Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy—and we’re not even aware of it. Brittney Moses, a Los Angeles-based writer and content creator with a degree in psychology and research from UCLA, is passionate about the intersection between faith, mental health, and wellness. Her popular blog advocates for wholehearted mental wellness for everyday living. Brittney shared with us some of her insights about self-sabotage and how it prevents us from getting good rest and living our best life in God.
Self-Sabotage #1: Overthinking every situation
The truth is that it’s going to be difficult to experience the fullness of joy without allowing yourself to be vulnerable to the present. The obsession that births from overthinking is a deep fear of loss of control and a vain attempt at trying to gain it back. That could be the social anxiety that is overly concerned about what people will think of you, the testing of a relationship, or stepping into a life change where you cannot 100% know the outcome. You think that if you replay it often enough or think about it long and hard enough you’ll somehow breakthrough to gain control over the things you humanly can’t control.
Our real issue is the inability to live with the unknown and the need to have all the answers. That isn’t a realistic expectation in this life. In these cases, we need to practice creating better thought boundaries of knowing when we’ve done all we can do and when it’s time to let go. And once you’ve given it to God, do not take it back. You trust him, you take each day at a time to make the most of the present, and you trust that no matter what the outcome, you have the ability to readjust, bounce back, and keep going forward as you have time and time again with previous trials in your life.
Self-Sabotage #2: Drawing conclusions too quickly
What often results from overthinking is creating a conclusion in your mind of how things are going to turn out. Most of these conclusions are shaped by our fears. And this sabotages any chances we may have had to experience the fullness of love, hope, or joy because making assumptions puts us in a premeditated state of mind. We are now going into the situation from a place of fear and disappointment. Think about the encounters you tend to enter from a premeditated state of mind.
You have to learn how to go into situations with an open mind and heart because many times the things we fear do not turn out the way we pictured in our head. But if you are already set in your head then you will begin to see and confirm things from your mentality and not as they genuinely are. This is called a confirmation bias. It will cut you off from experiencing the potential beauty of moments that only an open heart can see. That could be stepping out into meeting new friends, appreciating a good relationship, or just entering unpredictable situations with eyes of opportunity. And you can maintain this all while remaining realistic about it. Again, that is by trusting that if it doesn’t go the way you hoped, with God as your strength, you have the ability to adjust and move forward as needed.
Self-Sabotage #3: Codependency and the inability to separate your emotions from others
One of the biggest ways we self-sabotage our own joy is by too easily becoming enmeshed in others and letting them influence our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. This is the epitome of co-dependency. It is the inability to separate yourself from another person as an individual and draw boundaries between who they are and who you are.
You are responsible for yourself and they are responsible for themselves. You do not have to give yourself away to everyone in reaction. You do not have to transform into a negative person just because someone else does. Don’t keep giving other people the power over who you will be. Practice identifying yourself as an individual and owning your own attitude and behavior. You choose hope. You choose joy. You choose to be a person of character. You choose to keep going even if no one else around you is. This is not weakness—this is leadership.
Self-Sabotage #4: Perfectionism and never allowing yourself to be enough
Lastly, I touch on this from a personal place. The line between being satisfied with who you are and what you have done is a blurred one. If you live with the syndrome of feeling like you are never enough, then achievement and potential are a moving target. From this, you cannot find joy with yourself or embrace the beauty of what God is trying to do through you because you have an imbalanced perspective that continues to see things from a deficit. You need to raise your thinking and fill the empty glass a bit. Not too full or pouring with vain, false confidence, but just enough to get a positively humble outlook on life and yourself.
You are a work in progress that is constantly becoming. There will always be a way to do better and be better. That is the human experience. At some point, at the end of the day, you have to let it all be enough and have the courage to say, “I will try again tomorrow” Let that too be enough. From there we can take a deep breath and marvel at the gems of good that come from each day and pray that the seeds we’ve sown will reap a harvest over time by the anointing touch of God’s Spirit. That is all we can do.
Well said, Brittney. This week, may we all trust in him a little deeper, choose more joy, and marvel in God’s goodness.
To help you get started, listen to the 2-minute version of this Abide daily meditation narrated by Brittney Moses focusing on Matthew 28:17 and how to overcome doubt.
For more content with Brittney, be sure to download the Abide app. Along with our library of 2,000+ meditations, we have more than 300 biblical sleep stories to help you get the rest you need. Use this link to receive 25% off our premium subscription.