By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
How many of these self-sabotaging things do you do?
1. Hold onto the past.
Most people know they have baggage, resentments left over from the past. You can choose to hold onto those resentments as a justification for your failures or you can decide to toss those bags, unpack that baggage and lighten your load. You can’t change the past but you can stop letting it dictate the future. Put those old hurts in the coffin and bury them.
2. Unfinished business.
You should have been something, you were supposed to get something but it never happened. You can stay hung up on those failures or you can finish off that leftover business. Didn’t get to finish that schooling you wanted, go back no matter what the age and finish up. That or decide that even if you had that education you never finished it would not be helping you today.
Those first loves that got away, those were fairy tales. Those people who bullied you or rejected you are long gone. Resolve what you can and let the rest go. Continuing to brood over the unfinished business of the past keeps you from living the life of today.
3. Lie to yourself.
Do you have lies you tell yourself so often that you have started to believe them? You have to do this and you can’t do that. If you tell yourself so you make it true. You can make up excuses for your setbacks and failures that only you believe. Blaming others for your troubles may feel good now but it does not change anything. Blaming others keeps you stuck. Take responsibility for what you can do and move forward.
Of all the people you need to get honest with, getting honest with yourself is the most important one.
4. Wreckage – Clean up your messes.
If you have wreckage get it cleaned up. People often have unpaid fines or tickets. Bills that are still due and relationships that ended in disaster. Whenever possible clean up that wreckage. Do what you can to get those old debts, financial and emotional cleaned up so that you do not have to continue to pay on them well into your recovered life.
5. Hold on to harmful and hurtful people.
Are there people in your life that are harmful or hurtful but you just can’t seem to give them up? Just because they were there when you were down, does not mean you need to stay down with them. True friends will want to see you succeed. If you have to hold yourself back and be less than the person you were meant to be because of someone in your life these are not healthy relationships and they are not true friends.
6. Try to be perfect.
Perfectionism is the enemy of getting things done. You can tell yourself you never will be perfect and that excuses not trying at all. You miss out on all the things you never try. Students find that the pursuit of all A’s may keep them from graduating. If you insist on being perfect or not doing things at all you will keep quitting things that could have benefited you.
Do your best and call that good enough.
7. Doing nothing.
Doing nothing is a sure way to fail. Trying to be perfect is one way of alibiing your lack of effort. There are lots of other ways you can talk yourself out of ever trying.
The process of building the happy life begins with those first small steps. Get moving and the momentum will build.
8. Looking for happiness in all the wrong places – drugs – sex.
In the beginning, these crutches seem like ways to get by. You use drugs, alcohol or other addictions to try to be enough. Eventually, those addictions become all you can be. Do not get fooled by an illusion that more of an addiction will cure the emptiness inside.
9. Thinking money will buy happiness.
Money buys things. Having some things is better than having nothing. Things alone will never make you happy. Too many things will bury you. Make sure that in your pursuit of money you do not leave family, friends and your true self behind.
10. Beat yourself up.
There is no evidence, that I have seen, that beating yourself up makes you try harder. Love yourself and do your best. Be kind to yourself. Find the good in you and in others. Constantly reliving your failures keeps you stuck in failure.
11. Thinking you can control everything – worrying about things outside your control.
Most things in life are out of your control. You can’t make it rain. We have little control of the weather, who will get sick and a host of other things. Rather than fussing and worrying about things that are far beyond your control put your efforts into the things that you may be able to influence, that will mostly be your actions and your attitude. Catch your children and yourself doing things right and give yourself credit for the things you do well.
12. Do not accept credit for things done well.
Is it hard to accept a compliment? Do you find you can’t please yourself? Learn to give yourself credit for things well done. Be ready to give and receive compliments.
Compliments are an antidote for that feeling of failure that can creep in when all you ever hear and think is the things that you have been able to do in a less than perfect way.
How many of these 12 self-sabotaging practice do you use? Creating that happy recovered life may be largely a matter of discontinuing these self-defeating behaviors.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.