They weren’t laughing.

The Conundrum…

Well, it happened again. I planned something, people said they were coming… but life got in the way and they couldn’t. (Insert heavy sigh here.) No, the sigh isn’t about people’s schedules, it’s the anticipation of entering into an inner dialogue centered on the theme of, “Is it even worth it?” “Why do I continue try to find meaning?” “When is enough, enough?”

What is something you’ve tried to make happen when all the markers said, “Give it up already?” Have you been in the place I sometimes find myself; just waiting for someone to say, “Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s not going to happen!” (Only a die-hard Mean Girls fan will get that reference.) So, what’s your “fetch?”

How fitting is it that a part of what I planned was to help women look at the ways in which we self-sabotage? After spending some time looking at ways to connect our talents and gifts to our passion, the plan was to facilitate a conversation about how we can become our greatest obstacle to success. Whether it’s keeping our New Year’s resolutions or charging the right price for our services… we are usually our greatest saboteur.

The Context…

My days are now spent caring for my granddaughter… Let me rephrase that; I’ve been given the opportunity to spend my days pouring who I am and what I’ve learned into someone I love and want to see grow into who she is always becoming. During Aevrie’s naptimes, I sit at my daughter’s desk and “work.” That work usually centers on creating something that is useful, you know… my version of blooming where I’m planted.

On Candace’s desk, there is the framed saying:Option A: Quit everything. Option B: Continue in my pattern of perpetual stress and anxiety. Option C: Breathe. Go to brunch. Get some stuff done. Take it as it comes.”

While my Option C of choice may be to take a nap or be in nature, I would have to admit, depending on the task or upsetting event, I have chosen all three options at one time or another. And yes, napping too can be a form of self-sabotage if it’s more of an escape rather than rest or refueling.

Self-sabotage can begin as an innocent way of dealing with failure, but if we aren’t careful, our self-talk can become a debilitating habit that can taint every attempt at success or change. One of the first things to do to combat self-sabotage is to recognize it when it occurs… and stop it. Once you recognize the patterns, you will have a more direct path to the root cause of the self-talk and sabotage. For almost 30 years, I wouldn’t lead a song because I thought people laughed at me when I led a song at nine years old. They weren’t. They were smiling… but they weren’t laughing at me. I was nine, ok?

What are the ways in which you talk yourself out of something? Is it in the arena of relationships, career, or causes that you find yourself weaving in and out of what you were once sure was your lane? Have there been times you convinced yourself that you were being laughed at and ridiculed? Has the need for approval caused you to disapprove your own dreams and desires? I can ask these questions because I’ve lived the answers.

Self-sabotage is not just some made up way out of doing something new. No, there is usually truth in much of what we tell ourselves. There is history that supports the desire to abort the mission and call it quits. It didn’t work the last time. Yes, there was betrayal… abuse… and failure in the past. One thing I’ve learned is, not only does misery love company, so does The Past.

Just like an old ex who mistreated you then wants you back when they see you succeed at moving on… so too will The Past remind us of what went wrong the last time. Better than that, sometimes The Past will only recap how safe and happy we were when we camped out in our comfort zone. While The Past is always there, it is up to us to cherish The Present as we anticipate The Future.

The Conclusion…

Consistency… There are very few “overnight successes.” Most people who have become experts in their fields or are enjoying some level of success will tell you that they worked long and hard at what they created. Like us, they too have visited and revisited the “drawing board” multiple times before someone took notice of their craft and creativity.

To be clear, the goal isn’t to outdo the next person. There is enough to go around… enough resources… enough ideal clients… enough creativity and ingenuity… so that we all can offer others our authentic self. In order to assist others to be their best, we have to insist on combatting any negative thoughts and behaviors that try to take us to a dead end called giving up.

Keep trying… I believe that somewhere there is a place for fetch!

Featured image by Ian Kiragu on Unsplash

Candace Alike Smith is a Las Vegas-based content creator, womb warrior, and matcha enthusiast. Candace founded this site in 2015 to help women of color reclaim their vitality. Follow Candace’s content on holistic beauty, mental wellness, herbs and essential oils, non-toxic products, healthy libations, wellness travel, and self-reflection. Green is her happy color.

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