Self-Sabotage can be Healthy

March 15, 2005

Umm.. yes, while it’s true that it’s good to love yourself and if you don’t you might self-sabotage (see last post,) self sabotage can also be healthy! I forgot about that until today when I was listening to a CD of my old NLP instructor Nick Le Force. He reminded me that if you try and make a change that does not meet the needs of all parts of yourself, you might self-sabotage. You’ve got to consider ECOLOGY! Resistance may be an important signal to you that there are other important factors you need to consider as you create your goal.

Here is some web-based advice to deal with self-sabotage. John David Hoag writes about ecology issues that come up when creating goals:

“What do you want?” isn’t always easy to answer. We may have conflicting thoughts or feelings about it. We might welcome help to resolve an important issue. But beneath our desire for help we might not be entirely sure we want the issue resolved. It might be a sort of “inner secret” for us, even to ourselves. This is called an “ecology issue” in NLP. Unlike traditional therapy which calls it “resistance,” NLP doesn’t minimize or pathologize it. In NLP we understand that it is precisely those ecology issues that are the keys to unlocking new realms of potential. Before any change can take place — and reaching a goal is a change — resolving a problem is a change — the ecology must be attended to. Otherwise, we’ll be going nowhere fast on the road to our desired outcome. Our ecology issues can stop us — because they’re so important.

So, how do we figure out what those conflicting thoughts/feelings/needs are? Laura Moncur at Starling Fitness recommends writing it out, so does Sraightforward Coaching:

If you find yourself struggling to manifest a goal you have set yourself, try this exercise* to discover the hidden fears, beliefs and values that might be holding you back: write down all the reasons why you DON’T want that goal in your life. Let your darkest thoughts surrounding your goal reveal themselves on paper and keep writing until you can’t come up with any more. These are some of the fears, beliefs and consequences surrounding your goal or decision and they might include the one(s) that are holding you back. Once they are all out in the open, you may find some issues you need to work through before you are ready to achieve your target. Reframing or redefining your goal to address the conflicting value or belief could also work to integrate the goal with your personal ecology.

After asking yourself some good questions, NLP Weekly recommends giving yourself time:

Let the questions sink in.
Write them in your journal (you do have a journal, right?).
Read them before bed time and wait for answers.
You’ll get dreams, songs, words, flashes, memories, voices… don’t ignore them. It’s important to notice, note and acknowledge. Your brain doesn’t like keeping riddles unsolved.
Asking good questions and giving it time to find the answers with no pressure, is one the greatest talents you can develop.

Reading and thinking about ecology reminded me, once again, how important it is to treat myself kindly. If part of me is protesting, (which shows up in my weight loss goals as eating fattening food I don’t even want,) then instead of dragging those protesting parts of myself kicking and screaming, I can attend to myself, (listen!) and do my best to meet all my needs, address my concerns, and calm my fears. As you know, those protesting parts are hard to ignore. You might as well turn to them and say, “So, what do you want, anyway?”

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