To be honest, I could literally write a whole novel on self undermining, cause my whole life I did that. And I didn’t even know I was my own enemy for a veeery long time. But, hey, when you are oblivious, it’s kind of ok (or at least you think it is). The big issues being when your awareness gets to the level when you realise you self-inflict pain, doubts and garbage in your own little mind – and you cannot stop it.
I am slowly coming out from a long 6-months period in which everything went south. And this blog post is about that struggle. There’s nothing inspiring about it, but it is a mountain we all need to climb in order to get to the next level. I guess… The good news? When you hit rock bottom, the only way you can go is up!
This fight is the kind of fight I dealt with before, so I manage to map it down. Truth be told, tn the deepest moments of despair and cutting anger, I feel it was better to live in the darkness of misunderstanding how things really work. Because when you and your self-talk sabotage your own creation and reality, you cannot finger point anyone around you, not anymore. Unless you look in the mirror; and when you finger-point in the mirror, you again go deeper in the anger. Tibetans call that “the wheel of life”.
My first symptom that I am in a period of self-sabotage is that I don’t write. Or I write and delete everything few days later. I know, every writer gets that, but when days turn into weeks and weeks into months…. It’s called the darkness of the mind.
Few days back, someone went on my blog (I sent a link to an older blog post in order to make a point in a discussion we had about depression) and few hours later the answer I received was so kind: “you have a personal writing style. The reader can connect to your feelings. It’s unique and refreshing”. But being in those days in my self-sabotaging phase, I obviously didn’t believe it at first.
But still those few words triggered something in me and I finally realised it is about time to break the wheel.
So here it is the mind-map of a typical self-undermining process.
1. Listening to that little slick voice in your head
This is where undermining yourself often starts.
“Oh, you so stupid”, you tell yourself more than you can imagine; when you spill coffee, when your ideas are not well received, when you made a bad business deal, when you are rejected… when you fall for the wrong person….
Funny thing: when you keep on saying something to yourself, you start acting in that way after a while. I literally got freaked out two years ago when I started noticing my own self-talk. If anyone else would say those things to myself, probably I would have eliminated that person from my life for a very long time.
But here I am, still am, fighting my own voice. I have to eat, live, sleep with my own biggest enemy (myself) every single day and there are days when it simply overwhelms me. I look in the mirror and I see no power, no creative thoughts, not a single glimpse of whatever others see in my work or myself.
2. Second guessing yourself
I recently realised this is one of my weakest points. Growing up in a pretty messy environment, it is really hard for me as an adult to feel confident.
One of the biggest mysteries of life (for me) is how to differentiate between the bad self-talk and my intuition. And that obviously brings me to second guess, in my moments down the roller coaster, every single decision, every thought, every creative idea.
And then I just halt: for hours, for days, for months. So painful to watch life passing by! Totally disconnected and unable to enjoy or grasp anything, I simply watched for days and weeks events, people, opportunities and clients slipping through my fingers.
On one hand you know THAT is the moment to push through the fog and move forward, on the other hand… your self-belief is so low that you simply don’t know in which direction to go.
So second-guessing can be one of the most damaging thing you can do to your career, your life, yourself finally. Cause that will block you in one place for a really long time: the exact place you don’t want to be in.
3. Comparing yourself with the “dragons”
I use the word “dragon” in a very admiring way; dragons are rare creatures with amazing powers, totally out of this world. Imposing and gigantic, they also posses a deep wisdom that humans cannot even begin to grasp.
We all know them, in real world, they are those people that succeed in everything they pursue. They always land †he client they want, they build multi-million businesses over night, their corporate careers skyrocket etc. From outside, they seem invincible, build for fight, fire and smog.
And when things go south and you start comparing yourself with the dragons, situation can become really really shaky. Or, to have a potty mouth…. S*&t hits the fan. Of course, this is just a story we create in our own silly heads, but again, what we say to our mind becomes reality.
Yes, I also went through the “Tinkerbell-can-never-get-as-good-as-the-dragons” phase. But then I realised: Tinkerbell is Tinkerbell and she is super smart and creative in her own clumsiness; she has crafting skills and empathy. Plus she has glowing skin, perfect teeth and she’s pretty damn’ sexy; and in the end of the day, her role in keeping the order in the Universe was pretty big too! Well, I mean…. you get the point!!!
Why in the world we beat ourselves for not being a dragon, when we are supposed to be a Pixie Fairy?
Oh, and by the way, one final point here, which I know for a fact: “dragons” have also their moments of feeling invisible, weak, lonely and incapable of even getting out of bed. The ability to fly over these moments and leave them behind is what creates strength, wisdom and admiration.
So… maybe you are build as a dragon, or as a Pixie Fairy, the point is we all have moments of weaknesses. Why not looking at the strength inside us, instead of trying to be something we are not meant me?
Why did I share all this?
To begin with, the thinking-and-writing process just got me ten steps further in the “recovery”. So yes, in a certain way, it is a self-serving act.
But I also know there are some other crazy ones out there, pixies or dragons, with amazing qualities and inner fortitude, who go through the same thing: beating themselves up for not performing, for having a moment, for losing their path. And I am not sure how and why, but these blog posts always seem to get to the right pair of eyes. : )
And, finally, I always admired people who show to the world who they really are. So I want to live up to my standards. I am not only a success story, big corporate career, great courage and a life full of travelling and exciting experiences. I am also a 30 something woman, scared that will die alone with 10 cats. I am also a woman who hides in her room for days so the world cannot see the pain and inner struggles. I am also a story of bad choices, small failures, hurt ego and low self-esteem. I am a woman with butterflies in her stomach and few demons in her head.
But you know what ?! We all have our own inner demons; just some of us are willing to share them with the world, while learning how to tame them.