Self Sabotage: Why Do We Do It?

candy_apple_ladySelf-Sabotage is, in it’s most basic definition, “the act of getting in our own way!” There are variations and psychological definitions that are deep and wide, but that is the simplest way to look at it.

Most of us don’t consciously realize that we do it. However, take a close look at your track record of behaviors and you’ll probably realize that it’s more common in your life than you think. The first step in solving any problem is the awareness that it exists, so following are a few of the most commons reasons why we harm ourselves in this way:

1. One very common trigger for self-sabotage is fear! It’s interesting how fear keeps popping up as the culprit behind a lot of our struggles in life, huh? When we begin to go in a direction that challenges us, or that isn’t our “norm,” it’s scary! What if we fail? What if we look stupid? What if we change our mind? What if we completely suck at it? It’s just easier to stop before we even get started. There’s no risk that way. We know it’s good for us, think we want it, and don’t realize that we’re creating beliefs or behaviors that sabotage our plans, but our subconscious protective instincts start to take over.

2. Another creator of self-sabotage is our identity. Identity is incredibly powerful! Our brains work to create or maintain the pictures that we’ve created in our minds of who we are. If we start to make moves to change that picture in any way, our brains will begin to produce the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors necessary to keep that picture our reality…even when it’s not safe or productive. For example, if we’ve identified with ourselves as overweight and attempt to change that, our brains will create the cravings, self-doubt, fatigue, etc., to keep us in our current form. This is why it’s so important to create a new identity in your mind when you want to make a change. Paint a new picture and identify with who that person is, how she feels, what she does, and how she thinks. Do whatever you have to do to make this shift. Your outcome depends on your ability to retrain your mind.

3. Similarly to self-sabotage based on the maintenance of identity, we will destroy our progress if we don’t believe we deserve it. This is also accomplished in the unconscious control center of our minds. We have beliefs about how everything should look in our lives. These beliefs are often based on things like past experiences, what people have lead us to believe, or social status. A good example for this type of self-sabotage can be found in our relationships. If we begin to experience more love, trust, or happiness than we subconsciously believe we deserve, we will start to look for and create problems to either destroy that relationship, or bring it back to the level of our expectations. “We don’t deserve to be that happy.” “It’s not right to feel that good.” “Men always betray us.” Sound at all familiar? Another example is career success. If you’ve always made $40,000 per year and the income of your family growing up was around $40,000 per year, you’ll start to self-sabotage when you find yourself moving out of that income range. You “are only a $40,000 per year earner” and you don’t deserve that kind of success. It doesn’t fit into your blueprint for what a career should look like…your career anyways!

The good news is that we can learn to recognize when we begin to self-sabotage and get out of the way of our own progress if we make a conscious effort to do so. It requires honest self-evaluation and dedication to doing the work within ourselves to overcome our natural tendencies and beliefs. Change isn’t easy and progress doesn’t always feel good, but it gets easier. And it’s definitely worth it!

Have you identified with any of these examples of self-sabotage? I would love to hear how you’ve dealt with it in your life or how it has effected you. Lets chat in the comments below!

With love,

Andrea

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GIVE YOUR MAN A BREAK: Power is not love & a controlled man does not equal a loyal man!

man-woman-upsetWe’re good women. We love our men. We definitely have good intentions. But we still just can’t resist the urge to tighten the reigns and assert our feminine control at times. We often do it subtly and, in all honesty, probably don’t even realize it most of the time. So, why do we do it?

I have quite a few male friends/adopted brothers, so I’ve witnessed it through their eyes many times. They usually don’t even consciously know what’s happened, but they live in fear of upsetting their wives or girlfriends…like they’re walking on egg shells most of the time. Because I can’t stand to see it happening to my male friends, I try to be super conscious of it in my own relationship! So, what is “it?” I think it’s a little bit of jealously mixed with insecurity and often a little dash of “I want everything my way” sprinkled on top!

