Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy

One in a Million

You are who you are for a reason. You are a collection of genetics, dispositions, personality, experiences, fears, joys, and more. All of these things make up the secret sauce that makes you 1 in a million.

That being said, our experience in life isn’t always perfect. Sometimes its the people around us or a hard situation but sometimes it’s just, well… us. We can sometimes make our situation much worse than we need to. That’s because sometimes we are our own worst enemies. It’s those things that make you your incredible unique self that can also make you your difficult and destructive self. When this goes on for a while unchecked, we can unknowingly self-sabotage everything from relationships to jobs, to just about anything.

Digging In

What if we could do some work to find out what makes us tick and why we do what we do to help stop this? I’m sure we all would like to be a better version of ourselves. Sometimes it’s not much harder than asking a few pointed questions but sometimes it takes a little more time and effort.

In an effort to help start the conversation, I have written down just a few examples below. These are some extreme examples of the way in which we can respond to life, people, or circumstances on any given day. Obviously, these examples are more generic than specific to you but I think they might be a helpful start. So, go ahead and read them and see which ones sound a bit like you. You might just find out how you are your own worst enemy.

The Warning

Before you go on I want you to do a couple of things. When you read an example that sounds like you I want you to: 1)Not be offended 2)Not be Ashamed 3)Ask why.

We are all wired differently and we all bend to one extreme or the other. That is what is listed below – extremes. Sometimes we will stay in that zone for a brief moment and sometimes it can be a long extended period of time. This can depend on a lot of different factors in life. The important thing though is to be self-aware and work toward understanding why.

At the end of the list, I have supplied 4 questions I want you to answer when you find an example that sounds more like you. I will direct you more at the end on what to do with it.

You are too rigid/lax.

Everything is black and white. Right or wrong. There are few things, if anything, that are in the “grey” area of life and that is only because I haven’t figured out the right answer yet. People who don’t live this way I think are scared to be wrong.

Everything is…everything! Whatever is good for you is good and whatever is good for me is good too. Most of life should be lived in the “grey” area but most people are too uptight about everything to do that. I think it scares them.

You assume the best/worst of everything.

Did you know that things could go terribly wrong if I don’t walk through each of them in my mind first? We all should be planning in case the worst case scenario happens so we can be ready. It makes me feel very uneasy if people disregard the seriousness of potential problems we could face. I think people who don’t so this are scared to face reality.

Everything usually goes without a hitch and it’s a waste of time to focus on what could go wrong. I like to plan… plan on having a good time! I get really bogged down by people who spend their time focused on what is going wrong and not what is going right. I think they are scared of everything and that’s no way to live.

You trust no one/everyone.

Everyone has an ulterior motive. You just need to dig down deeper to figure it out. For me, people need to pass a bunch of internal checks that I put everyone through to determine their trustworthiness. Even then, I figure they will still wind up showing their true colors in the end. I think people are scared to know the real person so they just distract themselves.

People deserve to be trusted and are genuinely are good if you dig down deep. People mess up but who doesn’t. When people tell me something I generally believe it because people have no reason to lie to me. Even if they do lie, shouldn’t people be given another chance anyway? I think people are sometimes scared to be vulnerable so they close up.

You care too little/much about what people think about you.

I don’t really care too much about what people think about me. Whether they like me or not – I am good. Feedback is fine for some people but I have never found it particularly helpful, to be honest. I will let you know how I feel about how you are doing if you want though. People are very insecure in who they are.

I knew I shouldn’t have done that. I wonder what they are thinking about me? I thrive on what people say about me because it helps me know what I need to do to change. I live for feedback and am always asking if I did well – probably too much. If some people are talking sometimes I wonder if they are talking about me. People are sometimes blind to their faults and are scared to know what they may need to work on.

You commit to everything/nothing.

You are either all in or all out – there is no in between. People who can’t commit to something lack discipline or just don’t have the willpower. Everything can be overcome and I will let you know in some way when I feel you are not giving it your all. So pick what you want, put your head down,  and go after it. I think people are scared to fail so they never commit.

I think there is a lot of great things to do in life and there is no reason to have to pick and choose one. I like to keep my options open because you never know when something else either better or cooler might come along. If I committed to one thing then I might lose that opportunity! Scan the horizon and pick a few you might like to try but always keep your eyes open to see what’s coming next. I think people are scared to try a new thing and only try what they think they can do well at. Be free to fail and learn from it!

Now The Questions

Heres is the self-work part that you can not skip. When you work through these questions I would suggest doing it like this. First, in order to be as honest as you can with yourself, you need to listen to the voice that comes up immediately after you ask yourself the question. Don’t dismiss it right off  or rationalize it, just let it be and move to question #2.

If you get to the end of a question and you feel you can’t go further, go back to question #1 and ask yourself this question again about the feeling or thought you are stuck on.

Finally, when you get to the end of the questions and feel you have nailed down a root fear/ anxiety, act on question #4. Allow yourself grace in the process. Bring in some accountability from a trusted friend, family member, or spouse. If you start to doubt the result, take it back to the four questions and run it through to see what comes out.

  1. Why do I act/feel this way and what would happen if I choose to act/think differently?
  2. What fear/anxiety am I feeling right now at the thought of change?
  3. Is my fear realistic or more likely an extreme?
  4. Can I safely test this fear out?

 

Greg Smith

Blogging about faith, life, church, and everything in between.

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