I have this client I love. I love all my clients, actually…that’s what happens when people get really honest and authentic and start working on their stuff. It’s really hard to not love them when they’re stepping into that. And when I’m paid to see them as Who They Really Are. But I digress.
Anyway, this woman has uncovered some huge patterns and has learned a ton about herself in only a month of working together. I’ve noticed that each time she realizes some big, painful pattern she has, she comes back to the same questions: Why am I choosing to suffer? Do I do these things because I want to feel badly?
She’s not alone in this. I frequently hear people attribute their bad habits or painful patterns to
- Self-sabotage: “Oh, I always sabotage myself in this way”
- Masochism: “I guess I just enjoy suffering on some level”, and
- Lack of self-love: “The real reason I [procrastinate, drink, keep getting fired, etc.] is because I don’t love myself, right?”
I’m not saying that many of us don’t self-sabotage to some degree. Our brains don’t like drastic change so our subconscious works kind of like a thermostat, trying to keep us at our internal set point. What we call self-sabotage is often just our brain trying to keep homeostasis. But that’s not what’s going on most of the time.
It isn’t masochism, either.
And I’m definitely not saying we couldn’t all benefit from an extra serving of self-love. We surely could.
It’s just that it’s usually simpler than all of that. In general, if you knew better, you’d do better.
Maybe you procrastinate because you’re making the task too big, or telling yourself something that scares you into freezing. Maybe you keep getting fired because you are doing something offensive that you’re not even aware of. Or you need more training in your job.
Before we jump into “I-hate-myself-and-suffering-is-familiar-to-me-and-I-don’t-deserve-happiness” land, let’s look at the more practical pieces first.
I don’t believe that anyone wants to feel badly. We just don’t always know how to feel good.
We get stuck in patterns. Our brain gets in its ruts and we don’t know that we can get ourselves out by changing our focus. Changing our focus and then re-deciding and re-committing when we mess up.
Or hearing another perspective. Calming down enough for your mind to see other options.
So we can all take a deep breath (together now), and stop being so dramatic and taking our stuff so seriously. Ah, that’s better.
You don’t hate yourself. You’re just in a pattern and you’re not sure what to do.