Because it’s one of the most common points of contention, I’m going to use the friends example today. When our man says he wants to “hang with the guys,” we start to feel the stir inside of us that doesn’t feel good. It says “DANGER!” Or, our lesser and more selfish selves start to surface and we argue, “but I wanted you to do XYZ with me that day!” Does any of this strike a chord?

If I were to sum it all up with one term, it would be “mind games.” Mind games that confuse the heck out of men and leave them beaten down and scared to death of making a wrong move! A lot of men are afraid to stand up to their wives or girlfriends because they’re afraid of her reaction. “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” right? There’s a fine line between a man who loves and wants to please his woman and a man who is afraid of her.

Men need time with their friends to do “man things” just like we need time with our girlfriends! They shouldn’t feel bad every time they mention wanting to do something that doesn’t involve you. Trust me…I get it! Sometimes they have a friend/friends who are a bad influence and we’d like to limit their time with them. I promise you that attempting to drive a wedge between them will only cause them to cling to that friend more fiercely and you’ll end up the bad guy. Maybe you’re perfectly fine most of the time…when it’s fishing trips, sporting events, etc., but when your man plans to “go out,” you feel threatened. If that’s the case, here are three obvious things that could be going on:

1. You need to take a good look at yourself and deal with the insecurities that are causing you to feel this way. Insecurity steals joy and kills the strong bond needed for a satisfying and lasting relationship. If you translate “I want to spend time with my guy friends” to mean “I don’t want to spend time with you,” this is likely the issue for you.

2. You don’t trust him. Maybe you say you trust him, but not his friends…that’s still not trusting. You don’t believe he’ll make good decisions when he’s with them. If trust is the issue, there’s something a lot bigger in your relationship that needs to be dealt with. In my opinion, if you don’t have trust, you don’t have much of anything at all.

3. You’re just being a brat. Stop it!!!

In our defense, I want to clarify that I don’t mean we should never be upset with the men in our lives. Sometimes men have exceptionally bad timing and simply don’t think about the big picture, or how it’s effecting your life. This is where ground rules come in handy. Ground rules and clear expectations save relationships! He needs to be considerate of you, just as you need to be considerate of him. For example, if the issue is his timing, work out an advance-notice plan. There’s nothing more frustrating than when he comes home from work on Friday (a night the two of you usually spend together) and states that he has plans that don’t include you. It’s not considerate of your feelings or time. It leaves you without time to make plans of your own for the evening and that’s not fair. As you can see, I’m not saying that frustration is never warranted. But, action plans and ground rules can help you avoid a lot of problems. Just remember, any expectations you set for him will be expected of you as well.

The key point that I want to make is that we’ve got to watch our motives and ask ourselves if we’re really being fair. We also need to be careful of our natural female tendency to test our power in a relationship…to play mind games. Power is not love and a controlled man does not equal a loyal man! A lot of the problems that men and women deal with can be resolved with open, honest, and fair communication. Next time the “ugly” inside of you starts to surface, think of these things and check yourself. Where are your feelings coming from?

What do you think? Have you dealt with this in your relationship/relationships? If so, what was the outcome? We can help each other by sharing our experiences, so I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

With much love,

Andrea

 

 

THE WOMAN BEHIND THE MASK: What causes us to “lose” ourselves?

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It’s the age old question…”who am I?” I’ve talked to so many women who have expressed concern and dismay over the feeling of having “lost” themselves. I’ve definitely struggled with it a time or two. Heck, I think we lose and find ourselves hundreds of times over during the course of a lifetime as we grow and change and life takes us in different directions. If you feel like you’ve lost yourself somewhere in the midst of marriage, maturing, babies, new careers, well meaning loved ones attempting to “help” you figure out who you are, and life event after life event, you’re so not alone!

We learn to hide behind masks that make things easy or keep us from being vulnerable with our true faces out there in the open for the world to see and critique. I think it happens for many different reasons, but here are a few of the most obvious to me:

1. Sometimes it’s because we’ve simply grown or changed and need to accept our new and improved version. Not that I’m trying to compare human beings to fancy technological devices…but you know what I mean, right? We just haven’t paid much attention to what’s happening until we find ourselves in the middle of a life that we didn’t anticipate, new life experiences have changed us in some way, or challenges have helped us to grow and develop in new and different directions. None of these are bad things. They’re just…different. We’re not necessarily hiding from something, we just haven’t taken the time to figure out who we’ve become.

