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Going to read this book, posting my review soon.
19 December 2021 (21:17)
THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT SELF-SABOTAGE.
Why we do it, when we do it, and how to stop doing it-for good.
Coexisting but conflicting needs create self-sabotaging behaviors. This is why we resist efforts to change, often until they feel completely futile. But by extracting crucial insight from our most damaging habits, building emotional intelligence by better understanding our brains and bodies, releasing past experiences at a cellular level, and learning to act as our highest potential future selves, we can step out of our own way and into our potential.
For centuries, the mountain has been used as a metaphor for the big challenges we face, especially ones that seem impossible to overcome. To scale our mountains, we actually have to do the deep internal work of excavating trauma, building resilience, and adjusting how we show up for the climb.
In the end, it is not the mountain we master, but ourselves.
Why we do it, when we do it, and how to stop doing it-for good.
Coexisting but conflicting needs create self-sabotaging behaviors. This is why we resist efforts to change, often until they feel completely futile. But by extracting crucial insight from our most damaging habits, building emotional intelligence by better understanding our brains and bodies, releasing past experiences at a cellular level, and learning to act as our highest potential future selves, we can step out of our own way and into our potential.
For centuries, the mountain has been used as a metaphor for the big challenges we face, especially ones that seem impossible to overcome. To scale our mountains, we actually have to do the deep internal work of excavating trauma, building resilience, and adjusting how we show up for the climb.
In the end, it is not the mountain we master, but ourselves.
24 January 2022 (03:44)
can't wait to read this book!
28 March 2022 (03:46)
Amazing and magical library:)I have read almost everything by Brianna Wiest and it feels like every book speaking to you:)It will be great if you also add Ceremony, want to read it veryyyyy much, please????
04 April 2022 (20:08)
It's an open eyes book
It's an open eyes book
12 June 2022 (16:01)
gonna read this cuz I ALWAYS see this on my fyp
24 July 2022 (00:06)
I was not really into the first part of the book but the second part called to me way more, an interesting read!
24 July 2022 (22:30)
Is it worth the read?
30 August 2022 (12:58)
THE MOUNTAIN IS YOU TR ANSFORMING SELF-S ABOTAG E INTO SELF-MASTERY BRIANNA WIEST THOUGHTCATALOG.COM NEW YORK • LOS ANGELES Copyright © 2020 Brianna Wiest. All rights reserved. Published by Thought Catalog Books, an imprint of the digital magazine Thought Catalog, which is owned and operated by The Thought & Expression Company LLC, an independent media organization based in Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles, California. This book was produced by Chris Lavergne and Noelle Beams and designed by KJ Parish. Visit us on the web at thoughtcatalog.com and shopcatalog.com. Made in the United States of America. ISBN 978-1-949759-22-8 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 “Brianna’s book is a beautiful expression of healing. Her insights on self-sabotage, emotional intelligence, and deep transformation are invaluable. She understands that change begins with self, and her book is a gift to the collective.” — D R . N I C O L E L E P E R A , “The Holistic Psychologist” “I’m of the belief that in fulfilling our deepest potential, the greatest rewards come less from outcomes and more from who we must become in order to achieve what we know we are truly capable of. In this beautifully written and eye-opening book, Brianna Wiest inspires us to scale our own mountains with powerful insights to help prepare you for the climb ahead. A must-read for those ready to do the inner work required to live a life of fulfillment, wonder, and enjoyment!” — S I M O N A L E X A N D E R O N G , International Life Coach & Business Strategist “The Mountain Is You is a wake-up call that inspires hope in adversity. You’re invited to burn the rules of what you’ve been taught about yourself, as you awaken your inner hero and consciously choose a new narrative, and ultimately, create a life you deeply desire and deserve. Brianna provides an alchemy of pragmatic tools and deep soul shifts to build the courage and clarity required to climb your own personal mountain—and essentially, remember who you came here to be. The ultimate seeker’s guide ; for those brave enough to face their true north and take their power back.” — J E N N A B L A C K , International Coach 4 BRIANNA WIEST “Brianna Wiest is one of my favorite writers. She combines life-changing wisdom with a unique eloquence that inspires readers to reclaim their power and change their lives for the better. The Mountain Is You is bound to help many people.” — Y U N G P U E B L O , Best-Selling Author of “Inward” “A revelation. The words wrote struck me so deep inside, there were several moments that I had to pause from reading because my eyes filled with tears of realization and confirmation.” — D A W N Z U L U E T A , Film-Television Actress, Host & Model “Brianna Wiest’s masterpiece is the perfect roadmap for understanding why we self-sabotage, when we do it, and how to stop doing it—for good.” — D R . S T E V E N E I S E N B E R G , Wellbeing & Connection Expert, Renowned Internist & Oncologist T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U INTRODUCTION M U C H L I K E N A T U R E , life is very often working in our favor, even when it seems like we are only being faced with adversity, discomfort, and change. As forest fires are essential to the ecology of the environment—opening new seeds that require heat to sprout and rebuild a population of trees—our minds also go through periodic episodes of positive disintegration, or a cleansing through which we release and renew our self-concept. We know that nature is most fertile and expansive at its perimeters, where climates meet, and we also transform when we reach our edge states, the points at which we are forced to step out of our comfort zones and regroup.1 When we can no longer rely on our coping mechanisms to help distract us from the problems in our lives, it can feel as though we’ve hit rock bottom. The reality is that this sort of awakening is what happens when we finally come to terms with the problems that have existed for a long time. The breakdown is often just the tipping point that precedes the breakthrough, the moment a star implodes before it becomes a supernova. 5 6 BRIANNA WIEST Just as a mountain is formed when two sections of the ground are forced against one another, your mountain will arise out of coexisting but conflicting needs. Your mountain requires you to reconcile two parts of you: the conscious and the unconscious, the part of you that is aware of what you want and the part of you that is not aware of why you are still holding yourself back. Historically, mountains have been used as metaphors for spiritual awakenings, journeys of personal growth, and of course, insurmountable challenges that seem impossible to overcome when we are standing at the bottom. Like so much of nature, mountains provide us with an inherent wisdom about what it will take to rise up to our highest potential. The objective of being human is to grow. We see this reflected back to us in every part of life. Species reproduce, DNA evolves to eliminate certain strands and develop new ones, and the edges of the universe are expanding forever outward. Likewise, our ability to feel the depth and beauty of life is capable of expanding forever inward if we are willing to take our problems and see them as catalysts. Forests need fire to do this, volcanoes need implosions, stars need collapse, and human beings often need to be faced with no other option but to change before they really do. To have a mountain in front of you does not mean you are fundamentally broken in some way. Everything in T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U nature is imperfect, and it is because of that imperfection that growth is possible. If everything existed in uniformity, the gravity that created the stars and planets and everything that we know would not exist. Without breaks, faults, and gaps, nothing could grow and nothing would become.2 The fact that you are imperfect is not a sign that you have failed; it is a sign that you are human, and more importantly, it is a sign that you still have more potential within you. Maybe you know what your mountain is. Maybe it’s addiction, weight, relationships, jobs, motivation, or money. Maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s a vague sense of anxiety, low self-esteem, fear, or a general discontentment that seems to bleed out onto everything else. The mountain is often less a challenge in front of us as it is a problem within us, an unstable foundation that might not seem evident on the surface but is nonetheless shifting almost every part of our lives. Usually when we have a problem that is circumstantial, we are facing the reality of life. When we have a problem that is chronic, we are facing the reality of ourselves. We often think that to face a mountain means to face life’s hardships, but the truth is that it is almost always because of the years we have spent accumulating tiny traumas, adaptations, and coping mechanisms, all of which have compounded over time. 7 8 BRIANNA WIEST Your mountain is the block between you and the life you want to live. Facing it is also the only path to your freedom and becoming. You are here because a trigger showed you to your wound, and your wound will show you to your path, and your path will show you to your destiny. When you arrive at this breaking point—the foot of the mountain, the heat of the fire, the night that finally wakes you—you are at the crux of the breakdown, and if you are willing to do the work, you will find that it is the entryway to the breakthrough you have spent your entire life waiting for. Your old self can no longer sustain the life you are trying to lead; it is time for reinvention and rebirth. You must release your old self into the fire of your vision and be willing to think in a way you have never even tried before. You must mourn the loss of your younger self, the person who has gotten you this far but who is no longer equipped to carry you onward. You must envision and become one with your future self, the hero of your life that is going to lead you from here. The task in front of you is silent, simple, and monumental. It is a feat most do not ever get to the point of attempting. You must now learn agility, resilience, and self-understanding. You must change completely, never to be the same again. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U The mountain that stands in front of you is the calling of your life, your purpose for being here, and your path finally made clear. One day, this mountain will be behind you, but who you become in the process of getting over it will stay with you always. In the end, it is not the mountain that you must master, but yourself. 9 T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U CHAPTER 1 T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U THERE IS NOTHING HOLDING yourself. you back in life more than If there is an ongoing gap between where you are and where you want to be—and your efforts to close it are consistently met with your own resistance, pain, and discomfort—self-sabotage is almost always at work. On the surface, self-sabotage seems masochistic. It appears to be a product of self-hatred, low confidence, or a lack of willpower. In reality, self-sabotage is simply the presence of an unconscious need that is being fulfilled by the self-sabotaging behavior. To overcome this, we must go through a process of deep psychological excavation. We must pinpoint the traumatic event, release unprocessed emotions, find healthier ways to meet our needs, reinvent our self-image, and develop principles such as emotional intelligence and resilience. It is no small task, and yet it is the work that all of us must do at one point or another. 11 12 BRIANNA WIEST S E L F-S A B O TA G E I S N O T A LWAY S O B V I O U S AT T H E O N S E T When Carl Jung was a child, he fell on the ground in school and hit his head. When he got hurt, he thought to himself: “Yes, maybe I won’t have to go back to school now.”3 Though he is known today for his insightful body of work, he actually didn’t like school or fit in well with his peers. Shortly after his accident, Jung began experiencing sporadic and uncontrollable fainting spells. He unconsciously developed what he would call a “neurosis” and ultimately came to realize that all neuroses are “substitute[s] for legitimate suffering.” In Jung’s case, he made an unconscious association between fainting and getting out of school. He came to believe that the fainting spells were a manifestation of his unconscious desire to get out of class, where he felt uncomfortable and unhappy. Likewise, for many people, their fears and attachments are very often just symptoms of deeper issues for which they do not have any better way to cope. S E L F-S A B OTA G E I S A COPING MECHANISM Self-sabotage is what happens when we refuse to consciously meet our innermost needs, often because we do not believe we are capable of handling them. