Self-sabotage occurs when you allow your inner dialogue to shame you and bring you down.
I’m lazy, I’m fat, I’m a loser’.
Any of these sound familiar?
Or do you have some other treasured shaming words that you often repeat to yourself.
Our Inner Shame Dialogue can sometimes be running in the background and we don’t even realise we are doing it!
We all have it, we are our own worst critics.
I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, and she explains her research around shame:
“We live in a world where people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it is dangerous.”
“Researchers don’t find shame correlated with positive outcomes at all, there is no data to support that shame is a helpful compass for good behaviour. In fact, shame is much more likely to be the cause of destructive and hurtful behaviours than it is to be the solution.”
So it is actually not helping you and it drives you to act in a self-destructive way. It says so in the research!
Let’s relate this to dieting and stepping on the scales in the hope that you’ve lost a kilo or 10.
You’ve been doing all the ‘right’ things and you have been super focused and determined.
You feel really good about yourself and how well you’ve been going. You step on the scale because you’ve always done it, it’s a habit now.
However every time you do it, you look down at that number and you aren’t really satisfied with what you see. In fact, it puts you in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
Inner Shame Dialogue: Why isn’t this working? I’m just not cut out for this, I’ve tried so many times, why am I even bothering. I’m such a loser.
One of 2 things can happen from here:
1. Inner Shame Dialogue: It must have been than Freddo Frog I ate yesterday. Maybe I’m not spending enough time exercising, where am I going to find the time? Bloody hell, I’m such an idiot.
You decide that you need to punish your body by engaging in more gruelling workouts that you don’t enjoy and maybe even skipping a meal or two and starve yourself (self sabotage). You beat yourself up trying to figure out where you went wrong.
2. Inner Shame Dialogue: It’s no use, I’m just never going to be thin. I’m such a loser, my body must hate me.
You fall in a big heap, decide you are never going to be happy and it’s all too hard. Head over to the pantry and grab some chocolate/chips to try and help you feel better (self-sabotage). Guilt kicks in and the cycle starts again.
Recognise any of these? None of those options are helping you progress, as the research explained.
But there is Option 3, a different approach that supports you and allows you to be ok with the wonderful human that you are. It demonstrates kindness, compassion and care (the opposite of shame).
3. Inner Empowering Dialogue: I am really trying but this behaviour of stepping on the scales is not helping me, in fact, I get more stressed and upset and then end up self sabotaging my efforts.
You realise that weight really isn’t a measure of your worth and decide to be kinder to yourself. You CHOOSE to replace stepping on the scales with writing down 3 things you love about you and your body.
This is not any easy process, you may even need some professional help and that is ok.
I have a 7 day challenge for you. Grab a notebook and put it next to your bed. Tomorrow morning when you wake up, write 3 statements that you can adopt as your new Inner Empowering Dialogue.
Repeat them out loud to yourself and notice how you feel. Try it for a week and let me know how you go.
If you are unsure of where to start, here are 3 you can use to start you off:
I AM BEAUTIFUL
I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY HEALTHY BODY/LEGS/ARMS/BRAIN/MIND
I AM ENOUGH
Will you do it?
If you need extra support, I am here to help.
My work with many women over the last 6 years has progressed to also helping them with mindfulness as well as their physical wellbeing.
I Want Fitness sessions and programs focus on empowering women to feel confident to make positive long lasting change in their lives.
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