Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. I make destructive choices, or I don’t make constructive choices, or both at the same time. Those decisions are often not in the interest of loving myself. For today’s Self-Love Saturday, here’s my list of tools to assess whether a decision is self-loving, or self-sabotaging.
1. Talk to someone you trust.
One of the fastest ways to see that a decision is self-sabotage is to talk about it with someone you trust to be honest with you. When I’m heavily caught up in a decision, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on or why I’m making that choice. It’s easier to rationalize a poor decision when you’ve only got one set of eyes on it. Before deciding something (e.g. going out drinking before that big interview or calling up that ex-boyfriend), talk about it with a personin your life who won’t sugar-coat it, and listen.
2. Sleep on it.
My most destructive choices are often made quickly and impulsively, with a F**K IT mentality at the heart of it. I’ve found that a night of rest can give me amazing clarity on an issue. By sleeping on it, you give yourself space from the choice, and a little time before pulling the trigger. You’ll also be better rested, which I’ve found almost always leads to better decision-making skills.
3. Assess the context.
Some of my most self-sabotaging decisions come at times when I am doing well. When I feel happy, confident, and excited about life. Then I turn around, seemingly out of nowhere, and go off the deep end with one bad choice or another. Sometimes, a hopeful and optimistic outlook can be the most triggering for self-sabotage. I come from a background of chaos and disarray, so when life is going smoothly, I’ll-suddenly want to stir the pot or rock the boat because feeling good feels foreign. Allow yourself to embrace the positivity in your life by being conscious of when you’re trying to fight it.
Maybe the new job is going well, but I’m afraid that I’m not up to more responsibility, so I start calling out so I’ll get fired instead of believing in myself. Maybe my new relationship is better than ever, but that feels strange, so I start a fight because I feel I don’t deserve a healthy and happy relationship. Assessing the context of a decision gives clarity on the “Why?” beneath the decision, so we can dig deeper and find the fear or anxiety underlying it.
4. Check in with your emotions.
Before pushing that big, flashing, GO button, I try to check in with my emotions. Do I really want to quit my job, right this very moment? Do I really want to get day-drunk with my friends? Do I want to skip classes today? Although emotions are associated with impulsiveness, when we listen to them they can be wonderfulindicators of what decision is best for ourselves. Emotions indicate that somethingis missing, that we need something, or that there is something we are gettingtoo much of.
Maybe I feel unappreciated at work, so I need to validate my hard work, instead of quitting. Maybe I’m craving some quality social time, so instead of going to that day-time party, I can call up a close friend. Maybe I feel overwhelmed with classes, so instead of skipping, I need to meet with a professor to talk about my assignments.
Addressing the emotional need beneath the impulsive decisions teaches me what I need to do to be constructive, rather than self-defeating.
5. Be curious.
Besides being curious about my emotions, being curious about the choice itself gives me tons of insight.
1. Why do I want to do this?
2. Is this choice in my best interest?
3. Is this choice mine, or do I feel pressured by someone else?
4. How will I feel after making this decision?
5. What is most in the interest of my well-being?
Being curious without judgement gives me space from a choice, and allows me to see what the results might be, rather than focusing on the immediate moment. That extra bit of curiosity can completely change your mind, or at least give you some knowledge about what the outcomes will be moving forward.
How do you check-in with your decision-making? Do you think you self-sabotage? I’d love to hear how you keep loving yourself with positive choices, or how you learn from your self-destructive choices in the comments below.
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