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U Sometimes, we sabotage our relationships because what we really want is to find ourselves, though we are afraid to be alone. Sometimes, we sabotage our professional success because what we really want is to create art, even if it will make us seem less ambitious by society’s measures. Sometimes, we sabotage our healing journey by psychoanalyzing our feelings, because doing so ensures we avoid actually experiencing them. Sometimes, we sabotage our self-talk because if we believed in ourselves, we’d feel free to get back out in the world and take risks, and that would leave us vulnerable. In the end, self-sabotage is very often just a maladaptive coping mechanism, a way we give ourselves what we need without having to actually address what that need is. But like any coping mechanism, it is just that — a way to cope. It’s not an answer, it’s not a solution, and it does not ever truly solve the problem. We are merely numbing our desires, and giving ourselves a little taste of temporary relief. S E L F-S A B OTA G E C O M E S F R O M I R R AT I O N A L F E A R Sometimes, our most sabotaging behaviors are really the result of long-held and unexamined fears we have about the world and ourselves. Perhaps it is the idea that you are unintelligent, unattractive, or disliked. Perhaps it is the idea of losing a job, 13 14 BRIANNA WIEST taking an elevator, or committing to a relationship. In other cases, it can be more abstract, such as the concept of someone “coming to get” you, violating your boundaries, getting “caught,” or being wrongly accused. These beliefs become attachments over time. For most people, the abstract fear is really a representation of a legitimate fear. Because it would be too scary to actually dwell on the real fear, we project those feelings onto issues or circumstances that are less likely to occur. If the situation has an extremely low likelihood of becoming reality, it therefore becomes a “safe” thing to worry about, because subconsciously, we already know it isn’t going to happen. Therefore, we have an avenue to express our feelings without actually endangering ourselves. For example, if you are someone who is deeply afraid of being a passenger in a car, maybe your real fear is the loss of control or the idea that someone or something else is controlling your life. Perhaps the fear is of “moving forward,” and the moving car is simply a representation of that. If you were aware of the real issue, you could begin working to resolve it, perhaps by identifying the ways you are giving up your power or being too passive. However, if you aren’t aware of the real problem, you’ll continue to spend your time trying to convince yourself to not be triggered and anxious while riding in the car and find that it only gets worse. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U If you try to fix the problem on the surface, you will always come up against a wall. This is because you’re trying to rip off a Band-Aid before you have a strategy to heal the wound. S E L F-S A B OTA G E C O M E S F R O M U N CO N S C I O U S, N EG AT I V E A S S O C I AT I O N S Self-sabotage is also one of the first signs that your inner narrative is outdated, limiting, or simply incorrect. Your life is defined not only by what you think about it, but also what you think of yourself. Your self-concept is an idea that you have spent your whole life building. It was created by piecing together inputs and influences from those around you: what your parents believed, what your peers thought, what became self-evident through personal experience, and so on. Your self-image is difficult to adjust, because your brain’s confirmation bias works to affirm your preexisting beliefs about yourself. When we self-sabotage, it is often because we have a negative association between achieving the goal we aspire to and being the kind of person who has or does that thing. If your issue is that you want to be financially stable, and yet you keep ruining every effort you make to get there, you have to go back to your first concept of money. How 15 16 BRIANNA WIEST did your parents manage their finances? More importantly, what did they tell you about people who had it and people who didn’t? Many people who struggle financially will justify their place in life by disavowing money as a whole. They will say that all rich people are terrible. If you grew up with people who told you your entire life that people who have money are this way, guess what you’re going to resist having? Your anxiety around the issue that you’re self-sabotaging is usually a reflection of your limiting belief. Maybe you associate being healthy with being vulnerable, because you had a parent who was perfectly healthy when they suddenly fell ill. Maybe you aren’t writing your magnum opus because you don’t really want to write; you just want to be seen as “successful” because that will get you praise, which is typically what people revert to when they want acceptance but haven’t gotten it. Maybe you keep eating the wrong foods because they soothe you, but you haven’t stopped to ask what they have to keep soothing you from. Maybe you aren’t really a pessimist but don’t know how to connect with the people in your life other than by complaining to them. In order to reconcile this, you have to begin to challenge these preexisting ideas and then adopt new ones. You have to be able to recognize that not everybody with money is corrupt, not by a long shot. Even more T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U importantly, given that there are people who use their money in selfish ways, it is even more important that good people with great intentions are fearless in pursuit of acquiring this essential tool to create more time, opportunity, and wellness for themselves and others. You have to recognize that being healthy makes you less vulnerable, not more, and that criticism comes with creating anything for the public and isn’t a reason to not do it. You have to show yourself that there are many different ways to selfsoothe that are more effective than unhealthy food choices and that there are far better ways to connect with others than through negativity. Once you begin to really question and observe these preexisting beliefs, you begin to see how warped and illogical they were all along—not to mention distinctly holding you back from your ultimate potential. S E L F-S A B OTA G E C O M E S F R O M WH AT’S U N FA M I L I A R Human beings experience a natural resistance to the unknown, because it is essentially the ultimate loss of control. This is true even if what’s “unknown” is benevolent or even beneficial to us. Self-sabotage is very often the simple product of unfamiliarity, and it is because anything that is foreign, no matter how good, will also be uncomfortable until it is also 17 18 BRIANNA WIEST familiar. This often leads people to confuse the discomfort of the unknown with being “wrong” or “bad” or “ominous.” However, it is simply a matter of psychological adjustment. Gay Hendricks calls this your “upper limit,” or your tolerance for happiness.4 Everyone has a capacity for which they allow themselves to feel good. This is similar to what other psychologists refer to as a person’s “baseline,” or their set predisposition that they eventually revert back to, even if certain events or circumstances shift temporarily. Small shifts, compounded over time, can result in permanent baseline adjustments. However, they often don’t stick because we come up on our upper limits. The reason we don’t allow those shifts to become baselines is because as soon as our circumstances extend beyond the amount of happiness we’re accustomed to, we find ways both conscious and unconscious to bring ourselves back to a feeling we’re comfortable with. We are programmed to seek what we’ve known. Even though we think we’re after happiness, we’re actually trying to find whatever we’re most used to. S E L F-S A B OTA G E C O M E S FROM BELIEF SYSTEMS What you believe about your life is what you will make true about your life. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U That’s why it’s so crucial to be aware of these outdated narratives and have the courage to change them. Maybe you have gone through the majority of your life believing that a standard $50K per year salary at a decent company is the most you’ll ever be capable of. Maybe you’ve spent so many years telling yourself: “I am an anxious person,” you started to actually identify with it, adopting anxiety and fear into your belief system about who you fundamentally are. Maybe you were raised in a closed-minded social circle or an echo chamber. Maybe you did not know that you could question or arrive at new conclusions about politics or religion. Maybe you never thought you were someone who could have great style, feel content, or travel the world. In other cases, your limiting beliefs might come from wanting to keep yourself safe. Maybe that’s why you prefer the comfort of what you’ve known to the vulnerability of what you don’t, why you prefer apathy to excitement, think that suffering makes you more worthy, or believe that for every good thing in life, there must also be an accompanying “bad.” To truly heal, you are going to have to change the way you think. You are going to have to become very conscious of negative and false beliefs and start shifting to a mindset that actually serves you. 19 20 BRIANNA WIEST HOW TO GET OUT OF DENIAL Maybe this preliminary information about self-sabotage resonates a bit, or maybe it resonates a lot. Either way, if you are here because you truly want to change your life, you are going to have to stop being in denial about your personal state of affairs. You are going to have to get real with yourself. You are going to have to decide that you love yourself too much to stop settling for less than what you really deserve. If you think that you could be doing better in life, you might be right. If you think that there is more that you are here to accomplish, you might be right. If you think that you are not being your authentic self, you might be right. It does not serve us to use endless affirmations to placate our true feelings about where we are in our journey. When we do this, we start dissociating and get stuck. In an effort to “love ourselves,” we try to validate everything about who we are. Yet those warm sentiments never quite seem to stick, only ever temporarily numbing the discomfort. Why don’t they work? Because deep down, we know we are not quite being who we T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U want to be, and until we accept this, we are never going to find peace. When we are in denial, we tend to go into “blame” mode. We look for anyone or anything to explain why we are the way we are. Then we start justifying. If you have to constantly—on a near daily basis—rationalize why you’re unhappy about your life, you are not doing yourself any favors. You are not getting any closer to creating the lasting change that you so deeply desire. The first step in healing anything is taking full accountability. It is no longer being in denial about the honest truth of your life and yourself. It does not matter what your life looks like on the outside; it is how you feel about it on the inside. It is not okay to be constantly stressed, panicked, and unhappy. Something is wrong, and the longer you try to “love yourself ” out of realizing this, the longer you are going to suffer. The greatest act of self-love is to no longer accept a life you are unhappy with. It is to be able to state the problem plainly and in a straightforward manner. That is precisely what you need to do to continue truly uprooting your life and transforming it. It is the first step towards real change. 21 22 BRIANNA WIEST Take a piece of paper and a pen, and write down everything you aren’t happy with. Write down, very specifically, every single problem you face. If you are struggling with finances, you need a very clear picture of what’s wrong. Write down every debt, every bill, every asset, and every bit of income. If you are struggling with self-image, write down exactly what you dislike about yourself. If it is anxiety, write down everything that bothers or upsets you. You must first and foremost get out of denial and into clarity about what’s really wrong. At this point, you have a choice: You can make peace, or you can commit to changing. The lingering is what is keeping you stuck. T H E PAT H B EG I N S R I G H T WHERE YOU ARE NOW If you know that change needs to be made in your life, it is okay if you are far away from your goal or if you cannot yet conceive how you will arrive. It is okay if you are starting at the beginning. It is okay if you are at rock bottom and cannot yet see your way through. It is okay if you are at the foot of your mountain and have failed every time you’ve tried to overcome it. