MGU 178 | Self-Sabotage

All of us have dreams. What separates those who achieved them and those who don’t is their ability to believe in themselves, to reach forward. Yet, even before starting the journey towards our goals, so many people stop themselves through self-sabotage. Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen dive deep into one of the biggest culprits that keep people from living the life they want. They break down the reasons why people self-sabotage, going deep into guilt, fear of failure, and distractions from social media. They also discuss the use of TikTok and the new platform they found, Clubhouse. Extending it to health, Jason and Whitney then reflect on the ways in which we self-sabotage through our health and addiction. They talk about the need to exercise more, maintain sobriety, and eat healthier. Join Jason and Whitney in this conversation to learn more about the ways you may have held yourself back.

Listen to the podcast here:


Why People Self-Sabotage: On Guilt, Failure, Addiction, And Social Media

You may know that we have a course called Wellness Warrior Training. We have mentioned it many times here on This Might Get Uncomfortable. It’s one of our flagship programs, along with The Consistency Code. We have a new round that we kicked off at the beginning of 2021. We were digging through some of the course content and feedback, and we wanted to look at some pain points. It’s always interesting when we get a new round of students and people in the community to see what people are bringing up, their concerns, triumphs, successes and perceived failures. It’s an interesting thing to go through because we do have a lot of content and feedback that we receive from our courses. If you are interested in digging into those resources and courses, you can visit our website at Wellevatr.com. In digging in, I found some interesting things.

There seem to be consistent themes that pop up, which is not a surprise. One of my core philosophies as human beings is if we scratch a little bit under the surface, it seems to me that we all have similar hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, and ways that we hold each other and ourselves back. It seems that there are some consistencies that pops up when we start to look at the feedback that comes through from these courses. In digging in, I found about 6 or 7 consistent things. They’re phrased a little bit differently, but when I’m scanning through and doing these metric assessments, you see certain keywords start to pop up and then you go, “This is interesting. People are bringing this up a lot.”

In this episode, Whitney and I will talk about these things and dig in a little bit because for you, dear readers, this might be something that resonates with you as we dig through these dozens of assessments. It’s not a survey, but when you look at survey statistics and see 50% of respondents found that they were struggling with X or Y, it starts to have that feeling where you see these patterns emerge. I want to read the list, Whitney, and then we can dive in deep into each one. The first thing that jumped out at me was how many people brought up the concept of self-sabotage.

They didn’t necessarily get into many specifics, although one thing did come up around self-sabotage, which we’ll talk about more. They know they need to do better but they’re not doing better. They’re perceiving that as sabotaging themselves, which I thought was fascinating. The next thing that popped up was the double-edged sword of gratitude and guilt, the GG’s, about doing well in their lives right now, whether it’s financially, stock market, or their jobs. Maybe they’re just employed throughout the entire pandemic, but this seesaw between feeling grateful for that abundance and employment, and feeling guilty because they know how many people are suffering. A lot of people brought up the fear of failure, about starting something new, a new job or taking a chance on their dream, starting a business, or pivoting into something brand new because what they’ve been doing during the pandemic isn’t working anymore and they’re afraid of failing.

The next thing that got popped out to me was social media distractions, which is not a surprise. It’s something that you and I have discussed at length here on the show in many different episodes. The myriad dimensions of our interactions with social media as we move forward as a human species, so people using the word distractions and wanting to get new tools to not be so distracted. Another big one that came up a ton, people want to move. They want to be outside and exercise more. I saw like, “I want to move. I want to be outdoors and be interacting with nature. I want to have more consistency with my exercise regimen.”

This is something that piggybacks on an episode where you talked a lot about your non-alcoholic mocktails and your mixology on TikTok. A lot of people brought up that they want to maintain their sobriety and drink less alcohol, which was fascinating. It piggybacks on one of the resources we mentioned in that episode about drinking alcohol and our feelings about that. There was a study that came out that binge drinking is up during the pandemic and the majority is women. To see that in our feedback from Wellness Warrior Training was interesting.

