Get Out of Your Own Way

Procrastinating, drinking, or overeating? Self-sabotaging behavior results from a misguided attempt to rescue ourselves from our own negative feelings.

Self-Sabotage and Getting to Be Right

Would you rather be right or well?

We tend to operate from a set of core beliefs that inform our self-perception. What lies behind these core beliefs are core truths that are informed and supported by archetypal activations. In service of this particular aspect of our self system, we create and re-create situations and experiences that validate and perpetuate that system. When the premise of the system drives a negative self-perception, the consequence typically results in a delightful little episode of self-sabotage.

The clinical definition of neurosis is "doing something over and over again, expecting a different result". What if you didn't know that you were doing it? What if, instead of recognizing the premise of your behavior, you were stuck with, "Wow, it happened again!". That is the definition of manifestation, and manifestation is driven by intention. When intentions are predicated upon something negative, we get repeatedly negative outcomes.

Very often, we set up situations and experiences in a way that will meet our expectations of the outcome, which, itself, is predicated upon our self-perception. This is how we "get to be right".

Here's an example...

Steven has always been successful. When he worked in IT, he started as a grunt in a Fortune 500 company with home-schooled computer skills and rose to the level of supervisor in a matter of years. He has a house, a lovely wife who adores him, two great kids and a very cool dog.

Sometime ago, after losing his job in IT, Steven decided to become a homeopathic physician. Along the way, he became skilled as an acupuncturist and massage therapist. He has a broad background in Oriental medicine and really knows his stuff.

Steven's business is failing, his wife is about to leave him and he is at a loss as to why this eventuality has befallen him.

Nothing has befallen Steven. He has set all of this up for himself because he consistently starts from the premise that he is a "loser". No amount of evidence to the contrary can change the core belief that he is unsuccessful and destined to fail. As a result, he consistently introduces obstacles into his life that prevent his success.

There are, by contrast, those of us who seem to be blessed - always landing on our feet, always having things work out - who, even in the face of an apparent disaster, come up on the right side of things. The glaring difference between these two circumstances is the premise with which people start.

Now, this is not to say that we should all go through life with a Pollyanna attitude. It does suggest, however, that the attitude with which we approach something will have a substantial impact on the outcomes of experience.

If we enter into a relationship expecting it to fail, it probably will - whether that failure is a result of our unconscious predications or the covert messages we send out partner. If we start a new job expecting to lose it, we probably will - because we will create situations that feed our fantasy expectation and then we "get to be right."

My dad, a scientist and mathematician by training, was fond of saying, "Check your premise." Over the years, I've discovered that this little piece of advice applies to just about everything. It not only creates a stage for avoiding assumption and faulty thinking, it gives us an opportunity to create a certain degree of objective distance that can help to examine our core beliefs and potentially transform our core truths.

For Steven, he has been working on his negative self-talk and his tendency to see things through a negative lens. As his self-perception and experiential interpretation has begun to shift, so have his outcomes.

Although it's not always this clear cut, checking your premise may get you to a place where your "rightness" has a positive, rather than a negative, bent.

© 2009 Michael J. Formica, All Rights Reserved

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Get Out of Your Own Way