Self-Sabotage and Why We Do It

Self-Sabotage and Why We Do It

Self sabotage is the result of self inflicted, subconscious or conscious actions or thoughts to derail one’s success. In short, self sabotage is screwing yourself over on purpose. Why would anyone do such a thing? Contrary to popular belief, you are usually the one who gets in the way of your own self. 

I can recall a conversation with a young person many years ago. We had worked for months on achieving a positive goal and were near final completion. Nearly a week before the goal was accomplished, she engaged in a behavior that completely derailed and destroyed her chances of leveling up. She knowingly engaged in a negative behavior which was so far off from the quality of character and actions she had built over the past year. I was angry, disappointed and frustrated at her lack of follow through and unwillingness to commit.

When the dust had settled, we had a sit down conversation. I could only bring myself to ask one question, “Why?” She proceeded to draw the following with a pen on white paper:

-side profile of stairs from the bottom of the page to the top, with stick figure person almost to the top; arrow pointed downward from the top of the stairs to the bottom of the page/the ”floor” level.

She explained:

“The higher up you go, the better things get. You are meeting goals and living a life you didn’t know you could ever have. But when you look down, you see how high you are. And you’re still going up. The higher up you go, the harder you can fall, and worse it will hurt. You start to feel like you’re going to fall.

You have 2 choices, you can either jump now, before you get higher and before it hurts worse when you land. Also, you know when you’re going to jump so you see it coming. OR you can keep going higher, the pressure builds, and when you fall, you never see it coming, so it hurts so much worse.”

Wow. I was stunned. The higher up you go, the harder you fall? Then it hit me, it made sense. Why does a recovered addict relapse after successfully completing a rehab program? Why does that woman jump out of a good relationship and claim “it wasn’t a good fit”? Why does he not apply for the higher job position even when his colleagues are begging him to? Why do people pull out of their chosen career path after they fail a board exam? Why don’t we open up our own businesses?  

Fear turned inward becomes our kryptonite. The negative thoughts about ways you can fail will slowly end the spark that was required to generate ideas, movement and growth. How you think, becomes how you feel, which then creates actions. You think of all the reasons you fail, you begin to feel discouraged, scared or worried, then behave in ways to support that line of thinking. A discouraged person doesn’t make it on time to the interview. A person says no to going out with friends on a Saturday night although they’re feeling lonely.

Yes, it’s scary to think of failure, but what if you succeed? Ok, lets say you fall, but not off the stairs completely, just down a few steps? Imagine your potential if you simply got out of your own way and allowed yourself to experience, grow, and move forward.

What is Analysis Paralysis?

What is Analysis Paralysis?

Analysis paralysis. Just look at those two words alone- I bet you can figure out what it might be. I’ve seen this term appear more frequently throughout the years with a particular precedence among the young adult community. Analysis paralysis is defined as the metaphorical mental inability to make a decision due to the overwhelming possibility of options, resulting in no decision being made at all.

Those plagued with analysis paralysis will often grow overwhelmed at the amount of options before them and overanalyze, re-analyze, and analyze again to the point of unintentionally procrastinating in making a decision. You may have heard someone state they “second guess” themselves when it comes to large decisions or making a choice. Analysis is the same concept, but on steroids. You don’t just second-guess yourself, but third guess and fourth guess and fifth guess yourself to the point no decision is made at all.

With over analysis, there is consistent doubt and fear of making the wrong decision. As a result, people grow immobilized mentally for fear of what negative consequences their decision can create. One of the biggest fears is simply “Making the wrong choice.” You may have seen the chronic “procrastinator” but much like the second-guesser, analysis paralysis is a procrastinator 6.0 version. A procrastinator will eventually make a decision and complete a task, albeit at the very last minute. With analysis paralysis there is forever postponing, in essence placing the need to make a decision at the back of the mind rather than the forefront for an infinite amount of time.

The danger with analysis paralysis is it may appear to work. You know, “Out of sight, out of mind.” You may know someone who has struggled in making a decision they desperately need to make and watch from a distance how detrimental this is for them. Things like deciding what college to attend, deciding when the right time to leave an abusive spouse is, contemplating when they should tell their loved one about a grave physical health condition, saying yes or no to certain job opportunities….The list goes on and on. You may have witnessed how your loved one has missed out on an opportunity or unintentionally remained in unfulfilled roles by not making a decision to do something different.