The last thing that jumped out at me was wanting to eat less sugar and eat less processed food. It seems that people are using sugar as a crutch, and they related to the processed food. We’re talking about emotional eating and that seems to be what they reach for. That’s about seven things that jumped out that I saw are recurring themes. Which one do you feel like you want to dive into first because we’ve got a lot to unpack here in this episode?

Social media is an addiction similar to alcohol in some ways, where it can take a while to disengage from. Click To Tweet

I’m interested in the sobriety side of it, and it’s reassuring to hear that people are interested in that. I’ve known that from TikTok, as I talked about in a previous episode that Jason mentioned. Sobriety is fascinating to me because I associate the word sober with very restrictive. I wonder if this is how people feel about veganism. The truth is there are different levels of sobriety in terms of why people are doing it and for how long. Is it related to religion? Is it related to health? Is it related to addiction? All these different angles that you can look at or reasons for choosing that lifestyle. It opened up my eyes to see this in the context of Wellness Warrior Training, which is so much about our well-being. I’m curious how people are talking about sobriety. Do they want to drink less for health reasons? Are they getting specific about it or is it, “This is what I want to do with no explanation?”

A few comments were around health reasons and it seemed that there were some comments about feeling using alcohol to deal with their emotions. There were a few of those that popped up. To piggyback on your comment because I don’t want to let it go about you wondering if people feel the same way about veganism that it’s too restrictive. It’s interesting that people can perceive a certain lifestyle because being sober is a lifestyle. We have our friend Rynda Laurel who is a major advocate for sobriety and mental health. I’m sure she’s going to dive into more of the nuances of this lifestyle because you and I are not technically sober. We don’t drink that much, but we’re not anti-alcohol.

You brought up about people having potentially the same perception, not just around veganism, but even around keto, paleo, 80/10/10, or whatever particular diet or lifestyle might come up. The idea of restrictiveness is interesting. What does it bring up, a lack of freedom, a lack of choice, a fear of missing out? When you hear the word restriction or associate something with being too restrictive, on a deeper level, what does that bring up to you or what feelings does it engender? I know that’s a little bit of a tangent, but the idea of restriction to me feels like shrinking, immobile, and not able to move the way I want to when I think about restricted.

In general, I don’t fully believe in restriction unless it’s specific. Most of our ideas around restriction are not quite what it seems that they are. Sobriety, veganism, keto, on and on, we look at those things immediately and start to acknowledge what we can’t have. I’m more of a glass half-full perspective type of person. I will see keto and I’m like, “This is great. Look at all these great foods I can have and look at how I feel.” We are working my way towards keto-ish for context. I tend to feel best when I’m eating lower carb foods and some people get scared about that.

The cool thing is because I’m making the decisions that feel right for my body. If I want to have a higher carb food like a potato, I will have it. I did that right before the show in all transparency and that’s fine. What is neat about something like keto is that it’s a choice. I can check in with myself, and I can choose to perceive it as restrictive or not. Veganism is a little different because there’s the whole ethical side. It is also a choice but it’s not as casual as my take on keto, which is if I’m going to eat an animal product, that has a big ripple effect, versus if I eat a potato on the keto diet, it’s a ripple effect within myself.

That’s also what’s interesting about alcohol. It’s in between the two where it has a ripple effect within yourself because there are a lot of health benefits to not drinking alcohol. It could have a ripple effect on other people because our behavior changes when we get drunk, depending on how much alcohol we consume. Alcohol can negatively impact someone’s life if you’re saying or doing harmful things, or if you have an addiction that’s causing harm to other people. It’s such an interesting thing to learn more about. What else is interesting since I’ve continued down this path of making a lot of videos for TikTok about non-alcoholic options is I’m seeing all these conversations, and out of pure ignorance, I am shocked at how many people are excited about non-alcoholic drinks. I got a butterfly-excited feeling in my stomach as I said that sentence because I posted a video and I had low expectations for how it was going to do.

