(Estimated reading time 2 minutes)

Some months back I decided to join a group of friends who were going to do a painting class – we were to go to a local restaurant and have dinner and then paint a picture. I honestly didn’t think much about the painting, I just thought a night out with the girls would be fun. Actually, I really thought it was going to be a simple, paint-by-numbers process.  I was in for a shock! To my horror, when I sat down for the painting portion of the evening, there was a completely blank canvas in front of me and a picture of a butterfly propped up against the wall. I had no idea that the colour white could be so terrifying. It was supposed to be a fun evening – no stress – but I could feel anxiety starting to climb and the thought of failure looming. What I wanted to do was tell the girls I would be having a drink at the bar while they painted and just walk away. Who needs that kind of stress? And then I realised that I wanted to walk away so that I wouldn’t fail. How often have I sabotaged my chances of success by refusing to try?

That painting class reminded me of other times in my life where I stepped away instead of leaning into discomfort. It reminded me of times when I’ve told myself that I don’t care, times where I’ve shut something down before it even got started. It reminded me of times where I’ve told myself that what I want is something small and safe and believed it. Self sabotage is not allowing yourself to dream, to look at a blank canvas and create something. It’s making sure you’re not in a postion where you might fail. I was reminded that self sabotage is not benign – it is invasive, uncontrollable, dangerous and deadly.

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”  – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Self sabotage is not benign

Sue Das, CPCC, ACC, B Soc Sc (SW)

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