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Self Sabotage

I'm busy, you're busy, we are all busy.


I guess it began after Covid. No-one wanted to give up the chance to go out and socialise.

After the initial freedoms that the end of lockdown brought, we then wanted to ensure that we made the most of life; to be happy and fulfilled in life and therefore immersed ourselves into jobs or hobbies and relationships.


Next came the credit crunch and we all needed to get busy at work, take the overtime or the second job just to make ends meet, or trawl round different supermarkets to get the best bargains.


Now I think it's just endemic, being busy has become the norm.


Busy is okay, but what about when you become too busy; too busy to meet friends, too busy for self care or yoga, too busy to concentrate on relationships or family. Then it becomes a problem.


If I'm honest, I've not been too busy for 10 mins of yoga, or to journal about my day, but after a busy day it's all too easy to use the excuse of being tired, to open a bottle of wine instead, because, you know, it's been so busy today that I deserve it.


Interesting isn't it, how I feel I deserve alcohol, which I know will not help my mental state in the long run, but don't deserve the self care that will. (Not that I'm villainising the odd vino!)


It's self-sabotage. As my knowledge of grief grows over time, I'm learning that grief is different things to different people. It's almost like it attacks the self. It shines awareness on the most negative aspects of our personality, or certainly those parts of us that we feel are the most negative. It is trying to break us, or rather we are trying to break ourselves because as humans we are led to the negative. That's why we remember the hurt more than the praise. Negativity bias is part of human nature, learning what is bad so that we can avoid it, and needing to remember that. If you've ever had a dog, you'll know that if they encountered something they didn't like as a puppy then they avoid it throughout their entire adult life.


But with grief it's less helpful. For me, grief attaches itself to my anxiety, which I guess is the part of my personality that I try to hide as I dislike it, and dislike how it makes me act. So I push the anxiety down, not recognising that it's grief, so I treat is separately from the grief. I medicate with alcohol or berate myself for getting worked up over little issues, feel negatively about myself and angry that I'm unable to deal with little things, because I don't see that it is the grief.... and of course the reason I don't see it is because I'm too busy. Too busy to do the things that I think are unimportant, when actually they are the most important.


But the self-sabotage begins even further back than that. I've realised that as soon as I begin to feel a little anxious or a little out of sorts that is when I stop doing all the things that would make me feel better, that is when I stop the yoga, stop the mindfulness, stop the supplements. And at the same time I increase the negative behaviours; the drinking the stressful activities. So when I am at the point when my anxiety is sky high and my grief is dominating everything it has become almost self-fulfilling. This part of me wants to embrace the negative, a desire to make things as hard as I possibly can. To destroy the self without even realising it. This is negativity bias gone haywire.


And so, as I learn and grown into my grief, rather than let it grow into me, I remember (re-remember) that time is what is most important. Time to consider not only the present, but the positive. The negative takes care of itself, it's important to combat that by taking time to concentrate on the positive. I am very lucky, I have lots of positive parts to me life, but that doesn't stop the self-sabotage from leaking in if I let it. And obviously there will be moments when I do still let that negativity in, but again, if I bring it back to time, I can see it for what it really is, for grief, and sit with it as that emotion, rather than something entirely different.

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands. For it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. Brené Brown




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