Even though I knew that there was a lot of interest in non-alcoholic drinks on TikTok, I thought it was a one-hit-wonder type of thing where nobody would come back. They’re not paying attention to what I’m doing, but I was wrong. I did another video about a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne or Sparkling Chardonnay from this amazing company called No & Low. It’s a retail website that specializes in non-alcoholic drinks. I’m excited to share that the creators of that company are planning on being guests for our show. We have not booked them yet but we’re very close. They just have to pick a date to be on our show. I’m excited to bring them on to talk more about this because I simply shared that they were sending me a bottle of champagne. I made a simple fifteen-second video on TikTok saying, “Did you know that there is a non-alcoholic champagne?” People lost their minds relative to my experience.

MGU 178 | Self-Sabotage

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

The last I checked, it was on the border of hitting 100,000 views in two and a half days or something, which is big for me. Previous to this non-alcoholic experience, which I talked about in our other episode but to summarize here with my TikTok videos, I would average between 200 to 500 views. I had a few more viral experiences. One of them was viral. It has almost 800,000 views. That’s my JUST Egg video. Aside from that, I’d get up to 1,000 or a few thousand views. Getting 100,000 views is a big deal for me and for most people. Every single day and sometimes every single minute, people are leaving comments about how much they’re excited to hear that there is non-alcoholic champagne.

There were over 1,000 comments on that video and people are tagging each other like, “We can finally have champagne at a picnic together.” There was a ton of references to picnics, by the way. People are having conversations with themselves in the comment sections about having picnics with this non-alcoholic champagne. It’s technically a Sparkling Chardonnay and I’ve heard it’s also similar to Prosecco. I have not received it yet but I will receive it soon. If you’re curious, you can come over to my TikTok, it’s @WhitLauritsen if you want to see the update on the champagne and any other non-alcoholic drinks. I promise this whole episode is not going to be about this. This is just part of it and a long-winded answer to you, Jason.

This is fascinating to me because I’m seeing how many people are like, “I feel included,” and “I don’t feel like I have to be restricted.” A follow-up to that is often, “Why do you want to drink champagne without alcohol in it? What’s the point?” Here is the thing and this ties back into your question, Jason. There are two angles to this. Just because you don’t want to drink alcohol doesn’t mean that you don’t like the taste or experience of it. A champagne bottle is so beautiful and it has that elegance to the shape, the wrapper, and the cork. That experience of pulling off the cork, hearing the sounds, and the smells of it. I love the taste of champagne. I recognize that it’s the taste and the experience that I drink it for.

I barely care about the alcohol levels. It’s so rare that I’m like, “I want to get buzzed or I want to get drunk.” I’m doing it for that experience. I’m excited to share this with our readers because maybe someone is reading this blog thinking like, “Me too.” Now, I get the health benefits. The other cool thing about that champagne, which is called Noughty. I got it through No & Low and their website is DrinkNoLow.com if you want to check them out. I’m working on getting a discount code or something for them, so hang tight. This Sparkling Chardonnay is not only non-alcoholic but it’s certified organic, certified vegan, and certified halaal which is important to Muslims. That means that they can drink champagne within their personal choices. I’ve also learned through the comments section on TikTok that some Muslims feel very uncomfortable having anything that resembles alcohol. That’s a whole other conversation but it’s fascinating.

You have stumbled into a whole community of people with hopes, concerns, preferences and joys that you didn’t know existed. This is mind-blowing for me too. On a minor level, I’m not sober and I don’t abstain from drinking for religious preferences. I just don’t like the way that alcohol makes me feel. My body doesn’t feel great after it and I’ve had some concerns with my liver and other health concerns that I choose not to.

