Picture this: you’ve FINALLY paid off all your credit cards and your DEBT FREE! So you decide to celebrate, by hitting up your favorite online store and buy an awesome new outfit (or 5), before heading out to a dinner (on you of course!) with 4 of your closest friends. You have an incredible night out – all on credit of course. And 30 days later when the hangover wears off and your credit card bill arrives you realize you’ve fallen prey to the good old cycle of self-sabotage.
Maybe in your life self-sabotage doesn’t show up in your finances, it may show up as procrastinating until just before the deadline for your project or pitch is due. Maybe you date the same person over and over again, finding that while their face changes, their behavior most certainly becomes worse. Perhaps your cheat day, becomes a cheat month and then a cheat year after you notice that the numbers on the scale are dropping. Or maybe you start fights with your significant other just when things start going smoothly for you, because, well…drama!
Either way, none of us are prone to self-sabotage. And the only way to truly overcome it, is to start recognizing that we actually do it, how we do it and when we do it. Armed with this self-awareness is the first step to truly overcoming it!
Lifestyle and mindset coach Tiffany Toombs, of Blue Lotus Mind, explains that every behavior or action we take is preceded by a belief system. “Where most people typically go wrong in attempting to overcome self-sabotage is that they focus on the behavior, attempting to force a change, instead of looking at the behavior itself”.
THE GARDEN OF THE MIND
Tiffany likens the unconscious mind – the part of the brain that stores our beliefs and emotions and chooses our decisions and behaviors – to a garden. The majority of the “seeds” (or beliefs) that are planted in our unconscious mind happen between the ages of 0 and 7 years. During this time of critical development, our brains are like a sponge, soaking up everything in our environment, including micro eye and muscle movements, body language, tone and energy. Between the ages of 0 and 7 years we are also highly self-referential (we believe that everything that happens in our lives is a direct result of us) and we believe that our parents would never lie to us.
As we grow up, the beliefs we’ve created earlier in life begin to blossom into either flowers or weeds. Negative or dis-empowering belief systems become the weeds of the mind. The most common limiting beliefs we face are:
I’m not good enough
I’m not worthy
I don’t deserve love or I’m not loveable
I have to be perfect
I have to put others needs first
It’s not safe to stand out
I can’t do it
I’m too old / young
You have to work hard to make money
Money is evil / it’s greedy to want more
These beliefs in turn create an array of negative behaviors like:
Settling or staying in toxic or negative relationships
Being highly critical of others
Being a control freak
Tiffany explains that when we look solely at the behaviors, without ever addressing the belief systems, is like cutting the stem of the weed at the soil. Sure, the garden looks good in the short-term, however the weeds will continue to grow back, and quickly! You may stop procrastinating on one project or in one area of your life, but it will show up again, in some way or some new form.
GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
With her clients, Tiffany prefers to get to the root of the behavior – the belief system – and make changes on an unconscious level so her clients experience an undeniable and long-term change in their life. Tiffany also takes things one step further, looking not only to understand which “weed” so to speak is creating the issue, but who planted it in the first place.
“As children, our unconscious mind is highly illogical and applies our learnings with a blanket rule,” she explains. In some cases where there was any form of abuse, neglect or bullying, it can be easy to determine who planted the belief in the first place. Other people aren’t so easy. She’s seen adults who, as children, had parents who traveled or worked away from home for days or weeks at a time develop a belief that they aren’t good enough, or people who were criticized about something they were really proud of completely losing confidence in themselves.
Armed with the self-awareness of the belief system and who caused it, Tiffany works with her clients using an array of meditative techniques and neural reprogramming to pull the proverbial weed out of the garden. Through these techniques, Tiffany’s clients are able to become truly unstoppable.