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U Rock bottom is very often where we begin on our healing journey. This is not because we suddenly see the light, not because our worst days are magically transmuted into some type of epiphany, and not because someone saves us from our own madness. Rock bottom becomes a turning point because it is only at that point that most people think: I never want to feel this way again. That thought is not just an idea. It is a declaration and a resolution. It is one of the most life-changing things you can ever experience. It becomes the foundation upon which you build everything else. When you decide you truly do not ever want to feel a certain way again, you set out on a journey of self-awareness, learning, and growth that has you radically reinvent who you are. In that moment, fault becomes irrelevant. You’re no longer mulling over who did what or how you’ve been wronged. In that moment, only one thing guides you, and it is this: No matter what it takes, I will never accept my life getting to this point again. Rock bottom isn’t a bad day. It doesn’t happen by chance. We only arrive at rock bottom when our habits begin to compound upon one another, when our coping mechanisms have spiraled so out of control that we can no longer resist the feelings we were attempting to hide. Rock bottom is when we are finally faced with ourselves, when 23 24 BRIANNA WIEST everything has gone so wrong, we are left to realize that there is only one common denominator through it all. We must heal. We must change. We must choose to turn around so that we will never feel this way again. When we have a down day, we don’t think: I never want to feel this way again. Why? Because it is not fun, but it’s also not unbearable. Mostly, though, we are somewhat aware that small failures are a regular part of life; we are imperfect but trying our best, and that vague discomfort will pass eventually. We don’t reach a breaking point because one or two things go wrong. We reach a breaking point when we finally accept that the problem isn’t how the world is; it is how we are. This is a beautiful reckoning to have. Ayodeji Awosika describes his own like this: “You must find the purest, purest, purest form of being fed up. Make it hurt. I literally screamed, ‘I’m not going to fucking live like this anymore!’” Human beings are guided by comfort. They stay close to what feels familiar and reject what doesn’t, even if it’s objectively better for them. Be this as it is, most people do not actually change their lives until not changing becomes the less comfortable T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U option. This means that they do not actually embrace the difficulty of altering their habits until they simply do not have another choice. Staying where they are is not viable. They can no longer even pretend that it is desirable in any way. They are, quite honestly, less at rock bottom and more stuck between a rock that’s impinging on them and an arduous climb out from beneath it. If you really want to change your life, let yourself be consumed with rage: not toward others, not with the world, but within yourself. Get angry, determined, and allow yourself to develop tunnel vision with one thing and one thing only at the end: that you will not go on as you are. PREPARING FOR RADICAL CHANGE One of the biggest reasons that people avoid doing important internal work is that they recognize if they heal themselves, their lives will change—sometimes drastically. If they come to terms with how unhappy they are, it means that they will have to temporarily be more uncomfortable, ashamed, or scared while they start all over. Let’s be clear about something: To put an end to your self-sabotaging behavior absolutely means that change is on the horizon. 25 26 BRIANNA WIEST Your new life is going to cost you your old one. It’s going to cost you your comfort zone and your sense of direction. It’s going to cost you relationships and friends. It’s going to cost you being liked and understood. It doesn’t matter. The people who are meant for you are going to meet you on the other side. You’re going to build a new comfort zone around the things that actually move you forward. Instead of being liked, you’re going to be loved. Instead of being understood, you’re going to be seen. All you’re going to lose is what was built for a person you no longer are. Remaining attached to your old life is the first and final act of self-sabotage, and releasing it is what we must prepare for to truly be willing to see real change. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U CHAPTER 2 THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS S E L F-S A B OTA G E to do things that move your life forward, you call them skills. When they hold your life back, you call them self-sabotage. They are both essentially the same function. W H E N YO U H A B I T UAT E YO U R S E L F Sometimes, it happens by accident. Sometimes, we just get used to living a certain way and fail to have a vision for how life could be different. Sometimes, we make choices because we don’t know how to make better ones or that anything else is even possible. Sometimes, we settle for what we’re handed because we don’t know we can ask for more. Sometimes, we run our lives on autopilot for long enough that we begin to think we no longer have a choice. However, most of the time, it’s not accidental at all. The habits and behaviors you can’t stop engaging in—no matter how destructive or limiting they may be—are intelligently designed by your subconscious to meet an unfulfilled need, displaced emotion, or neglected desire. 27 28 BRIANNA WIEST Overcoming self-sabotage is not about trying to figure out how to override your impulses; it is first determining why those impulses exist in the first place. Self-sabotage is often misunderstood to be a way in which we punish, deride, or intentionally hurt ourselves. On the surface, this seems true enough. Self-sabotage is committing to a healthier diet and finding yourself pulling up to the drive-thru a few hours later. It’s identifying a market gap, conceiving an unprecedentedly brilliant business idea, then getting “distracted” and forgetting to begin working on it. It’s having strange and terrifying thoughts and allowing them to paralyze you in the face of important life changes or milestones. It is knowing you have so much to be grateful for and excited about and yet worrying anyway. We often misattribute these behaviors to a lack of intelligence, willpower, or capability. That is usually not the case. Self-sabotage is not a way we hurt ourselves; it’s a way we try to protect ourselves. W H AT I S S E L F-S A B OTA G E ? Self-sabotage is when you have two conflicting desires. One is conscious, one is unconscious. You know how you want to move your life forward, and yet you are still, for some reason, stuck. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U When you have big, ongoing, insurmountable issues in your life—especially when the solutions seem so simple, so easy, and yet so impossible to stick with—what you have are not big problems but big attachments. People are pretty incredible in the fact that they basically do whatever they want to do. This is true of everything in human life. Regardless of the potential consequences, human nature has revealed itself to be incredibly self-serving. People have an almost superhuman way of doing whatever they feel compelled to do, regardless of whom it could hurt, what wars it could spawn, or what future would be put at risk. When you consider this, you begin to realize that if you’re keeping something in your life, there has to be a reason you want it there. The only question is why. Some people can’t figure out why they can’t seem to motivate themselves enough to create a new business to facilitate their goal of becoming significantly wealthier, perhaps not realizing that they have a subconscious belief that to be rich is to be egocentric or disliked. Or perhaps they actually don’t want to be super-wealthy. Maybe it’s a cover-up for wanting to feel secure and “taken care of,” or their real desire is to be recognized for their art, and as this feels too unlikely to ever happen, they fall back on a secondary dream that doesn’t actually motivate them. Some people say that they want to be successful at any 29 30 BRIANNA WIEST cost and yet don’t want to log the hours of work it would take to get there. Perhaps it is because they understand at some level that being “successful” doesn’t really make you happy nor liked. In fact, the opposite tends to be true. Success usually exposes you to jealousy and scrutiny. Successful people are not loved in the way that we imagine they would be; they are usually picked apart because envious people need to humanize them in some way. Perhaps instead of being “successful,” what many really want is just to be loved, and yet their ambition for success directly threatens that. Some people can’t figure out why they keep choosing the “wrong” relationships, people whose patterns of rejection, abuse, or refusal to commit seem to be consistent. Perhaps they don’t realize that they are actually re-creating the relationship dynamics they experienced when they were young because they associate love with loss or abandonment. Perhaps they want to re-create family relationships in which they felt helpless, but to live them again as an adult where they can help the addict, the liar, or the broken person. When it comes to self-sabotaging behaviors, you have to understand that sometimes, it’s easy to get attached to having problems. Being successful can make you less liked. Finding love can make you more vulnerable. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U Making yourself less attractive can guard you. Playing small allows you to avoid scrutiny. Procrastinating puts you back in a place of comfort. All the ways in which you are self-sabotaging are actually ways that you are feeding a need you probably do not even realize you have. Overcoming it is not only a matter of learning to understand yourself better, but realizing that your problems are not problems; they are symptoms. You cannot get rid of the coping mechanisms and think you’ve solved the problem. W H AT D O E S S E L F-S A B OTA G E LOOK LIKE? It’s impossible to say decisively what self-sabotage does or doesn’t look like, because certain habits and behaviors that can be healthy for one person can be unhealthy in another context. With that said, there are definitely some specific behaviors and patterns that are typically indicative of self-sabotage, and they usually relate to being aware that there’s a problem in your life, yet feeling the need to perpetuate it regardless. Here are some of the main signs that you’re probably in a cycle of self-sabotage. 31 32 BRIANNA WIEST R E S I S TA N C E Resistance is what happens when we have a new project that we need to work on and simply can’t bring ourselves to do it. It’s when we get into a great new relationship and then keep bailing on plans. It’s when we get an amazing idea for our business and then feel tension and anger when it comes time to sit down and actually get to work. We often feel resistance in the face of what’s going right in our lives, not what’s going wrong. When we have a problem to solve, resistance is usually nowhere to be found. But when we have something to enjoy, create, or build, we are tapping into a part of ourselves that is trying to thrive instead of just survive, and the unfamiliarity can be daunting. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Resistance is your way of slowing down and making sure that it’s safe to get attached to something new and important. In other cases, it can also be a warning sign that something isn’t quite right, and you might need to step back and regroup. Resistance is not the same thing as procrastination or indifference and shouldn’t be treated as such. When we are experiencing resistance, there is always a reason, and we have to pay attention. If we try to force ourselves to perform in the face of resistance, it usually intensifies the T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U feeling, as we are strengthening the internal conflict and triggering the fear that’s holding us back in the first place. Instead, releasing resistance requires us to refocus. We have to get clear on what we want as well as when and why we want it. We have to identify unconscious beliefs that are preventing us from showing up, and then we have to step back into the work when we feel inspired. Wanting is the entryway to showing up after resistance. HITTING YOUR UPPER LIMIT As discussed before, there is only a certain amount of happiness that most of us will allow ourselves to feel. Gay Hendricks calls this your “upper limit.” Your upper limit is essentially the amount of “good” that you’re comfortable having in your life. It is your tolerance and threshold for having positive feelings or experiencing positive events. When you begin to surpass your upper limit, you start to unconsciously sabotage what’s happening in order to bring yourself back to what’s comfortable and familiar. For some people, this manifests physically, often as aches, pains, headaches, or physical tension. For others, it manifests emotionally as resistance, anger, guilt, or fear. It might seem totally counterintuitive, but we are not 33 34 BRIANNA WIEST really wired to be happy; we are wired to be comfortable, and anything that is outside of that realm of comfort feels threatening or scary until we are familiar with it. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Hitting your upper limit is a really great sign. It means that you’re approaching and surpassing new levels of your life, and that is first and foremost something to congratulate yourself for. The way you resolve an upper-limit problem is by slowly acclimating yourself to your new “normal.” Instead of shocking yourself into big changes, allow yourself to slowly adjust and adapt. By taking it slow, you are allowing yourself to gradually reinstate a new comfort zone around what you want your life to be. Over time, you gradually shift your baseline to a new standard. UPROOTING Uprooting happens when someone finds themselves jumping from relationship to relationship or changing their business website again and again, when they really need to focus on confronting relationship issues when they arise or taking care of clients they already have. In uprooting, you are not allowing yourself to blossom; you are only comfortable with the process of sprouting. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U It might be constantly needing a “fresh start,” which is often the result of not having healthy ways to deal with stress or struggling with conflict resolution. Uprooting can be a way of diverting attention from the actual problems in your life, as your attention must go toward reestablishing oneself at a new job or in a new town. Ultimately, uprooting means you are always just beginning your new chapter but never really finishing it. Despite your efforts to keep moving on, you end up more stuck than ever before. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S First, recognize the pattern. One of the primary symptoms of uprooting is not realizing that one is doing it. Therefore, the most important step is to become aware of what’s happening. Trace back your steps over the past few years: How many places have you moved or worked? Then figure out what is driving you away from each new thing you find. Next, you need to get clear on what you really want. Sometimes, uprooting occurs because we step too quickly toward what we think we want, only to find that we didn’t think it through and don’t really want that thing very much. Clarity is key, because you’re thinking long-term now. What would it look like to choose one place to live, then build connections there? What would it look like to 35 36 BRIANNA WIEST work at the same place and move up in your position or build your business? Remember that healing from an uprooting pattern is not about settling for something you don’t want, nor is it about staying in an unsafe or unhealthy situation because you don’t want to move again. It’s about getting clear and determined on what’s the right path for you and then making a plan for how you can thrive, not just survive. When the moment comes that you would typically flee, confront the discomfort and stay where you are. Figure out why you are uncomfortable getting attached to one thing or another, and determine what a healthy attachment would look like for you. PERFECTIONISM When we expect that our work must be perfect the first time we do it, we end up getting into a cycle of perfectionism. Perfectionism isn’t actually wanting everything to be right. It’s not a good thing. In fact, it is a hindering thing, because it sets up unrealistic expectations about what we are capable of or what the outcomes of our lives could be. Perfectionism holds us back from showing up and trying, or really doing the important work of our lives. This happens because when we are afraid of failing, or feeling vulnerable, or not being as good as we want others to think T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U we are, we end up avoiding the work that is required to actually become that good. We sabotage ourselves because it is the willingness to show up and simply do it, again and again and again, that ultimately brings us to a place of mastery. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Don’t worry about doing it well; just do it. Don’t worry about writing a bestseller, just write. Don’t worry about making a Grammy-winning hit, just make music. Don’t worry about failing, just keep showing up and trying. At first, all that matters is that you do what you really want to do. From there, you can learn from your mistakes and over time get to the place where you really want to be. The truth is that we actually do not accomplish great feats when we are anxious about whether or not what we do will indeed be something impressive and world-changing. We accomplish these sorts of things when we simply show up and allow ourselves to create something meaningful and important to us. Instead of perfection, focus on progress. Instead of having something done perfectly, focus on just getting it done. From there, you can edit, build, grow, and develop it to exactly what your vision is. But if you don’t get started, you’ll never arrive. 37 38 BRIANNA WIEST LIMITED EMOTIONAL PROCESSING SKILLS In life, there are going to be people, situations, and circumstances that are upsetting, infuriating, saddening, and even enraging. There will likewise be people, situations, and circumstances that are inspiring, hopeful, helpful, and truly offer purpose and meaning in your life. When you are only able to process half of your emotions, you stunt yourself. You start going out of your way to avoid any possible situation that could bring up something frustrating or uncomfortable, because you have no tools to be able to handle that feeling. This means that you start avoiding the very risks and actions that would ultimately change your life for the better. In addition, an inability to process your emotions means you get stuck with them. You sit and dwell on your anger and sadness because you don’t know how to make them go away. When we can only process half of our emotions, we ultimately only live half of the life we really want to. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Healthy emotional processing looks different for everyone but generally involves these steps: • Get clear on what happened. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U • Validate your feelings. • Determine a course correction. First, you need to understand why you’re upset or the reason why something is bothering you so much. Without clarity on this, you’ll continue to waste your time mulling over the details without really understanding what’s hurting you so much. Next, you have to validate how you feel. Recognize that you are not alone; anyone in your situation would probably feel similarly (and does) and that what you feel is absolutely okay. In doing this, you can allow yourself a physical release such as crying, shaking, journaling about what you feel, or talking to a trusted friend. Once you are clear on what’s wrong and have allowed yourself to fully express the extent of your emotions, you can determine how you will change your behavior or thought process so that you get an outcome that you really want in the future. J U S T I F I C AT I O N Your life is ultimately measured by your outcomes, not your intentions. It is not about what you wanted to do or would have done but didn’t have the time. It’s not about why you thought you couldn’t; it’s just whether or not you 39 40 BRIANNA WIEST eventually did. When you’re in a pattern of self-sabotaging behavior, you’re often treating those excuses the same way you would treat measurable outcomes: You’re using them to make yourself feel momentarily satisfied, using them as a replacement for the accomplishment itself. When we have a goal, dream, or plan, there is no measure of intent. It is only whether you did it or did not. Any other reason you offer for not showing up and doing the work is simply you stating that you prioritize that reason over your ultimate ambition, which means that it will always take precedence in your life. You may also be using excuses to help navigate away from uncomfortable feelings that are ultimately necessary for your growth. H O W YO U R E S O LV E T H I S Start measuring your outcomes and focusing on at least doing one productive thing each day. It’s no longer about how many days you really wanted to go to the gym; it’s about how many days you did. It’s no longer about wanting to show up for your friends; it’s whether or not you did. It’s no longer about the great ideas you had about how to change your business; it’s about whether or not you did. Stop accepting your own excuses. Stop being complacent T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U with your own justifications. Start quantifying your days by how many healthy, positive things you accomplished, and you will see how quickly you begin to make progress. D I S O R G A N I Z AT I O N By leaving our lives and spaces in disarray, we are not just mindlessly forgetting to take care of our surroundings. We are often actually creating distractions and chaos that serve an unconscious purpose. A clean, organized space—both for work and for living— is essential to thriving. This means a tidy home, clothes that are easy to reach and put together each morning, a clean kitchen, and an organized desk. Paperwork should be filed in one space, your bedroom should be calming, and everything should have a “home” that it can return to at the end of the day. Without cleanliness, we create fewer opportunities for ourselves. Nothing positive, nor beautiful, flows from chaos. Deep down, we know this. Often, when we are self-sabotaging through disorganization, it is because when we are very clean or organized, we get an uneasy feeling. That uneasy feeling is what we are trying to avoid, because it is the recognition that now that everything is in order, we must get to work on doing what we need to do or who we want to become. 41 42 BRIANNA WIEST When we leave our spaces messy, we are always a few tasks or priorities away from stepping out and showing up. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Like anything, you need to start slow and adjust yourself over time. To declutter and reorganize, start with one room, and if that is too much, try one corner, drawer, or closet. Work on that, and only that, and then implement a routine that maintains the organization. From there, start arranging your space so that it works for you, not against you. Put something soothing on your bedside table like a diffuser, or create an organized family calendar in the kitchen so appointments and schedules are visible to others. If you have trouble with the mail being disorganized, create a spot for it to go when it comes in each day. If you have trouble with laundry being disorganized, create a system for it and decide on a day or two that you do the wash, and do it in bulk. You must slowly let yourself get used to working at a clean desk, and eventually it will become second nature. You’ll begin to realize that you also feel so much less stressed and much more in control of your life. It is very hard to show up as the person you want to be when you are surrounded by an environment that makes you feel like a person you aren’t. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U AT TAC H M E N T TO W H AT YO U D O N ’ T R E A L LY WA N T Sometimes, your dreams for your life are adopted from other people’s preferences. In other cases, you determine what you want and then you outgrow your old ambitions. Sometimes, we fight endlessly to try to force ourselves to want something that we do not really want, and it always leaves us empty, because it isn’t a genuine desire. This is different than lacking motivation or experiencing resistance. Our inability to perform is not based in fear or lack of skill, it is based in an inherent knowing that this is not what we want for our lives, and perhaps we’re feeling lost or unable to change our path. When you find yourself struggling with something, you have to ask yourself: Do I actually want to do this? Do you want the job, or do you just like how the title sounds? Are you in love with the person, or do you like the idea of the relationship? Are you still holding an outdated idea of what your greatest success will be, and if so, what would it look like to let that go? At the end of the day, self-sabotage sometimes functions to show us that we aren’t quite on the right path yet, and that we need to reevaluate to determine what would feel best for our lives, even if that means we disappoint some people or even our younger selves. 