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Self Sabotage & Passive Aggression

Not Just Your Typical Post!

When I think of “passive aggressive behavior” I think of behaviors between two or more people. It can be a spoken or unspoken attempt to control another individual, with the purpose of affecting the outcome that is wanted or unwanted.

But what if it is possible to be passive aggressive towards ourselves? To try and manipulate ourselves in that same hostile and controlling way.

Consider those situations you want to do something and yet you do not do it. I am talking about things you really want. What I have found is that some or many of the things we want to do but do not do are the outcome of  unconscious resistance to ourselves. On the surface we say we want something and yet deeper down, in our unconscious we do not want to risk experiencing the thing or situation.

I can say I want a better paying job, a better relationship, to move to a new area, more clients, etc., but if I am afraid of the outcome, say rejection, I may not move forward to get those things in my life.

So on one hand we are telling ourselves we really want something and at the same time we are resisting and possibly passive aggressively flogging ourselves for not doing it. We have passive aggression interactions with others because we want or don’t want something. We can do the same thing to ourselves. The outcome: we create hurt and pain within ourselves (even if we are not aware of it)!

So what do we do about this passive aggressive behavior toward ourselves? Own it. And I don’t mean the own it in your head, I am talking about owning that we don’t want to do it at the head, heard and soul levels. This level of ownership opens the door to real change (and healing). Sit with your resistance as long as you need in order to fully feel it – not just think it. Own that you want this thing or situation but at the same time and perhaps even stronger you don’t want it (because of the possible outcome that may not be what we want it to be).

Once we fully own, at a heart level, that we are holding ourselves back – then we have taken the power back from our unconscious tendency toward passive aggressive resistance. Now we have a chance of stepping beyond our own passive aggressive resistance toward creating more of what you want in your life. Now we can consciously choose to do or not do something. Try it.

  1. Look at what “want” you have had for some time.
  2. Have you been putting it off, if so, look deeper for avoidance which is also a “don’t want”
  3. Stop & fully own that resistance and speak it out loud.
  4. Step forward and honor your want
  5. Now decide consciously if you still want this thing or situation and own that decision
  6. Now either let it go or decide what step you could take today, tomorrow or next week to get this want in your life.

Real Giving

Real giving of yourself takes heart and I would argue soul. It may look different for you than me, but it is there. For me,
writing. I really like to write once I get started. But what I have noticed is that when I write something that really means something to me takes energy and heart. And the more you can tap into those when you are giving – the better the giving. If I am going to “ship” as Seth Godin” says, and I want to ship something that has really value – it will probably be something that I wrote from my hear and soul.

Don’t just go through the motions in your job, marriage, relationship with your kids – put some heart into it. That is real giving.

Ever Expanding Opportunities

Ever have that thought, “they’re getting ahead of me”, “they did what I was thinking about doing”, “they are better at it than me”, “I’ll never be as good as them”…the list goes on. You may not say these things, but do you have some parallel thoughts of your own?

So someone is already doing what you thought about doing, great! They are doing it better than you judge you could do it, great! They are way ahead of where you are at – GREAT!

What I experience in my life is continually expanding opportunities. There are so many facets to parenting, to running a business, to growing roses, to making love – the list is endless. Some of those ideas might be an  idea that changes how the world works, others may not or may not in a big bang way.

My point is – don’t spend a lot of time comparing. Do a little homework and then follow your intuition. The world is always expanding into new frontiers, from the pony express (days, weeks, months, years?)  to electron mail that is in (milliseconds, seconds, minutes).

Move forward. Take the risk. Copy if you have to – but get out there and then really listen to your intuition so you can make course corrections if beneficial to you and the world.

What Next People?

So, what exciting things are you intending for 2012? What really sounds good to you versus what you “should” or “have to” do? I know, you may have things you don’t want to stop doing because of the impact on your life style. But what about the incremental steps you can start taking today to move you in the direction of what you really want to do and experience in your life? Dig down and dream, feel the excitement that comes with putting your ass on the line. Dream big and then take it step by step.

Go for it!

Show Up & Get in the Game

Last week my 2 daughters were in a play at school called Nanny Claus. Our older daughter got the lead role and our younger daughter got a total of 9 words to say. Our younger started with 3 and she was proud when she was able to get more. 

In addition to the entertainment, or maybe because of this it was entertaining, I saw something in how both of my daughters participated in the play. They both had presence. Not only were they there on stage, but they showed up. You could see a playful intention and commitment in the participation.

I can see this being the case with our older daughter who had the lead role, but it would have been easy enough for our younger daughter with the 9 words to check out. She could have dismissed her contribution because of the number of words she was able to say. And yet she did not, she was engaged just as much as her older sister – and I could see how that impacted the play. She was on and she had enthusiasm to do her best and it was obvious. She added to the energy, joy and entertainment of the play.

I write about this because we all have a chance to show up. Regardless of our part in the play of life –  we can all add to the energy, joy and entertainment of each others lives.

Stand. Step forward. Show up – fully. Let others see you. Let you see you.

What can you do today or tomorrow to show up? Make it simple and easy. And then do it again.

Commitment to Happiness

Regardless of what is happening around us we can choose our thoughts and our attitude.

