Three Ways to Stop Sabotaging Personal Happiness
Three toxic habits that ruin inner peace, steal joy and hijack success—and how to transform them
No matter how much we get done in a day, there always seems to be more to do. No matter how successful we are, there’s always someone that seems to be achieving more than us. Often, instead of feeling happy and celebrating our accomplishments, we feel more pressure and anxiety to get further ahead.
Most women today give an extraordinary amount of their time, energy and care to everything and everyone else—their jobs, kids, families, communities, friends and projects. With all this giving and achieving, we’d think most women would be extraordinarily happy and fulfilled, but the shocking fact is that women today are less happy than women in the 1970s that had less opportunity, less freedom and fewer choices. When we feel stress and pressure, are harder on ourselves than anyone else could ever be or feel like we can never do enough or measure up, we are experiencing something called “self-bullying”.
Self-bullying occurs when we push ourselves to do things that are not in our best interest, and also when we criticize ourselves with harsh judgments. As a result, we sabotage our happiness, success and well-being. Sound familiar? As it turns out, all women bully themselves, we just don’t talk about it. Self-bullying starts as young as age 6 in children. Left unchecked, a girl will grow up and continue to make choices throughout her adult life concerning her relationships, career and health that don’t make her happy.
How do we stop bullying ourselves and start supporting ourselves to make the choices that actually lead to our happiness and health? How do we start modeling self-love for our children? We start by changing our habits from self-sabotaging to self-loving.
Here are three common self-sabotaging habits of women. Notice which are true for you and then use the self-love antidote in your daily life and notice how your happiness rises.
#1 Self-Sabotaging Habit: Comparison.
Your mind is going crazy comparing you to another person who is more successful, farther along or more together than you, making you feel inferior. It’s like you have an inner Comparison Queen inside your head, measuring your success against another person, making you feel like you are not measuring up.
Self-Love Antidote: Inspiration.
Ask yourself, “What about this person do I admire or wish was true about me?” What you admire about someone else is also present inside of you. When you compare yourself, what’s happening is a part of you that wants to be expressed is trying to get your attention. To break the negative self-talk, reach out to the person you are comparing yourself to and tell them how they inspire you. Then explore how you want to start expressing this part of yourself more.
#2 Self-Sabotaging Habit: Over-giving.
Because you have a lot going on in your life taking care of everything and everyone else, you are usually operating at full capacity. But then someone asks you if you can help out. Honestly, you want to say, “No, I don’t have the space.” You can feel that taking anything more on will overload you. But as if there is an inner Good Girl inside your head, saying, “You have to say yes, or they won’t like you … they need your help,” you say, “Yes I can,” and immediately you know you have just sold yourself out and sacrificed your happiness. You are an over-giver.
Self-Love Antidote: Just say no and trust the universe will handle it.
In the moments when you are asked to help or do more and you know your truth is that you don’t have space, take a few deep breaths, remind yourself that your plate is full and that the universe will find someone who has room on their plate. Then respond, without guilt or explanation, “I’d like to, but I can’t right now.”
#3 Self-Sabotaging Habit: Trying to do too much in one day.
You’ve just started your day and you already have 20 things to accomplish, and deep down, you know it’s humanly impossible to get them all done. But your inner Doing Addict has convinced you that you can get through the list. So you work like an Energizer Bunny gone mad all day, and come at 8 p.m., but you’ve not accomplished half of what you set out to do. You were set up to fail, and now you feel like a failure.
Self-Love Antidote: Just do enough each day.
When you feel yourself moving into overdrive to get it all done, stop, and ask yourself, “What would enough look like? What three things could I do that would be enough?” Imagine moving the rest to another day. With only those three things on your mind, you’ll guaranteed to get more done and find time to have a life, too.
After working with more than 30,000 women and girls around the world through their Inner Mean Girl Reform School programs, Christine Arylo and Amy Ahlers have identified 13 types of inner bullies specific to women. They call these “Inner Mean Girls,” including the Doing Addict, Comparison Queen and Good Girl. To find out which Inner Mean Girl is sabotaging you, take the free and fun quiz at InnerMeanGirlQuiz.com, which will give a full report ranking all 13 types and provide specific tools you can use to deactivate these inner forces when they try to sabotage you.