Self-Soothing Becomes Self Sabotage
Written by: Mary Beth Schrudder, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
We all lie to ourselves. Yes, even YOU. If it feels better, you may refer to it as “blind spots”, “denial”, or “excuses”, but at the end of the day, they are still lies. I have yet to meet a person who has reached the embodiment of self-awareness to the extent that they have perfect daily habits with no room for improvement. Have you?
As a Life Coach who has also battled addictions in my personal life, I have heard every excuse imaginable (including the ones I used to tell myself) to justify self-destructive behaviors.
We all have addictions, whether food, alcohol, drugs, smoking, sex, gambling, work addiction, or even our cell phones. In other words, we all have something that we turn to when we are seeking relief and desire to escape our current reality. So, you don’t partake in anything on the previous list mentioned? What about Netflix, video games, or social media?
Are you addicted to staying up too late, only to wreck your next day? I know, I know. I used to claim that I was a night owl instead of facing the truth; that my lack of sleep was affecting my body and mind in extremely negative ways.
I happen to know people who are addicted to worrying. That’s right. Some view worrying as a way of showing their care and love for one another. They even worry about what will happen if they stop worrying. Some of us are even addicted to relationships or obsessed with a specific person.
The reality is that most addictions stem from our childhood and tend to run in families. Sure, it could be genetic, a literal biological gene. We also should look closely at the emotional patterns and conditioned behavior passed down through families, generation after generation. Much of the addictive personality type is programming learned through watching our parents cope with their own stress when we were children.
Childhood trauma, such as physical or emotional abuse, plays a huge role because people are simply attempting to numb the memories and residual pain. Drinking alcohol, for example, is a quick fix when you are feeling socially anxious. Maybe the social anxiety began from emotional and verbal abuse as a child, which led to a general lack of self-worth. Alcohol feels like instant relief. It quickly provides a sense of confidence and inhibitions immediately vanish. It seems like a great way to soothe yourself at the end of the day. After all, it is called “HAPPY Hour” and who doesn’t want to feel happy?
Don’t get me wrong, pampering yourself is essential! I am the first person to tell clients to take time to relax, take breaks, meditate, spend time in nature, and ensure a balance between work and play. There is also nothing wrong with self-indulgence on occasion. You are allowed to treat yourself! Allowing yourself to indulge now and then may even set you up to make better long-term choices when it comes to self-care. This article is about discernment, not deprivation.
The line between self-soothing and self-sabotage can be thin, so it comes down to being honest with yourself. The distinction tends to be subtle, so ask yourself some questions to determine your intentions. Awareness is key! Slow down before deciding to numb out. For example, ask yourself, “Does my body truly need this break, or am I making an excuse to avoid going to the class at the gym that I promised myself I would attend today?”
Sometimes, we are putting off a task we had previously planned because we truly need to take time for self-care. Other times, we are attempting to let ourselves off the hook because we are slipping back into our comfort zone, or simply being lazy.
You will have to determine your true intention. No one else can do this for you. No one is going to force you into self-improvement. No one is coming to rescue you from a life of mediocracy. It is your job to be your own hero. You may need to hire a coach or personal trainer to hold you accountable in the beginning. Maybe you need to listen to motivational speakers or read about people who inspire you. Do whatever it takes to ignite your spark and get back on the well-being, personal growth, and development track.
Before you have that first alcoholic beverage, turn on that binge-worthy Netflix show, or start scrolling through social media for the 4th time today, ask yourself what you are trying to avoid or escape. If your behavior does not enhance your well-being or if it may cause suffering the next day (such as lack of sleep or a hangover), you know that you have crossed the line of self-soothing and are now in self-sabotage mode.
Get in the habit of slowing down, witnessing your behavior, and honestly asking yourself, “Will my future self thank me, or will my future self suffer if I take this action now?” Clarity and discernment are integral to smashing excuses and revealing the lies we tell ourselves. Best of luck to you on your self-care journey!
Mary Beth Schrudder, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
After experiencing a transformational "quantum awakening" at the young age of 18, Mary Beth Schrudder spent the next 3 decades gaining knowledge and seeking truth through the lenses of spirituality, quantum physics, psychology, and the universal law of attraction. Her personal battle with alcohol addiction as well as experiencing divorce, career loss, and grief over the loss of loved ones inspired her to help others overcome the inevitable challenges and suffering that we all face in life using the unique transformational techniques that worked for her. Mary Beth started her own coaching practice, Day One Life Coaching, with the intention of teaching others these life-changing skills. Mary Beth Schrudder is also the author of Addiction Recovery with the Law of Attraction ‒ A Deck of 44 Cards. Her mission is to guide and empower people to move out of their comfort zones, stop numbing themselves through addictive behaviours, and finally create the life of their dreams.