Many may try and justify this way of thinking, saying things like “I just take my time” or “I’ve always been this way.” However, there can be freedom from this type of overwhelming, paralyzing fear of making the wrong choice. If you or someone you know is struggling with this, don’t hesitate to reach out. Don’t overanalyze whether counseling could be a good option for you. Swing into action, advocate for your own self, and say yes to an opportunity for help.

 

What is Quality of Life?

What is Quality of Life?

WRITTEN BY: MARQUIA CALDWELL, LPC

Quality of life is the degree to which you are healthy, comfortable, and able to participate in or enjoy life. It’s often reflected in your physical, mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. The definition of quality of life varies from person to person, but most agree that happiness and satisfaction in life is the goal.

When we begin to suffer in certain areas of life, this is called poor quality of life. Poor quality of life is seen as a decreased living standard where there is an absence of basic needs as well as social, cultural, emotional, and spiritual needs. When we experience this, we can grow truly unhappy and finding enjoyment in life is difficult.

Signs of poor quality of life:

  • Negative Thoughts and Words
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Lack of hobbies and time for self
  • Excessive work or studies
  • Lack of focus and goals
  • Poor Diet
  • Poor Sleeping Habits
  • Negative Relationships
  • Toxic Environments

Happiness is often associated with having a good quality of life. Happiness can be understood as the fulfillment of goals, needs, and wishes in an area that has value to a person. Happiness leads to increased success, better health, and rewarding relationships. Quality of life can be improved once we recognize we are struggling and unhappy.

Ways to Improve Quality of Life

  • Maintain Healthy Relationships – Relationships play an important role in our lives. Healthy relationships increase your happiness, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being.
  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Sleep is vital. During undisturbed deep sleep that cells in our bodies regenerate. It can improve productivity, emotional balance, creativity, and even your weight.
  • Regular Exercise – Exercise pumps up our endorphins – our “feel good” hormones – which has an immediate uplifting effect and helps us to concentrate, stay alert, focused, and enhances our cognitive abilities.
  • Healthy Diet – Our bodies get the most out of nutrient-rich, natural food, which in turn keeps us feeling more energized, stronger, and less prone to fatigue and illness. We also feel better mentally when we feel nourished.
  • Stay Hydrated – It’s important to stay hydrated. Our bodies are at least 70% water and when that level drops, our bodily systems do not function at their best.
  • Self-Care – Make time to take breaks and to treat yourself. Create “ME TIME”. Some examples are meditation, decluttering, reading, positive affirmations, new hobbies/interests, unplugging from social media, taking vacations, and more.
  • Goal Setting – By making short, medium, and long-term goals for ourselves – whether they are related to career, knowledge, or personal growth – we are creating opportunities to guide us in our development. Reaching them provides a sense of fulfillment and momentum and keeps us looking forward.

The steps on this path will sometimes seem treacherous, but the result is worth the effort.  It begins with conversations, being aware of your life satisfaction and treasuring it and discovering what’s missing from your life.

“Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.” – Moshe Feldenkrais

Mommy Guilt- and Why it feels so Heavy.

Mommy Guilt- and Why it feels so Heavy.

If you’re a working mother who struggles with “mommy guilt” this blog is for you. This blog will review the difference between mommy guilt and mommy shame and why it feels so heavy to experience it.

For those of you who have heard of the renowned Brene Brown, much of what I’m going to talk about regarding shame versus guilt comes from her. She’s a research professor who studies people and their connection to vulnerability, shame and empathy. 

What Is Mommy Guilt?

In short, guilt suggest “I’ve done something bad” while shame suggest “I am bad.” Guilt speaks to the action, while shame speaks to the person. Some might argue this is simply a matter of semantics, but if you look closer, you can see it.

Let’s take a look at internal mommy talk. When uncovering tough thoughts and feelings, internal self-talk could sound a little like this: “I forgot to pack my kids lunch and I need to call the school ASAP” (guilt) versus “I’m such a bad mom my kid doesn’t deserve me” (shame). 

Before going on, you must first understand the strong connection between thoughts and feelings. For example, if you think “My child doesn’t deserve me, I’m an absent parent and sucky person” then you are likely to feel anxiety, worry, and shame. On the other hand, if you think “I was really busy all week at work so I need to carve out some quality time with my daughter this weekend” then you are more likely to feel motivated, focused, and organized. Can you see the difference? Each thought takes feelings into two completely different directions.