I get excited when you tell me that there’s a non-alcoholic champagne because I feel like the default has always been the Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider. No slam against Martinelli’s. They come through in the clutch for many holiday gatherings for decades for me. It’s not that I won’t have a glass of wine from time to time or a shot of Japanese whiskey, but it’s rare. It’s interesting to me that you and I have talked offline and even here on the show about the power of finding a specific niche in non-alcoholic champagne that has the same look, feel, taste and aesthetic experience. I can’t wait to try this. When you finally get it, pointing itself, I want to try a glass of it.

You should plan a time because I’m not going to hesitate. I’m going to go live on TikTok for the first time. I am so deeper into TikTok. This will tie into a discussion that you brought up too about being distracted by social media so we can pivot into that. Before we do, I will say that I also put up a post on TikTok with a poll. It’s similar to how you can do on Instagram with Stories where you can have people vote for things. I asked, “Do you want me to go live when I get the champagne and do a live taste test?” Hundreds of people voted and it’s mind-blowing to me. Unlike Instagram, I don’t feel like I have this dedicated audience on TikTok, but maybe I do a little bit more than I realized because I was blown away by how many people voted.

Apps are designed to make us feel good unless we get into the comparison trap. Click To Tweet

It’s 400 something or a little under voted that they did want me to do a live video, then like 100 said they didn’t. The people have spoken. I will go with the majority and it sounds like I’ll do a live champagne taste test. I will have video content semi-permanent on TikTok. Semi-permanent meaning pivoting to social media. We never know what’s going to happen with any social media and who knows how long my TikTok account will exist, but indefinitely at this point. As a transition to talking about being distracted by social media, TikTok is one of those platforms that intimidates people that don’t use it because it can feel very distracting. There are also concerns around the privacy side of things, although a lot of that has been resolved. The majority of social media platforms have privacy issues, even if we don’t know about it.

The third element of hesitation around TikTok is simply not understanding the platform and feeling intimidated or unsure about it, but let’s focus on the distraction side of it. I will say in full transparency to anybody who does not use TikTok, tread lightly if you go on there. It can be incredibly distracting. I have gone through phases of spending a minimum of an hour there even though the video average is around 15 to 20 seconds. They can be up to 60 seconds in length. You’d think how could you possibly spend that much time there. The videos are so captivating and the algorithm is designed to focus on educational, exciting or entertaining content. You get pulled in and your brain is constantly being stimulated by that experience.

It’s helpful for our well-being to be aware and mindful. We’ve dabbled in the subject matter throughout episodes on the show. It’s nothing new. The other platform that we’ve talked about is Clubhouse. I’m more concerned about getting distracted by Clubhouse than I am about TikTok because I’ve been on TikTok for a while. I use it as a platform for myself and I found a good balance with it. I feel like it’s not new and exciting anymore so my brain is like, “I can handle this. I can limit myself. I got this covered.” In Clubhouse, I haven’t quite figured out an energetic flow for it yet. I’m curious, Jason, on where you stand on Clubhouse as a follow-up to the whole episode we did.

I have to be careful with it now that my following is growing every single day, either close friends of ours, colleagues, or acquaintances are joining. I’ll open the app and I’ll look at whatever the updates tab and inevitably, I’ll follow them. I’m starting to get invites and texts on a much more frequent basis asking me to come into rooms. It’s giving me pause. I’m being mindful of opening Pandora’s box in my life because I’m already feeling overwhelmed on a frequent basis with everything that’s already on my plate in terms of three email inboxes and all of the social platforms, and we are doing the show. One more thing if it’s useful and I’m finding benefit is good but what I’m finding now is I think people are getting on, excited, starting rooms and/or they’re scheduling rooms, and they’re sending me direct invites through text or saying, “You should check out my room.”

When I go in on a daily basis and I check it, I’m seeing a lot more direct engagement with people wanting to involve me, which makes me feel good on one hand. That’s primal, “I’m included. You approve of me. You think that I’m valuable enough to be in your room,” but it’s a slippery slope because it’s yet another distraction. When I get texts from random people who aren’t necessarily close friends, but they’re acquaintances, it’s like, “You should come into my room.” Later on that day, “You should come into my room.” At 11:00 at night, and I’m not besmirching you by this, but you were like, “You should join this room.” I’m like, “I’m going to bed.” I had to put a very clear boundary for myself.