43 44 BRIANNA WIEST We do not have to live the rest of our lives trying to achieve some measure of success we thought was ideal when we were too young to understand who we even were. Our only responsibility is to make decisions for the person we have become. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Be willing to accept that maybe your “success story” doesn’t look the way that you once thought it might. Maybe the kind of success you’re really hungry for is to feel at peace each day, or making your life about travel instead of work. Maybe it’s about having thriving friendships or a happy relationship. Maybe the business you got into 10 years ago isn’t the business you want to be in forever. Maybe the work you thought you’d love isn’t coming as naturally to you as you’d hoped. When we let go of what isn’t right for us, we create space to discover what is. However, doing so requires the tremendous courage to put our pride aside and see things for what they really are. JUDGING OTHERS We all know that gossiping, or judging other people’s lives and choices, is not a healthy or positive way to connect with other people. However, it does far more damage than we realize, as it sets up barriers to our own success. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U If we feel bad about not being as successful as another person, we might try to find something negative about them to make ourselves feel better. If we do that every time we come across a person who is more successful than we are, we begin to associate that level of success with being disliked. When it comes time for us to take action to move our lives forward, we’re going to resist doing it, because becoming more successful will create a breach in our self-concept. In other cases, you might have heard people you grew up around villainizing others who had money. They might have said things like, “Ugh, rich people are the worst.” Maybe they chalked all wealthy people up to being morally corrupt. This sweeping characterization sealed itself in your subconscious, and now you find yourself sabotaging your own attempts to become financially healthy, because you associate it with guilt and being disliked. When we set up judgments for others, they become rules that we have to play by, too. By judging others for what we don’t have or because we envy them, we sabotage our own lives far more than we ever really hurt anybody else. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Many people say that you have to love yourself first before you can love others, but really, if you learn to love others, you will learn to love yourself. 45 46 BRIANNA WIEST Practice non-judgment through non-assumption. Instead of reaching a conclusion about a person based on the limited information you have about them, consider that you’re not seeing the whole picture and don’t know the whole story. When you are more compassionate about other people’s lives, you become more compassionate about your own. When you see someone who has something you want, congratulate them, even if it feels hard at first. It will extend back and open you up to receiving it as well. PRIDE Pride is often involved in many of our worst decisions. Sometimes, we know a relationship is wrong, but the shame of leaving seems worse than staying. Sometimes, we start a business and realize we don’t really like it very much or refuse to accept that we need to change or ask for help. In these cases, our pride is getting in the way. We are making decisions based on how we imagine people view our lives, not how they actually are. This is not only inaccurate, but it is also very unhealthy. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S To overcome our attachment to pride, we have to start to see ourselves more wholly and honestly. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U Instead of thinking that we need to prove to everyone around us how perfect and flawless we are, we can imagine ourselves more realistically: as people who, despite our weaknesses, are trying our best. In the end, it looks far worse to hold onto what’s wrong because you care about what others think than it is to let go because that’s what’s right for you. People will respect you far more if you can acknowledge that you are an imperfect person—like everyone else—learning, adapting, and trying your best. In reaching this mindset, you also open yourself up to learning. By not assuming you know everything or that you need to seem perfect, you can admit when you’re wrong, ask for assistance, and lean on others sometimes. Basically, you open yourself back up to growth, and your life is better for it over the long term. G U I LT O F S U C C E E D I N G In a world of so much pain, horror, and misfortune, who are we to have happy, abundant lives? That’s the thought process that so many people go through. One of the biggest mental barriers people face is the guilt that comes with finally having enough or more than one needs. This can come from many different sources, but it ultimately boils down to feeling as though you “don’t deserve” to have it. 47 48 BRIANNA WIEST This feeling often comes up when we start to earn more money or have nicer things. Often, people will sabotage their higher incomes with reckless discretionary spending or by being less vigilant about their clientele or workload, because they are not quite comfortable having more than the basic necessities, and so they put themselves back into a comfortable feeling of lack. When it comes to success, guilt is an unfortunately common emotion, especially for good-hearted people who want to do the right thing and live authentic lives. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Please realize that most extremely successful people have no guilt whatsoever. In fact, this feeling usually only comes up when you’re stepping between not having enough and finally having enough. What you have to realize is that money and success are tools. They buy you back time and offer you the opportunity to help, employ, influence, and change the lives of others. Instead of looking at your success as a status differentiator—which will always make you feel bad and uncomfortable—see it instead as a tool with which you can do important and positive things in the world and your own life. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U FEAR OF FAILING How often do we not even attempt something because we are afraid to look bad or fail immediately? The fear of failing is often something that holds people back from putting in the work they would need to become truly great at something, but it can also take another, more insidious form. Once we have established something new in our lives, this fear can come up as a constant irrational worry that we’re “missing something,” that our partner is being unfaithful, or that we’re one misstep away from losing it all. These catastrophic thoughts happen when we want to shield ourselves from potential loss. They only come up when we finally have something we care enough about and really want to keep. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S There is a difference between failing because you are trying something new and daring, and failing because you are not showing up, doing the work, or being responsible for your actions. These are two very different experiences and should be separated in your mind. As scary as it might be to not be great at something initially, or perhaps even experience a loss, it is even worse 49 50 BRIANNA WIEST to fail by virtue of never trying and always playing small. Failure is inevitable, but you have to make sure it’s happening for the right reasons. When we fail out of negligence, we take a step back. When we fail because we are attempting new feats, we take one step closer to what will work. D O W N P L AY I N G When we downplay our successes in life, we are either trying to make ourselves seem less impressive so others do not feel threatened and therefore like us more, or we are trying to avoid the sense that we have “made it,” because we are afraid of peaking. Though so many of us long for the moment when we feel as though we have finally arrived and achieved the measures of success we so deeply desire, we often receive them only to then feel as though they aren’t that great, impressive, or that they don’t make us feel as good as we thought they would. This happens because of downplaying. The idea of having “made it” makes us afraid that we are reaching the pinnacle and therefore will fall off of it. If we acknowledge that we’ve arrived, what goals remain? It is a feeling akin to death, so we instead find another measure to work toward. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U Likewise, when we are around other people, we do not stand firmly in our pride because we are taught it is a bad thing (and when done in an unhealthy way, it is). What we are sensing is the feeling of being “better than” others because we have achieved something. This makes us uncomfortable because we know it’s both untrue and unkind. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S We can all acknowledge and appreciate other people’s diverse accomplishments and talents while still being happy about our own. Instead of shrugging off a compliment, we can respond by saying: “Thank you, I worked very hard, and I’m happy to be here.” If the fear is that we are “peaking” too soon, we have to reform our idea of progress. We do not get better only to get worse again. We do not achieve one thing only to lose it and return to what we were before. That instinct is a self-sabotaging behavior, one that wants to keep us within our old comfort zone. Instead, we can acknowledge that when one part of our life improves, it radiates out to everything else. When we achieve one thing, we are better equipped for the future. Life tends to gradually get better as we keep working on it; it only gets worse if we accomplish something then shut down because we are intimidated by our own power. 51 52 BRIANNA WIEST U N H E A LT H Y H A B I T S This is the most common way that people sabotage their own success: by maintaining habits that are actively keeping them away from their goals. This is when someone declares that they want to be in better shape but doesn’t change anything they do each day to facilitate that. Or when they want to make a change professionally but find ways to make it difficult if not impossible for them to actually do it. At the core of all these behaviors is the fact that one part of our psyche understands that we should be evolving and moving forward with our lives and another part is intimidated by the potential discomfort it would bring. Usually, this culminates in so much inner tension and frustration that a breaking point is reached, and changes are made from there. However, the goal is to not have to get to a crisis point in your life before you can become aware of the ways you’re holding yourself back from living peacefully and comfortably. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Define health on your own terms. What does a healthy life look like for you? How would it make you feel, and what would you be doing? T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U It is difficult to look solely to anyone else’s definition of healthfulness, particularly because we are all different people with varying needs, preferences, and schedules. Instead, figure out what makes you feel best. Decide what combination of healthy eating, exercise, and sleep is right for you, and stick to it. Like so many things, healthy habits are best established gradually. Instead of trying to force yourself to take an hour at the gym at 6 AM, try instead to do 15 minutes, or perhaps swap out with a class you really enjoy, or go at a time that works better for your schedule. Make it easy for yourself to succeed. Prep your meals or keep water by your desk so you can sip it throughout the day. Gradually recondition yourself to prefer healthy habits, ones that actually work for your lifestyle. BEING “BUSY” Another very common way that people sabotage is by distracting themselves to the point of being completely phased out of their lives. People who are constantly “busy” are running from themselves. Nobody is “busy” unless they want to be busy, and you will know that because so many people with extremely hectic schedules would never describe themselves that way. This 53 54 BRIANNA WIEST is because being “busy” is not a virtue; it only signals to others that you do not know how to manage your time or your tasks. Being busy communicates importance; it often makes you seem a little untouchable to others. It also overwhelms the body so that it can only focus on the tasks at hand. Being busy is the ultimate way to distract ourselves from what’s really wrong. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S If your schedule is unmanageable, you’re never going to be as effective or productive as you could be. If this is the case, your first job has to be to streamline and prioritize your tasks in order of importance, outsource whatever else you can, and then let go of the rest. If your issue is that you intentionally create chaos and busy-ness in your day when there is no need for it, you have to get comfortable with simplicity and routine. Start with writing down your top 5 tasks that need to be done each day, and then focus on doing those and only those. You might also need to confront the sense of “protection” that being busy gives you. Does it make you feel more important than others? Does it give you an excuse to say “no” to plans or to avoid some people? You need to find healthier and more productive ways to cope with these T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U feelings, such as finding genuine self-confidence in what you do by creating something you’re proud of, or getting better at calmly but clearly stating your boundaries and needs in relationships. SPENDING TIME WITH THE WRONG PEOPLE It’s true that so much of our lives is shaped by the people we spend them with, and the company you keep is another common way that people self-sabotage. Certainly you can think of some people in your life who stress you out, make you feel insecure, and yet keep you coming back for more. These relationships exist at the lighter end of the toxicity spectrum, but they are self-defeating nonetheless. If you find yourself preoccupied with a certain friendship or relationship that is making you feel almost addicted to the feeling of being “less than” or “jealous of,” you need to gradually phase out of it. You don’t need to be mean, rude, or even cut anyone out of your life. You do, however, need to understand that the people you spend the most time with will shape your future irrevocably, and so you must choose them wisely. 55 56 BRIANNA WIEST H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Work on building a circle of people who support and inspire you, who have similar goals and enjoy spending time with you. You should leave a get-together feeling energized and inspired, not exhausted and angry. It takes time to find your group of friends, and you may not discover that all at once. It could start with offering to take someone you admire out for coffee, or reaching out to do something with a person with whom you’d like to reconnect. Slowly but genuinely rebuild your connections, and then foster and care for them as much as you can. WO R R Y I N G A B O U T I R R AT I O N A L F E A R S A N D L E A S T L I K E LY C I R C U M S TA N C E S Another very common way that people sabotage without realizing is by preoccupying themselves with fears of worst-case scenarios. You’re probably familiar with this, at least to some degree: You have a weird or highly unlikely thought that evokes a deep sense of dread, fear, and series of “doomsday” scenarios in your head. You then keep coming back to it to the point that it even controls some part of your life. Irrational fears, especially the kind that are least likely to become reality, are often what we project real fears onto. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U These irrational fears are safe, because deep down we know they aren’t going to happen. They are placeholders, a way for us to express the feeling we really have onto something we know isn’t going to happen. When you find yourself in a fear cycle, constantly repeating some strange, random, or unimportant one-off circumstance or situation that has a very low probability of becoming reality, ask yourself if you have any feelings about something related that is actually valid. For example, if you get anxious about being a passenger in a car, consider if your fear is of “moving forward” or being “out of control.” Or, if you’re anxious about being fired from your job, the fear might really be the idea that you aren’t worthy of another job or being humiliated by a higher-up. H O W T O R E S O LV E T H I S Instead of wasting all of your energy trying to control some worst-case scenario, consider what the message of the fear may be and what it is telling you that you need in your life. If the fear was an abstract metaphor, what would the meaning be? Is the abrupt loss of income a symbol of your desire for security? Is the fear of the future a symbol for not living fully right now? Is the anxiety about making decisions a symbol for knowing what you really want and being too afraid to choose it? 57 58 BRIANNA WIEST At the core of the things we most fear is a message that we are trying to send ourselves about what we really care about. If we can identify what we want to protect, we can find healthier and more secure ways to do it. HOW TO TELL IF YOU’RE IN A S E L F-S A B OTA G E C YC L E Even if you can cognitively understand self-sabotaging behaviors, sometimes the most difficult shift is recognizing that we are engaging in them. In fact, sometimes the signs are so subtle, they are barely recognizable and often don’t come to our attention until they become highly problematic or someone else points them out. Some of the most prominent symptoms of self-sabotage are as follows: YO U A R E M O R E AWA R E O F W H AT YO U D O N’T WA N T T H A N W H AT YO U D O. You spend more of your time worrying, ruminating, and focusing on what you hope doesn’t happen than you do imagining, strategizing, and planning for what you do. YOU SPEND MORE TIME TRYING TO IMPRESS PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE YOU THAN YOU SPEND WITH PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U You are more focused on growing into the kind of person who evokes the envy of your supposed enemies rather than the kind of person who is beloved by their family and friends and prioritizes them no matter what. YOU’RE PUT TING YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND. You don’t know basic facts about your life, like how much debt you have or what other people in your field are being paid for similar work. When you get into an argument, you run away until you forget rather than talking about what’s wrong and coming up with a solution. In other words, you are in denial, and so any hope of healing is futile. YOU CARE MORE ABOUT CONVINCING OTHER PEOPLE Y O U ’ R E O K AY T H A N A C T U A L LY B E I N G O K AY. You’d rather post photos that make it look like you had a great time than being concerned about whether you actually had a good time. You put more effort toward trying to convince everyone you’re doing well rather than being honest and connecting with people who could help or support you. YOUR MAIN PRIORIT Y IN LIFE IS TO BE LIKED, EVEN IF T H A T C O M E S A T T H E E X P E N S E O F B E I N G H A P P Y. You think more about whether or not your actions will earn you the approval of “people” (who are “people,” by the 59 60 BRIANNA WIEST way?) rather than whether or not they will actually make you feel fulfilled and content with who you are. YOU’RE MORE AFRAID OF YOUR FEELINGS THAN ANY THING ELSE. If you get to the point in life at which the scariest, most detrimental thing you face is the fear of whether or not you will be able to handle your own emotions, you are the one standing in your own way—nothing else is. YOU’RE B L I N D LY CHASING GOALS WITHOUT ASKING YOURSELF WHY YOU WANT THOSE THINGS. If you are doing “everything you are supposed to be doing” and yet you feel empty and depressed at the end of the day, the issue is probably that you’re not really doing what you want to be doing; you’ve just adopted someone else’s script for happiness. YO U’R E T R E AT I N G YO U R C O P I N G M E C H A N I S M S A S T H E PROBLEM. Instead of trying to incite war on yourself to overcome your overeating, spending, drinking, sexing—whatever it is you know you need to improve—ask yourself what emotional need that thing is filling. Until you do, you will battle it forever. Y O U VA L U E Y O U R D O U B T M O R E T H A N Y O U R P O T E N T I A L . T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U Negativity bias makes us believe that “bad” things are more real than good, and unless we keep that inclination in check, it can leave us believing that everything we fear to be true is more real than the good things that are actually true. YOU ARE TRYING TO CARE ABOUT EVERY THING. Your willpower is a limited resource. You only have so much in a day. Rather than using it to try to become good at everything, decide what matters most to you. Focus your attention on that, and let everything else slip away. YOU ARE WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO OPEN A DOOR, O F F E R A P P R O VA L , O R H A N D Y O U T H E L I F E Y O U H AV E BEEN WAITING FOR. We grow up with the illusion that success is what’s handed to people who are most deserving, talented, or privileged. When we arrive, however, we realize it is constructed by those who find an intersection of their interests, passions, skills, and a market gap. Sprinkle on a little bit of persistence, and the only way to fail is to give up. YOU DON’T REALIZE HOW FAR YOU’VE COME. You are not the person you were five years ago. You evolve as your self-image does, so make sure that it’s an accurate one. Give yourself credit for everything you’ve overcome that you never thought you would, and everything you’ve 61 62 BRIANNA WIEST built that you never thought you could. You’ve come so much farther than you think, and you’re so much closer than you realize. IDENTIFYING YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS COMMITMENTS Part of the reason we often experience intense inner conflict or self-sabotage is because of something called a core commitments, which is essentially your primary objective or intention for your life.5 Your subconscious commitments are basically what you want more than anything else, and you often aren’t even aware of them. You can identify your core commitments by looking at the things that you struggle with most and the things you are most driven by. If you can peel back the layers of your motivations toward each, you’ll find a root cause. When you find the same root cause for everything, you’ve found a core commitment. People only seem irrational and unpredictable until you understand what they are fundamentally committed to. For example, if someone has a core commitment to feel free, they may find themselves sabotaging work opportunities in order to achieve that. If someone’s core commitment is to feel wanted, they could find themselves in a series of relationships in which they have intense T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U connections but refuse to make commitments out of fear that the spark will “fade.” If someone’s core commitment is to be in control of their lives, they might have irrational anxiety about things that represent a loss of control. If someone’s core commitment is to be loved by others, they might pretend to be helpless in certain areas of life because if they don’t need others, they might be left by them. But the most important thing to understand is that your core commitments are actually a cover-up for core needs. Your core need is the opposite of your core commitment. Your core need is also another way to identify your purpose. For example, if your subconscious core commitment is to be in control, your core need is trust. If your subconscious core commitment is to be needed, your core need is to know you are wanted. If your subconscious core commitment is to be loved by others, your need is self-love. The less that you feed your core need, the “louder” your core commitment symptoms will be. If you are a person who needs trust and is therefore committed to staying in control, the less that you believe you are supported, the more your negative coping mechanisms are going to flare up. Perhaps this could happen in the form of disruptive eating patterns, isolating yourself, or hyper-fixation on physical appearance. If you are committed to freedom and therefore need a sense of autonomy, 63 64 BRIANNA WIEST the less that you build a life on your own terms, the more you are going to sabotage opportunities and feel drained and exhausted when you “should” feel happy. The more you lean into fulfilling your core needs, the more your commitment symptoms will disappear. Once you understand what a person really wants, you will be able to explain the intricacies of their habits and behaviors. You will be able to predict down to the detail what they will do in any given situation. More importantly, once you start asking yourself what you really want, you’ll be able to stop battling the symptoms and start addressing the only issue that has ever really existed in your life, which is living out of alignment with your core needs and, therefore, your core purpose. CONFRONTING REPRESSED EMOTIONS A N D TA KI N G AC T I O N There is a difference between understanding why we self-sabotage and the act of no longer self-sabotaging. This means that once we understand the root and purpose of the behavior, we adjust it. We adapt. Overcoming self-sabotage is not just a matter of understanding why you’re holding yourself back; it is being able to take action in the direction that you want and need to, even if it is initially uncomfortable or triggering. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U This is a very important part of the process, because you are essentially going to be confronting the exact emotions you have been trying to avoid. When you stop engaging in self-sabotaging behavior, repressed emotions that you weren’t even aware of will start to come up, and you might feel even worse than you did before. The thing about overcoming self-sabotage is that we don’t often need to be told what to do. We know what we want to do, and we know what we need to do. It is simply that we are being held back by our fear of feeling. To begin to unravel this emotional holding pattern, we can work through the following to find more ease and space and freedom while we change our lives. THE MOST COMMON EMOTIONS T H AT A R I S E WH I L E YO U’R E B R E A KI N G S E L F-S A B OTA G I N G B E H AV I O R S The first feeling you are likely to confront is resistance. This is that generalized sense of being “stuck” or your body feeling so tense that it is almost “hard,” as though you are hitting a wall. This feeling is usually a masking emotion that is preventing you from actually being aware of the sensations beneath it which are more acute. When you start to feel resistance, you don’t want to just “push through it.” In fact, trying to do that means you’ll 65 66 BRIANNA WIEST keep hitting the same wall that you’re up against already. You’re going to strengthen the self-sabotaging behavior because you aren’t really solving the problem by just trying to override it. Instead, start asking the right questions. Why do I feel this way? What is this feeling trying to tell me about the action I am trying to take? Is there something I need to learn here? What do I need to do to honor my needs right now? Then you have to reconnect to your inspiration or your vision for life. Get clear on why you want to take this action and make a change. When your motivation is the fact that you want to live a different and better existence, you’re going to find that a lot of the resistance fades because you’re being pushed by a vision that’s greater than your fear. In other cases, you might run into other emotions such as anger, sadness, or inadequacy. When those feelings come up, it is very important to make space for them. This means to allow them to rise up in your body and observe them. Watch where they make you tense up or constrict. Feel what they want you to feel. There is nothing worse T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U than the fear of feeling the emotion, as the experience itself is ultimately often just some physical tension around which we’ve crafted a story. Remember that a lot of these feelings may very well have a root in something related to the self-sabotaging behavior. If you are angry about how one of your parents treated you, it probably won’t come as a surprise that the core feeling of why you are sabotaging your relationships is anger and mistrust. The feelings associated with self-sabotage are not usually random. In fact, they can lead us to deeper insights about what we really need and what problems within us are still unresolved. To fully release those feelings once you are aware of them, try writing yourself a letter. Write something to your younger self or from the perspective of your future self. Write down a mantra or a manifesto. Remind yourself that you love yourself too much to settle for less, or that it is okay to be angry in unfair or frustrating circumstances. Give yourself space to experience the depth of your emotions so that they do not control your behaviors. DISCONNECTING ACTION AND FEELING The final and most important lesson to overcome self-sabotage is to learn to disconnect action from feeling. 67 68 BRIANNA WIEST We are not held back in life because we are incapable of making change. We are held back because we don’t feel like making change, and so we don’t. The truth is that you can have a vision of what you want, know that it is undoubtedly right for you, and simply not feel like taking the action required to pursue that path. This is because our feelings are essentially wired as comfort systems. They produce a “good” feeling when we are doing what we have always done—staying in familiarity. This, to our bodies, registers as “safety.” In other cases, the accomplishments or changes that we are very happy about are those that we also perceive to offer us a greater measure of safety. If the achievement potentially puts us at risk in any way or exposes us to something unfamiliar, we aren’t going to be happy about it initially, even if it is a net positive for our lives. However, we can actually train ourselves to prefer behaviors that are good for us. This is how we restructure our comfort zones. We begin to crave what we repeatedly do, but the first few times we do it, we often feel uncomfortable. The trick is being able to override that initial hesitation so we are guiding our lives with logic and reason, not emotionality. Though your emotions are always valid and need to be validated, they are hardly ever an accurate measure of what you are capable of in life. They are not always an accurate T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U reflection of reality. All your feelings know is what you’ve done in the past, and they are attached to what they’ve drawn comfort from. You may feel as though you are worthless, but you most certainly are not. You may feel as though there is no hope, but there most certainly is. You may feel as though everyone dislikes you, but that is probably a gross overexaggeration. You may think everyone is judging you, but that is a misperception. Most importantly, you may feel as though you cannot take action, when you most certainly can. You simply do not feel willing, because you are not used to it. By using logic and vision to guide ourselves, we are able to identify a different and better life experience. When we imagine this, we feel peaceful and inspired. To rise up to meet this version of our lives, we must overcome our resistance and discomfort. We will not feel happy initially, no matter how “right” for us those actions are. It is essential that you learn to take action before you feel like doing it. Taking action builds momentum and creates motivation. These feelings will not come to you spontaneously; you have to generate them. You have to inspire yourself, you have to move. You have to simply begin and allow your life and your energy to reorient itself to prefer the behaviors that are going to move your life forward, not the ones that are keeping you held back. 69 T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U CHAPTER 3 YOUR TRIGGERS ARE THE GUIDES TO YOUR FREEDOM to identify your self-sabotaging behaviors, you can use them to uncover deeper and more important truths about who you are as a person and what you really want and need out of life. N O W T H A T Y O U H AV E B E G U N This is an important part of the process, because overcoming our self-defeating habits is not just about knowing what they are or why we engage in them. It is also about better understanding what our inherent needs are, what we really desire, and how we can use this as a pivot point to begin building a life that is aligned with who we really are and what we are here to do. Our triggers do not actually exist just to show us where we are storing unresolved pain. In fact, they show us something much deeper. Each “negative” emotion we experience comes with a message, one that we do not yet know how to interpret. This is 71 72 BRIANNA WIEST when a single challenge begins to become a chronic issue. Unable to honor and use the guidance of the emotion, we shut the feeling down, store it in our bodies, and try to avoid anything that might bring it up again. This is when we become sensitive to the world around us, because there are a lot of repressed feelings mounting. On the surface, it seems as though the thing that triggers our emotional response is the problem. It is not. The problem is that we don’t know what to do with how we feel and therefore do not have all of the emotional processing skills that we need. When we can identify why something is triggering us, we can use the experience as a catalyst for a release and positive life change. HOW TO INTERPRET N EG AT I V E E M OT I O N S Though everyone’s particular triggers are unique to them, it helps to better understand the function of some of the feelings that we often condemn. Some of the emotions that are most strongly connected with self-sabotaging behaviors are actually important for us to better understand. It is not about simply “getting over” them; it is about listening to what they are trying to tell us about our experience. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U ANGER Anger is a beautiful, transformative emotion. It is mischaracterized by its shadow side, aggression, and therefore we try to resist it. It is healthy to be angry, and anger can also show us important aspects of who we are and what we care about. For example, anger shows us where our boundaries are. Anger also helps us identify what we find to be unjust. Ultimately, anger is trying to mobilize us, to initiate action. Anger is transformative, and it is often the peak state we reach before we truly change our lives. This is because anger is not intended to be projected onto someone else; rather, it’s an influx of motivation that helps us change what we need to change within our lives. When we do not see it as such, we tend to bury it, not ever resolving the real issue at hand. This is when anger starts to cross over into aggression—when we take that energy out on those around us as opposed to using it as an impetus to change ourselves. Instead of being afraid of anger, we can instead use it to help us see our limits and priorities more clearly. We can also use it to help us make big, important changes both for ourselves and the world around us. 73 74 BRIANNA WIEST SADNESS Sadness is the normal and correct response to the loss of something you very much love. This is an emotion that often comes up in the aftermath of a disappointment. This could be the loss of a relationship, a job, or just a general idea of what you thought your life would be. Sadness only becomes problematic when we do not allow ourselves to go through the natural phases of grief. Sadness does not release itself all at once. In fact, we often find that it happens in waves, some of which strike us at unexpected times. We do not ever need to feel embarrassed or wrong for needing to cry, feel down, or miss what we no longer have. In fact, crying at appropriate times is one of the biggest signs of mental strength, as people who are struggling often find it difficult to release their feelings and be vulnerable. G U I LT Guilt tends to affect us more for what we didn’t do than what we did. In fact, people who struggle the most with guilt are the people who are not actually guilty of something terrible. People who commit heinous acts tend to not feel much remorse. The fact that you feel bad that you T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U could have done wrong by someone is a good sign in itself. However, guilt requires us to look deeply at what behaviors, if any, we feel badly about, as well as what we may have done that was not in our best interest. If we have treated others unfairly, we must be able to admit, apologize, and correct that behavior. However, if the feeling of guilt is more generalized and not specifically relating to any one incident, we need to look closely at who or what made us always feel as though we were “wrong” or inconveniencing others. Guilt is often an emotion we carry from childhood and then project onto current circumstances when we felt as though we were burdens to those around us. EMBARRASSMENT Embarrassment is what we feel when we know that we did not behave in a way that we are proud of. Other people can never make us feel as embarrassed as we make ourselves feel. When you are truly and completely confident that you are doing the best you can with what you have in front of you, you stop feeling embarrassed all the time. Sure, others can make you feel bad with their comments or ideas, but even their worst judgments tend to be neutralized when we accept ourselves and feel proud of who we are. 75 76 BRIANNA WIEST Shame is the shadow side of embarrassment. This is when the natural, occasional feeling of being embarrassed turns into a way for us to completely condemn ourselves as human beings and begin to see ourselves as worthless and invalid. When we do not process the feeling of embarrassment, it tends to turn into something far darker. JEALOUSY Jealousy is a cover-up emotion. It presents as anger or judgment, when in reality it is sadness and self-dissatisfaction. If you want to know what you truly want out of life, look at the people who you are jealous of. No, you may not want exactly what they have, but the feeling that you are experiencing is anger that they are allowing themselves to pursue it while you are not. When we use our jealousy to judge other people’s accomplishments, we are siding into its shadow function. When we use our jealousy to show us what we would like to accomplish, we begin to recognize the self-sabotaging behavior and get ready to commit to what we actually desire. You can think of it this way: When we see someone who has something we really want but we are suppressing our willingness to pursue it, we must also condemn it in them T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U so we can justify our own course of action. Instead of this, we can see what we’d also like to create. RESENTMENT When we resent people, it is often because they did not live up to the expectation of them that we had in our minds. Resentment in some ways is like a projected regret. Instead of trying to show us what we should change, it seems to want to tell us what other people should change. However, other people are under no obligation to live up to our ideas of them. In fact, our only problem is that we have an unrealistic expectation that someone was meant to be exactly as we think they should or love us exactly as we imagined they would. When we are faced with resentment, what we instead must do is reinvent our image of those around us or those we have perceived as having wronged us. Other people are not here to love us perfectly; they are here to teach us lessons to show us how to love them—and ourselves—better. When we release the ideas we have about who they should be, we can see them for who they are and the role they are meant to play in our lives. Instead of focusing on how they should change, we can focus instead on what we can learn. 