How to Overcome Mommy Guilt

So what can you do with mommy guilt? First you have to identify your internal self talk. Is it more on the shame side or the guilt side? Put it on paper: what do the thoughts sound like in your head? No one can help you with this because you are the only one who hears your own thoughts. What are you feeling guilty about? Worried about? When you think about work and your role as a mom, what does it feel like? Is there a balance?

Once you start this list, you will quickly see a pattern or trend. You are likely feeling some kind of way about things like time or not doing special things with your kid. For you, the time you spend at work equals time away from your child. So let’s talk about the idea of time.

As adults, we understand the passing of time. Depending on the age of your child, many have little to no concept of time. For example, not until mid elementary age do children start understanding how to tell time. Into double digit years, they start understanding their favorite show is about 30 minutes long. They start understanding why she can’t go to bed 10 minutes later because her bedtime is 8 PM. Before this, he thinks you are 75 years old and his birthday just past last week. Because of this, you are at a slight advantage. Children (and humans in general) are more concerned with the quality of time spent in a relationship rather than the quantity of time spent in that relationship.

What to do About Mommy Guilt

Quality time is a quality exchange, mutual interaction, an interaction involving peace and overall enjoyment of one another’s presence. Your child will always prefer to have 100% of you rather than the distracted you. For example, driving in the car while having a conversation with your passenger does not count as quality time. Why? You’re clearly distracted by the road and your role by default is split between driver and communicator. Your child needs 100%, interactive, non-distracted time with you. Even 15 minutes a day, can speak volumes especially as children grow and develop.

What do do About Mommy Shame

If you’ve been struggling with mommy shame, you are not alone. You can’t be expected to tackle these feelings and experiences on your own when you have never done so before. Find a support group, talk to other working parents, attends a seminar, or find someone to talk to openly about your feelings. We can help.

What is Trauma?

What is Trauma?

  • WRITTEN BY: MARQUIA CALDWELL, LPC
  • “Trauma is much more than a story about the past…trauma is re-experienced in the present, not as a story, but as profoundly disturbing physical sensations and emotions that may be associated with memories of past trauma”

    -Bessel van der Kolk, a trauma expert

    When mental health professionals talk about trauma and mental health, we are talking about an emotional or psychological injury. Trauma is a response to an experience that overwhelms an individual’s capacity to cope, often as a result of dangerous situations or life threatening events. This can be a single event or multiple events. These experiences cause a negative impact on the mind and heart. There are various forms of trauma such as, but can include the following: 

        • Abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional),
        • Life-threatening accidents or illnesses,
        • Violence in school or the community,
        • Domestic violence (witnessing or experiencing),
        • National disasters,
        • Acts of terror,
        • Public health crises such as COVID-19,
        • Loss of a loved one, especially when sudden or violent in nature,
        • Refugee or war experiences,
        • and Neglect.

      Noticeable signs when struggling with trauma can include:

        • Insomnia, 
        • Poor concentration, 
        • Intrusive memories and thoughts,
        • Isolation, 
        • Self-doubt, 
        • Mood changes, 
        • Detachment from reality, 
        • Nightmares and/or flashbacks, 
        • Panic attacks, 
        • Loss of hope, 
        • Lack of vision for future, 
        • Inability to regulate emotions or lack of emotional response, 
        • Paranoia, 
        • Hypervigilance, and more. 

      Trauma writes itself on the mind and body of survivors. This means our actions, reactions, and behaviors are a result of our painful experiences.  Each traumatic experience is unique and can manifest in lots ways such as PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Chronic Pain, Increased chances of experiencing life-threatening conditions, Relationship and Social Issues.

      Our traumas do NOT define us; they are just a PART of who we are.”

      Recovery and Support

      Recovery with trauma is a journey. Think of having a deep cut on your arm. There are options presented to us to heal this cut. You can leave it alone and let it heal on its own, clean it and cover it, or go to a professional to close it up. When it comes to emotional wounds, most cover it up and hope for the best. However, sometimes when we think things are healed, we realize it didn’t quite heal right. 

    • Re-opening wounds can be part of the process of healing, and with counseling, this is oftentimes the case. There are various forms of counseling and psychotherapy to help survivors cope with their traumatic experiences. Along with therapy, doing enjoyable activities/ hobbies and surrounding oneself with a positive support system is incredibly helpful in coping with trauma as well.
    • If you’re not sure where to start, but know you have experienced trauma, don’t wait for things to get harder or worse. Remember, getting help for trauma doesn’t have an expiration date. Even if traumatic things happened “a long time ago,” your heart can still find healing today.