Didn’t you join anyway? I swear that you got on the platform after you told me you weren’t going to.

I did for three minutes and then I was like, “Don’t do it.” I did and I ignored my boundary. I felt bad about ignoring my boundary. I chastise myself in bed like, “You said you weren’t going to do it, but you did it.” That’s why I’m saying I have to be super-mindful with myself of not giving into that thing of the multiple requests throughout the day. If someone is at 10:00, 11:00 or midnight like, “You should join this,” I’m being like, “No. This is my wind down time.” Unless it’s the ghost of Freddie Mercury coming on, I’m going to say no.

MGU 178 | Self-Sabotage

Self-Sabotage: We have this tendency to be so overly critical of ourselves and believe that we’re doing things like sabotaging when, really, we just might be in a habit that’s no longer serving us.

 

Social media is on the simple side of making that choice. It is about creating those boundaries, but what’s not simple is dealing with the addictive side of it. It’s similar to alcohol in some ways where it can take a while to disengage from something that we might be addicted to. Social media is another addiction. What can be helpful is that awareness. Simply taking a moment of pause and asking yourself, why do I want to open up the social media app? I think about this every single morning. That’s where my awareness is the highest. I have this tendency to use my phone first thing in the morning. I check in with myself about it. I don’t think it’s detrimental for me at this point.

As a whole, people always recommend like, “Don’t use your phone. Don’t look at a screen. Don’t open your email or social media when you wake up.” That can be true for some people in certain circumstances. For me, it’s a little hard to say but I’ll share what I’m going to say and then I’ll share another way of looking at it. It helps ease my mind to look at my phone first thing in the morning because what I want to do is check-in and see if there is anything urgent. Are there urgent text messages or direct messages? Are there any urgent emails? What do I have going on? What am I going to need to address?

Right now in my life, I have been very good about managing my schedule and my to-do list. I set myself up for success with that. I wake up and I ease myself into the day, then I do some yoga, fitness or meditation, and that’s when I sit down to work after all of that is completed. I still turn on my phone and look at a platform like TikTok in the morning because it also makes me feel good. It does feel rewarding and exciting. As consciously as I know, from my bias perspective, that I will feel good when I open up TikTok and it will give me some information. I simply open it up to see notifications. Usually, I’ll spend a few minutes watching a few videos but generally, I want to see what’s happening there. It has been this high that I get from opening it up.

My point is my awareness around that makes it more manageable. It’s not necessarily about not using these platforms. It’s simply acknowledging and being honest with yourself why you’re using them and if it’s truly the appropriate time. One other way of looking at this is I am hooked on it and it feels good. That’s what’s driving me and that’s how the apps are designed anyway. They’re designed to make us feel good unless we get into the comparison trap, which can also happen. I could certainly benefit from having more boundaries and being stricter with myself, but I haven’t found the why for that yet. That’s part of this. Generally, we’re not going to change our habits unless we have a deeper why behind them or we identify with that.

I’m reading the book Atomic Habits and the section I finished, which was around how our identity has to be in alignment with our habits otherwise, our habits won’t stick. If my identity right now is somebody who enjoys TikTok, I’m going to want to use TikTok more and that’s going to become a habit. If I changed my identity to someone who’s not that in TikTok, it will be easier for my habit not to include TikTok in my day if that makes sense. It does because if we look at you, Jason, you’re not that into TikTok. That has nothing to do with your identity. You’re not a TikToker and you’re not a TikTok consumer. You watch TikTok videos that people send you but that’s about it.