77 78 BRIANNA WIEST REGRET Much like jealousy, regret is also another way that we show ourselves not what we wish we could have done in the past, but what we absolutely need to create going forward. The truth is that most people regret what they did not do more than they ever regret what they did. This isn’t a coincidence. Regret isn’t actually trying to just make us feel bad that we didn’t live up to our own expectations. It is trying to motivate us to live up to them going forward. It is trying to show us what it is absolutely imperative to change in the future and what we really care about experiencing before we die. Didn’t travel when you were young? Regret is showing you that you should do it now. Didn’t look as nice as you wanted to? Regret is showing you that you should try harder. Made choices that didn’t reflect your best self? Regret is showing you that you should make different ones now. Didn’t love someone while you had them? Regret is showing you that you should appreciate people now. CHRONIC FEAR When we cannot stop returning to fearful thoughts, it is not always because there is an actual threat in front of us. Often, it is because our internal response systems are underdeveloped or sidelined by trauma. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U When we are in a state of fearful thinking, it doesn’t matter what we are afraid of; the thought process follows us from problem to problem. Often, there’s a metaphor encoded within it. For example, we may be afraid of an ultimate “loss of control” or some external force coming in and unraveling our progress. Regardless, chronic fearful thinking often comes back down to feeling the need to focus our energy and attention on a potential threat so we can protect ourselves from it. We imagine that if we are worried, anxious, or angry about it, it will remain within our awareness and therefore cannot surprise us. We can retain some control over it. The very act of holding these fearful thoughts within our minds is exactly how the fear is controlling us in the first place. It is derailing our lives right now, because we are channeling our energy into something that is outside of our control, as opposed to using it for everything that is actually within our control—the habits, actions, and behaviors that would actually move our lives forward. In this sense, what we are afraid of is really a projection of what’s already happening. The only true way to get over chronic fear is actually to get through it. Instead of trying to battle, resist, and avoid what we cannot control, we can learn to simply shrug and say, and if that happens, it happens. The second we are able to shrug, laugh, or even just throw our hands up and say, 79 80 BRIANNA WIEST “Whatever, it will be fine,” we instantly take back all of our power. What keeps the fire of fear raging is the idea that if we accept what we are afraid of, we are giving in to the worst potential outcome. The truth is that when we stop being afraid of what we cannot control and know instead that nothing can possibly ruin our lives more than we are ruining them with our negative, distracted, and irrational thinking and focus, we are completely freed. When we are in full acceptance, fear leaves our consciousness and becomes a non-issue. It is at this point we realize that it always was. OUR INTERNAL GUIDANCE SYSTEMS WHISPER UNTIL THEY SCREAM The things that are bothering you most right now are not external forces trying to torture you for the sake of it— they are your own mind identifying what in your life can be fixed, changed, and transformed. If you continue to not take action, the siren will only get louder, and if you never learn to listen to it, you will probably just disassociate from it and then be a victim to it. You already have the answers. You already know what you’re here to do. You are here to create everything that would make you happier than you can imagine. It is only T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U a matter of quieting your mind enough so you can feel all of the unlimited potential that is begging you to be used. There’s no such thing as self-sabotage because the behaviors that you think are holding you back are really just meeting your needs. It’s not a matter of trying to push yourself beyond them; it’s a matter of seeing them for what they are and then finding better, healthier ways to fulfill them. Though we live in an age where people tend to tell us that we should be entirely self-sufficient, and to want or need another person’s presence, validation, or company is a sign of self-insufficiency, that is not an accurate portrayal of what it means to be human, and it severely overlooks the reality of human nature and connection. Though many people are codependent and lean far too heavily on others to give them a sense of safety and self, leaning too far the other way—where you believe that you don’t need anyone or anything and that you can do everything yourself—is not healthy, either. They are two opposite manifestations of the same wounds, which are mistrust and the inability to connect. Your need to feel validated is valid. Your need to feel the presence of another person is valid. Your need to feel wanted is valid. 81 82 BRIANNA WIEST Your need to feel secure is valid. Often, the first reason we start neglecting our essential needs is because we think we are weak for having them. We only believe this because when we were young we did have to rely almost entirely on others to meet our essential needs. Eventually, this fails us, because another person cannot fulfill us entirely, nor are they responsible for it. As we grow up, we learn self-sufficiency. In fact, reliance on oneself for the foundation of our basic needs is an important part of a person’s development. In the same way, it is also important that we recognize we cannot meet every single one of our needs on our own. Human beings are hardwired for connection to others and to a group. This is why we exist in subsets, like communities, and families, and generally feel happiest and most fulfilled when we are doing things that serve the greater good. This is a fundamental and healthy part of who we are, and it is not a sign of weakness. In other cases, your need to feel financially secure is healthy; it is not always a product of you being greedy or ill-intentioned. Your need to be validated for the work that you do is healthy, and it is not always a product of you being vain. Your need to live in a space and area that you enjoy being in is healthy, and it is not always a product of you being ungrateful for what you have. T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND IS TRYING TO CO M M U N I C AT E WI T H YO U Within our self-sabotaging behaviors lies incredible wisdom. Not only can they tell us how and what we have been traumatized by, they can also show us what we really need. Embedded within each self-sabotaging behavior is actually the key to unlock it, if only we can understand it first. These are a few brief examples of how your subconscious mind might be trying to communicate with you through your behaviors. Going back to the same person who broke you in a relationship. This could be a platonic friend but is most commonly a former romantic partner. T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U TO It could be time to evaluate your childhood relationships. If you find something comforting or appealing about someone who hurts you, there’s usually a reason. KNOW: Attracting people who are too broken to commit in a real way. T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U TO You are not too broken to find someone who actually wants you, and when you begin to recognize that you KNOW: 83 84 BRIANNA WIEST are worthy of being committed to, you’ll start choosing partners who do just that. Feeling unhappy, even if nothing is wrong, and really, you’ve gotten everything you’ve wanted in life. T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U TO You are probably expecting outside things to make you feel good rather than relying on changing how you think and what you focus on. No outward accomplishment is going to give you a true and lasting sense of inner peace, and your discomfort, despite your accomplishments, is calling your attention to that. KNOW: T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : away. Pushing people W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U TO You want people to love and accept you so much that the stress of it all makes you isolate yourself from the pain, effectively creating the reality you’re trying to avoid. Alternatively, needing solitude too often usually means there is a discrepancy between who you pretend to be and who you actually are. When you show up to your life more authentically, it becomes easier to have people around you, as it requires less effort. KNOW: T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : lieving what you think and feel is true. Automatically be- T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U 85 W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U TO You want to worry because it feels comfortable, and therefore safer. The more you blindly trust every random thought or feeling that passes through you, the more you are going to be at the whim of what’s happening around you. You must learn to steady yourself in clarity, truth, and groundedness, and to be able to mentally discern between what is helpful and what is not. KNOW: T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : when you don’t want to. Eating poorly W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U You are doing too much, or you’re not giving yourself enough rest and nourishment. You are being too extreme. This is why your body is requiring that you continue to fuel it. Alternatively, it could be that you are emotionally hungry, and because you are not giving yourself the true experiences you crave, you are satisfying your “hunger” another way. TO KNOW: Not doing the work you know would help move your career forward. T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U TO You might not be as clear as you think you are on what you want to be doing. If it isn’t flowing, there is a reason. Instead of trying to push through and continually hitting the same wall over and over again, take a step back. Maybe it’s time to regroup, restrategize, or KNOW: 86 BRIANNA WIEST seriously think about why you’re trying to take the steps you are. Something needs to change, and it’s probably not just your motivation. T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : Overworking. W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U TO You do not have to prove your value. You do, however, have to stop running from the discomfort of being alone with your feelings, which is very often the reason that people overwork. There is a difference between being passionately committed to something and feeling obligated to outperform everyone else. One is healthy; the other is not. KNOW: T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : about what other people think. Caring too much W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U TO You are not as happy as you think you are. The happier you are with something, the less you need other people to be. Instead of wondering whether or not someone else will think you are enough, stop and ask yourself: Is my life enough for me? How do you really feel about your life when you aren’t looking at it through the eyes of others? KNOW: T H E W AY Y O U A R E S E L F - S A B O T A G I N G : money. Spending too much W H AT YO U R S U B C O N S C I O U S M I N D M I G H T WA N T YO U TO T H E M O U N TA I N I S YO U Things will not make you feel more secure. You will not be able to purchase your wa