2. Another reason could be that someone has been chipping away at us. Sometimes it’s critics who have their own selfish reasons for tearing us down, but more often then not, it’s actually people who love us dearly who do the most damage. They’re trying to “help” and the last thing they mean to do is harm. It’s a natural human instinct to want people to be more like us, or who we think they should be. It’s called the Pygmalion project, which comes from the Greek legend of a sculptor named Pygmalion who couldn’t find a single woman in Cyprus who fit his criteria. He set about to sculpt the perfect woman and labored obsessively and tirelessly until he had created his ideal woman…a perfect woman. He fell in love with her at first, but soon realized that she was a lifeless body that could never return his love or meet his needs. We have to be careful not to give into the temptation to chisel away at our loved ones. In attempting to make someone more or less of something, so that they better fit into the molds of who we think they should be, we risk chipping away at the true essence of who they are…what makes them unique and what we love about them in the first place. It’s so wrong. Women are very susceptible to this type of “chiseling.” We put the needs of others above our own and we naturally crave harmony in our relationships and lives. These great qualities can leave us vulnerable if we don’t have a firm sense of who we are and guard against the things that can chip away at us over time.

3. Lastly, sometimes it’s just our own dang fault. In pursuit of “who we are” we try on so many masks that we can’t even remember who’s behind them anymore. We work so hard to become something that we forget to focus on being someone. We doubt our own worth, so we try to copy others, and we just look silly doing it. I once decided I was going to try the hardcore sporty/athletic look (Think of Sporty Spice in her glory days). Although I can rock my Lululemon yoga fashion any day of the week, I just looked ridiculous in baggy warm-up suits and high-tops! (Do they even call them “high-tops” anymore?) On a serious note, It’s not really about how we dress. We hide our true and best qualities under masks because we either haven’t taken the time to get to know who we really are, or we just aren’t comfortable in our own skin…yet.

If any of these descriptions sound familiar, don’t lose hope. Most importantly, don’t give up on figuring yourself out! You were created to play a very important role in this life. Shrinking from your true self and hiding your unique qualities and talents serves no one.

Awareness is the first step in solving any problem. If you know you’ve lost yourself somewhere along the way, keep searching. You’ll figure it out!

What masks do you hide behind? Do you feel that you truly know yourself? I look forward to talking with you in the comments below!

With Love,

Andrea

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TOO BUSY FOR PEACE: God’s message to the busy and overwhelmed!

Woman sitting at desk rubbing temples, eyes closedDon’t you just love it when God deals with you? I mean, it doesn’t always feel good. In fact, it’s often actually really hard and sometimes very painful, because it requires self-examination and change. But it’s always for our own good!

Recently, God has been working hard to teach me to “be still” in spite of a busy mind and a lot of big goals! I’m an over-thinker and it often causes me to feel anxious or distracted. It also paralyzes me from moving forward, because I’m so busy thinking about everything and looking at all of the angles that I forget to just start taking steps. Sound at all familiar?

The other night I was flipping through my Bible and stumbled across the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus went to their house and this is what happened:

“While Jesus and his followers were traveling, Jesus went into a town. A woman named Martha let Jesus stay at her house. Martha had a sister named Mary, who was sitting at Jesus feet and listening to him teach. But Martha was busy with all the work to be done. She went in and said ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing and it will never be taken away from her.‘” Luke 10:38-42

Wow! Talk about a reality check. I think we can all relate to Martha! There’s a lot of work to be done and often not enough hours to get it all in…and it all seems really important! But Jesus still says that Mary, in her decision to sit and be with Jesus, chose the right thing. She chose to prioritize being fully present in her moment with God over all of the work that could have otherwise kept her busy. I can just see Jesus looking at Martha, with eyes full of love and understanding, as he reprimanded her for getting caught up in secondary priorities. In fact, I’m pretty sure He looks at me that way quite often as He reminds me of the very same thing.

