The ways we self-sabotage - Part 1

IMG_0389This post marks the beginning of another series I will write about from time-to-time: self-sabotage.  Because self-sabotage so often lies in our blindspots, it is usually something we are unable to see in ourselves.  The intent of these posts is to provide some insight into areas you may be letting yourself off the hook (read about the opposite of that approach here).  

If you experience a sense of confrontation or annoyance upon reading one of the articles in this series, take special note.  This is likely one of the ways that you let yourself off.

To get yourself into the right frame of mind for today's post, consider your answers to the following questions:

  • What are you currently tolerating in your life?
  • What could you be doing better, but are settling with where you're at?
  • What are the things that you are perpetually putting off in your life?
  • Would life be different for you if you won the lottery?  How?

All of these questions get to the heart of where you are living a life that is "good enough".  What does good enough mean to you?  This is the definition I invite you to use:

  • Good enough means that something is not as good as you would like it to be, but is sufficiently comfortable that you will let yourself off of working to improve it.

This is a confronting definition for many people - are you one of them?  Take a minute to ask yourself why it is confronting.  There are likely many justifications and reasons for why good enough actually is good enough for you, but I assert that they are simply excuses.

Good enough is an excuse not to be great.  An excuse not to step into our truest selves and fully embrace what we can provide the world.  Good enough is an opiate.  It's the way that we sabotage our own greatness.  Most importantly, it is an excuse not to do the work that would be required to fully express ourselves in the world.

The easiest place to see this in our lives is by looking at our list of tolerances.  What are you currently tolerating?  What is currently "good enough" about life for you?  What are you tolerating in the following areas:

  • Family
  • Social/Friends
  • Finances
  • Physical health and Well-being
  • Spirituality
  • Romance/Intimacy
  • Work

Telling ourselves that life is good enough is a slippery slope.  It is the act of staying comfortable, instead of stepping in to who we truly are.  Worse yet, the more we tell ourselves that things are good enough, the more we believe in it.

"But I really am happy with where things are at - life really is good enough!".  What this really means is that life is comfortable and predictable.  It is safe.  Risk has been minimized.  Good enough is what is predictable.  It may not be great, but at least there's no risk involved.  No chance of things going haywire or off the rails, and you losing everything you've worked to create.

Your dreams do not exist in the realm of good enough.  Your dreams are not good enough.  They are fantastic.  They exist in the realm of possibility, risk, adventure, and the unknown.  (If you argue that your dreams do indeed exist in the realm of good enough, I assert that this is another way you are sabotaging yourself).

Good enough is simply a lie that we tell ourselves in order to be satisfied with where we are.  In order to accept comfortable, predictable and safe over excitement, passion and risk.

It's okay that you've chosen or are actively choosing "good enough" up until this point.  It's gotten you to where you are.  It's gotten you to the point of having an acceptable life.  You're probably not wanting too much.  You probably have nice clothes, a decent car, a fairly good wage, and a nice place to live.  Maybe some people even envy you for the position you hold.  You will continue to do fine right where you are, with the story of life being good enough.

It's okay that you are currently living this life - it's just that there is more of the world available to you, and more of you available to the world, once you let go of the lie.  So go and get a pen and paper (or open up notepad on your computer) and actually spend five minutes writing out your list of tolerances.  Get present to what life looks like when it is good enough.  And then reacquaint yourself with your dreams.  What would life be like if you could really have it anyway that you wanted - without any barriers.

Don't settle for good enough.  Drop the opiate and take on being radically responsible for your life.