In my more recent post I have written that what we create for ourselves, for our life, is a choice. Our thoughts related to what we create may be conscious or unconscious – and that is a choice too. Where we put our attention, our awareness, in any given moment – is a choice.

"Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass."

by James Allen, 1902

As I have posted earlier and as James Allen said so long ago, our mind is the power that molds and makes our reality. Our happiness follows that same principle. Through our thoughts we have the ability to create our own happiness. Regardless of what is happening around us we can choose our thoughts and our attitude. We can choose to be happy.

The question is, are you willing to be happy? Are you willing to choose your thoughts and attitude – to commit to being happy in your life?

Thoughts that Achieve Goals

What might this list of thoughts have in common? I don't want to look foolish. I don't want to fail. I don't want to miss the deadline. I don't want to lose money. I don't want to lose my client. I don't want to stay stuck in this job. I don't want to have my kids talk back to me. I don't want my kids to fail. I don't want to hear my neighbors lawn mower. Etcetera.

When a thought is reoccurring we have an investment in it. These thoughts continue to occur because we continue to focus our energy on them. If we had no attachment to them they would cease to come to mind. In reality we are choosing these thoughts by continuing to focus on them. Given we are choosing to invest energy in them one could argue we want these thoughts in our life.

When we focus our energy on what we don't want we are missing opportunities to focus on what we do want. Yes, we want to make room to acknowledge what we don't want. Once we acknowledge what we don't want we have a choice. Do I continue to focus on what I don't want or do I focus my energy on what I do want.

What if there is a correlation between what we get in life and the energy we invest in thoughts of what we want and what we don't want? What could you be focusing your energy right now?

When a "I don't want" thought persist take time to see if there is a feeling below the thought that you could explore. There is a process of exploring and releasing the feelings that anchor these thoughts. I have frequent webinars and teleclasses that cover these issues. Check my up and coming Events page.

Failure or Feedback

We make a plan based on our vision, our high level approach, milestones and time estimates. And then we begin to execute against our plan. Some of us will move ahead taking action and some of us will avoid taking action. Why might some avoid taking action?

When we take action (or don't) we get results. For some, those results can be perceived as failure by using mistakes, missed dates, unwanted outcomes, rejection, lack of support, cost over-runs, etc. as evidence (of our failure).

Perceiving results in this way can be painful, diminish our energy, lower our confidence and even be used as an indicator of our value as an individuals. What is the outcome? We avoid taking some or all of the actions we can to realize our vision.

How might we view the results of our actions and our plans that will allow us to move forward unencumbered by the fear of failure?

By viewing our results as information. Information that does not define success or failure, but information that we can use to determine how we move forward. I can be disappointed or excited, but it is not a reflection on me as an individual. I get information, I decide how I want to move forward.

Moving Through Conflict

Some suggest that conflict is inevitable. I personally cannot agree or deny that idea.

What I have seen in others and experienced personally, is that speaking our truth – wants, needs, likes, dislikes and feelings about ourselves (versus others) goes a long way toward naturally dissolving what might have otherwise appeared as a irresolvable conflict.

Trying to maintain control might look like: You are always working or spending time with your friends. (The focus is on the other person.)

Letting go of control might look like: I like to spend time with you. I want to watch a moving with you this weekend. (The focus is on the speaker.)

If speaking our truth can be so effective in resolving conflict why don't we speak it? Because it means we must let go of our perceived control of the situation or outcome of the situation. Although it may be exactly what really needs to happen we are reluctant to let go of the known and step into the unknown. And yet, there is a powerful aliveness in letting go of the known.

Do you want richer, more satisfying and loving relationships? Let go of what you perceive to be control and safety and step into speaking the truth about you.

Speaking Truth – A Tribute to Diana Chapman

Over the last few days I have found myself appreciating you Diana, who you are and what you do. It occurred to me how much I have gained from something you have given me time and again since I have known you – your profound insights and your unabashed willingness to speak the truth as you see it.

As I continue to expand my work with others and grow on a personal level myself, I cherish feedback that is uninhibited and uncensored, which is at the core versus at the surface or focused on symptoms. Not everyone is willing to move from cheerleading, making surface comments or asking indirect questions, to a place of delivering honest in the moment reactions. Yes celebration, encouragement and questions can all be great forms of support and I get that from you, but not at the expense of the truth.

I appreciate when I get the whole truth from your perspective, your intentional unedited reactions that are meant to add to my life. The truth that is deeper. The truth that speaks to aspects of myself that I may not judge as socially pretty, that I may not want to see but deep down know that I need to see. The truth that can cut to the quick with clarity and life changing impact. The truth that delivers a level of love that is beyond what may be comprehended by the individual receiving it and may even be viewed as hurtful, aggressive or devastating.

The beauty of your approach is your ability to deliver your truth without judgment, ulterior motive or for self gratification. It is clean and creates an an opportunity for life changing growth. I judge that your ability to speak the deeper truth has been fostered by your willingness to see the truth about yourself, without bias, judgment or self condemnation.

I don’t always like the truth or want to see it or accept it, but in my experience, the deeper truth like you are willing to speak, has had the most impact on my ability to rise to the occasion and do what I want and need to do in my life.

I appreciate you. I see you as a leader among leaders Diana Chapman, and in my judgment, a great coach (http://dianachapman.com). 

Ted Mersino