The funny thing is that I had actually highlighted this story in my Bible the last time I read it and put a sticky note on the page for quick review. Apparently, I knew I needed it, but it hadn’t really sunk in. I needed that message then and I still need it now! Living a Spirit filled life – one in which we feel at peace and connected to God – requires that we stop living in “busy” mode and take time to pause and simply “be still” with God. God doesn’t operate it chaos. He speaks to us and renews our spirits when we take time to be with Him and to listen. Being “with God” is being at peace.

My busy mind is an asset when put to good use. It has allowed me to avoid all sorts of stumbling blocks and helped me to make a lot of good decisions. But I have to remember to keep it reined in and to keep my priorities in order. If we want to live in peace, we have to make time for meditation, reflection, and time with God. That’s how we replenish our souls and stay connected to the Spirit of God that lives within us. That’s how we learn to feel connected to His Spirit all day. You may think you can’t afford to take time for peace, but you can’t afford to live without it! In fact, living without it is living without one of Gods most important gifts to us. When Jesus left the earth to join His Father in heaven, he said “I leave you my peace.” Yet so many of us are still clinging to our craziness for fear of losing control.

As Jesus tells Mary and Martha, that connection and time can never be taken from us. The benefits of choosing the path of peace produce more positive in our lives than a whole lot of busy work or busy thoughts ever will. It’s not just a “30 minutes in the morning” kind of thing. It’s an “all day, in every decision and in every thought” sort of thing. It’s a way of living. I’m not saying hard work and careful analysis aren’t important, because they absolutely are. We just need to get our priorities straight and learn not to lose sight of priority number one while in pursuit of priority number two.

Now, I want to hear from you! What keeps you from living in peace and feeling connected to God? Have you figured out a way to overcome it? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

With Love,

Andrea

 

 

HOW TO BE A LADY: 10 common character traits of legendary ladies!

Most of us are familiar with tmarilyn monroehe terms sit, walk, talk, or act like a lady. I heard them so much while growing up that my mothers voice pops into my head pretty much every time I do something “unladylike.” I’m sure that was her goal! I used to role my eyes at her…still do sometimes…but in my heart I thank her for the values that she worked tirelessly to instill in my heart.

What my mother taught me, was so much more than the outward and typical expressions of ladylike qualities. She taught me how to “be” a lady. There are many legendary women from the past and present who have had an impact on my life and helped to shape my own values and identity. My mother tops that list! I’ve studied, not just how they conduct themselves publically or how they dress and style their hair, but who they are as women. What makes them memorable? What makes a woman an iconic lady? It’s mostly about her character. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Following are some of the commonalities that stand out the most to me:

1. A commitment to a higher standard in all areas of life…a general refusal to accept mediocrity from themselves or those they spend time with and love.

2. A rock solid sense of identity and self-worth and the ability to stay true to that self, even when criticized or questioned.

3. A clearly defined value system on which to base decisions.

4. A vision for the future that motivates and guides.

5. Compassion…a genuine care and kindness toward others.

6. An ability to connect and communicate with people in an honest and effective way.

7. A sense of personal style and the self-respect to dress/express yourself tastefully.

8. knowledge of etiquette and an understanding that it’s purpose is to put others at ease.

9. Strength and resilience to stand firm and continue moving forward when things get shaken up.

10. Faith in the fact that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves…we were created with a unique purpose and are a part of a master plan.

This is not a comprehensive list by any means! Life is complicated and we each experience it uniquely. There’s no cookie cutter mold to fit into. Not a single legendary lady in history was perfect or without her faults and vices. Like I said before, it’s more about character…who we are on the inside and how we treat others. We all have “less than ladylike” moments. I know I sure do! But we’ve got to have a higher standard and principles that guide us and keep us on track…or help us get back on track! :)

What does being a lady mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!

With love,

Andrea