Crossing the Bridges can be difficult if you insist on burning them down before you reach the other side.
I have always been a fan of the phrase, “I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.” I know the word should be cross, but I think I’m a pretty funny guy, so I use burn instead.
The problem is, I DO have a tendency to burn the bridges, often while I am right in the middle of the span.
This is the subtle, and sometimes less-than-subtle, art of self-sabotage. I am, unfortunately, something of a master of this art.
What IS self-sabotage? This is the ability to destroy something without anyone else’s help at all. I have managed in my life to apply this art to numerous relationships, jobs, opportunities and experiences.
Rather than let things progress as they are, or work to take them where I truly desire for them to be, I have an incredible talent for taking the train off the rails, and only getting part-way to my intended goals.
Why? Fear, of course. The single biggest fear I have faced in my life has been my fear of unacceptance, of rejection as a person of worth by those I care about, or worse, those I feel the need to know care about me. From this fear comes a fear of failure, which might cause people to cease to care about me, and it’s equal and opposite, fear of success.
Yes, I am completely aware that these fears are irrational. I have written about this numerous times. Yet even with that knowledge, it is still sometimes a challenge to not let myself be overcome by fear, which is part of my work in being more in the present rather than the past or future.
Many times in my life, rather than fail or succeed, I self-sabotaged. I have applied this to many, many relationships over the years, as well as several job opportunities. It’s not that I put in no effort at all, I just put in enough effort to maintain things, or advance them at a completely neutral pace.
Once I learned to identify this behavior, and the habits associated with it, I have done a much better job of staying the course, and not self-sabotaging. This is still very much a work in progress, but I can point to several times where I have reached the intended end goal.
For example, I finally saw a relationship past just going on dates and sex and overnight stays to living together, engagement, and even a successful marriage. I decided, rather than wait for an agent to realize how excellent a writer I am, to self-publish my work, and continue writing and having edited more of it. I started with blogging once a week on a regular schedule, to twice and now thrice weekly.
Even with these achievements, I still do a great job of getting in my own way. For example, I wrote near the beginning of these posts I would start to get up in the morning and go to the gym before work. More often than not, I find or create excuses not to go, and so I am still dealing with weight issues and get frustrated by my inability to get into better shape. I expressed my desire to work more on writing and editing at night after work, yet I am constantly allowing the internet and TV to distract me.
These are, as mentioned last week, in part the result of bad habits. These poor habits, I am beginning to recognize, harken back to my talent for self-sabotage. Recognizing this, I have my work cut out for me.
What am I getting at? I can see now that I need to give more of my attention to my excuses and bad habits, and put some real effort into restructuring them into good habits. I did not realize before that they were a part of my fears, but now that I can see them for that, I can see that I can change them as a part of overcoming my fears overall.
Fear is a terrible tool. It gets used against us so frequently by people outside of ourselves, it should be no surprise for me to see that I turn around and allow myself to use it against myself. I may be my own worst enemy sometimes, but conversely I am able to be my best friend. I can work with that.
Next week will serve as a reset for me. I am taking a trip, and it is to a large degree a trip into the unknown. I am travelling somewhere new to me, with a friend whom I’ve never taken such a long trek with. I am going to be stepping outside of my comfort zone in ways I have not done in many years, but while for a time I was feeling fearful and uncertain of this choice, I have become excited for the adventure forthcoming.
After I return from my trip, I have an opportunity, rather than falling into my regular habits, to really strive to begin new ones. I have a chance to face my tendency to self-sabotage head-on, and to truly work to cross all these bridges between where I am now and the life I most desire to have.
Will I use this opportunity to my advantage, or continue to allow my bad habits to dominate? That is the question before me. I alone can answer it.
Thanks for continuing to read my ramblings. You may not know it, but I thoroughly appreciate having you out there, reading along. As always, thank you for crossing the bridges between my worlds with me!
GOAL LOG – Week 10:
Diet: I am still being mindful about what and how much I am eating.
Exercise: One day of fencing, one day going up and down a LOT of stairs.
Writing: The three blogs got written.
Gratitude: I wrote out 5 things two days last week.
This is the twenty-fourth entry of my personal journey, the Crossing the Bridges series. My collectively published writing can be found here.