Self-sabotage or self-preservation?
Let’s look at the root of both words:
- Sabotage – to damage, disrupt, interfere with or harm.
- Preservation – referring to protection, safeguarding, maintenance or continuation.
I’ve used the first when I might really have meant the second; talk about different meanings… yikes!
Have you ever charged so hard down a goal’s pathway only to stop and then realize you’ve put very unrealistic expectations on yourself?
Recently, I plowed down the exercise path, again.
I say “again” because it’s taken me this long to really understand myself and here’s what I’ve learned: Routinely, I set very high standards. Standards that can be difficult for me to maintain. Then .. when I can’t, I get frustrated and, in turn, am extremely hard on myself.
Example: I’m gonna _____ *fill in the blanks
1) Exercise every day!
2) Eat only healthy stuff all the time!
3) Etc. etc. etc.
The problem isn’t in the doing or in the determination. I have plenty of both. The problem lies in the fact that, sometimes, life gets in the way. It has to. I’m not a celebrity. I don’t have a chauffeur, cook, or anyone else.
I get busy.
I get bored. *Yawn*
I get frustrated.
I get tired.
Can you relate?
But here’s something I’ve learned: I thought self-sabotage had to be the reason that I stopped. I thought that, somehow, somewhere, there was a deep, dark part of me that just didn’t want “it” badly enough.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
So, by berating myself after I gave up, I, in effect, neglected to see what had already been accomplished.
But recently I’ve learned another way of looking at this: maybe tucked in there with the negative connotations instead lies a semblance of self-preservation.
Maybe, at my core, I know better?
Maybe when I am fatigued and stressed and stop to take a day or three off it doesn’t have to mean that it’s all or nothing.
Maybe, I’m just tired.
Maybe I’m not a failure.
Maybe … if I instead acknowledge that some standards are too restrictive to be maintained I can see that it’s not always self-sabotage. Perhaps it is, instead, self-care?
Perhaps it’s my inner voice suggesting … hey hot stuff, how about you go at it 3 – 4 days a week? Pick something you enjoy and mix it up a little when it gets stale? It’s OK: It will be enough. You will be enough.
I get it now, I think.
image from beachbody.com
So last night, I danced, punched and shook my way through a round of Turbo Jam (fun!), enjoyed a luxurious cool-down in the pool and, after supper, took old dog for a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood.
None of it felt like exercise. I never once looked at my watch. And all of it … felt like… fun!
Today’s a new day and while my intentions are great, my expectations … are a bit more realistic.
Having fun might just be what brings me back for more.
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You? What keeps you moving forward to your goals? Have you ever stopped, erased what you’d planned, and started again?