Thoughts, Feelings, equals responses. In other words, behind every action you take, behind every response you have in life, there are beliefs (stories) you tell yourself consciously and subconsciously that fuel your thought patterns, and these thought patterns create feelings, that influence how you respond to your reality.
Let’s work backward so that you can see what I mean.
For example: Let’s say you know that you struggle with procrastination. Now in this example, you’re fully aware that you are procrastinating, but even if you weren’t, you could use this acronym to work your way backward and identify what’s keeping you stuck, in order to prevent doing so in the future. I digress.
In this example, “procrastination” is the response. It’s how you’re showing up in life. You’re postponing instead of doing what you know you should be doing.
BTF = R (PROCRASTINATION)
You can stop procrastination in its tracks is by asking yourself, “Why am I procrastinating right now?” and observing what feelings are coming up for you. Let’s say one of the feelings that come up for you are “tired,” connected to the thought “I’m just tired right now.”
BTF (TIRED) = R (PROCRASTINATION)
Once you identify this feeling, instead of pretending it’s not there, we are going to acknowledge it as part of your existing reality, but instead of stopping there and giving into the way that you’re currently feeling, you’re going to dig deeper by acknowledging the feeling and exploring alternatives. You can do this by asking yourself “What do I need right now? And is it going to interfere with my desired outcome?” If, the answer is something along the lines of “If I continue to procrastinate, I’m going to be late for work, and chances are I’m going to get fired.” This is a cue that you need to stop whatever it is that you’re doing and start taking actions that are in alignment with your goal (aka: get to work on time).
A good tool to use in a situation like this is Mel Robbin’s 5 Second Rule.
Now, once you are clear on how you feel and whether or not giving in to these feelings align with the results you desire, you can start to unravel these feelings by being mindful of the thoughts associated with your feeling of procrastination. These thoughts leave a breadcrumb trail that reveals some of the possible belief systems that are tied to a bigger story about who you think you are, that’s keeping you stuck in this pattern.
Here are some of the possible thoughts associated with procrastination:
“It doesn’t matter what I do, I’m going to be late anyway.”
“I’m just lazy. I’ve been this way since I was a kid.”
BT (“I’M LAZY”) F (TIRED)= R (PROCRASTINATION)
Looking at the above examples, would you be able to pinpoint a possible “flawed belief system” tied to this behavior? For the sake of this illustration, how about:
The belief that: “your life is out of your control” which is tied to the thought “It doesn’t matter what I do, I’m going to be late anyway.” OR The belief that: “people, specifically you, can’t change,” tied to the thought, “I’m just lazy. I’ve been this way since I was a kid.”
Now, the beauty of this is that once you identify some of the beliefs associated with the behavior, you can start to pinpoint where this belief might have come from and actively choose a better serving belief to reinforce new thought patterns and behaviors.
The truth is, people aren’t “procrastinators” or any other example you want to use in its place. They simply have a pattern of procrastinating. These patterns are often something we learned through our experiences earlier on in life.
You can start to get clear on what some of these experiences are by asking yourself, “what’s the earliest memory I have of me feeling this way?” Write down anything that comes up for you. Even if it seems strange or bizarre.
Once you’re clear on what’s responsible for creating the self-sabotaging patterns, it’s time to let it go through a process of forgiveness, compassion, and reinforced thought patterns and behaviors that align not only align with your new-found AWARENESS, but help you rewrite a better story.