For me, it’s different in terms of you getting clear on your why. On a fundamental level of human psychology, the great majority of human beings are not going to make a change, an alteration or a pivot in their life unless there is a lot of pain involved. Let’s get real about human psychology. If things are going well, you’re getting some reward, you feel good and you don’t identify an issue, pain point, or an aspect of your suffering that you’re internalizing from the experience, why change? “Things are going great. I’m going to make a change.” Why would you do that? It’s like an aspect of, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

To your point, our relationships with social media are similar but also different in certain ways. There’s no metric or an exact amount of time that I can bring up when sharing this. I know that if I spend “too much time for myself,” I start to observe that feeding my depression, anxiety, not-enoughness, and lack of self-worth being triggered. My reticence to spending more time on TikTok and Clubhouse and investing in those is because the value proposition isn’t there for me. It could change in the future. I’m open to it changing. I’m not saying that this is my position or my perspective forever, but I’ve noticed that the more time I spend on social media, the worse I feel, generally speaking.

Our identity has to be in alignment with our habits. Otherwise, our habits won't stick. Click To Tweet

If I were to put out more content as you’re doing and seeing the results, feedback, and community engagement, you’re getting that reward mechanism because let’s be honest, it’s dopamine for you. You’re getting that dopamine hit as we all are, then that’s enough of a reward metric that you’re seeing the growth, the community, and the dopamine that you’re like, “Why would I change?” I’m very reticent to do it because if I get into a dopamine feedback loop, whether that’s from sugar, which was another thing on the list we mentioned from the assessments of Wellness Warrior Training, or that’s processed food or social media time, I know that there’s a point for me, for my brain chemistry, where the dividends drop off the edge of the freaking cliff, and I start to feel worse about myself. I have to be careful with not only what I’m consuming. The impressions from media, TV, social media, books, paying attention to the news, and also what I’m consuming in terms of physical nourishment too because my particular mental health challenges require me to be more mindful.

Mindfulness is the keyword here. We have to check in with ourselves and decide what works best for us. Going back to that subject matter of restriction, it’s all a matter of perspective and very circumstantial. It’s important that when you see advice online, you have to see if that resonates with you, your life and your goals. If it doesn’t, then that advice isn’t for you, even though it might be something that a lot of people are doing and you might be hearing a lot of advice. It’s incredibly important for us to figure out what works well for us. It’s a good opportunity for us to pivot into the feelings that we might have of guilt about doing well because this came up in Wellness Warrior Training too, Jason. I wanted to hear you elaborate more on how people are struggling with this guilt.

First of all, it’s an interesting mirroring of a conversation that I had with a mutual friend and wellness colleague of ours. I had a great conversation with her and she was communicating to me this same thing that she almost hesitated to tell me how well she did in 2020, and how well she’s doing in her business now. I said, “Why are you hesitating?” She’s like, “I feel guilty about saying that I’ve done well and my business is doing better than it’s ever done because it’s so much of a contrast to many people that are suffering from unemployment and having to wait in food lines.” She was explaining to me, “On the one hand, I’m so grateful that I have this level of abundance. I’m probably going to buy a house soon. I’m doing well and I’m thriving, but I see how many tens of millions of people are suffering and struggling every single day. I feel a level of guilt for that too.” She almost didn’t want to tell me.

To see that reflected in the assessments from Wellness Warrior Training and some of our students and community members that there’s this double-edged sword of, “I do feel grateful that my family is healthy. We’re doing well. We’re thriving financially. We’re still employed.” In some cases, our business has done better than ever, but then contrast that with their level of empathy and sensitivity of looking at people, homeless, not able to get unemployment, and waiting in food lines. It’s given me an interesting reflection of, I wonder if my sense of perceived guilt is holding me back from doing certain things because I don’t want to necessarily be like, “Jason, look at him, he’s thriving and we’re all suffering.” It’s an interesting psychological thing of feeling grateful and guilty at the same time. Do you find that fascinating, Whitney? Those contrasting emotions happening simultaneously is interesting.

I do think that that’s a big issue that’s come up during COVID especially. I’m sure it’s been there underlining for a lot of people. You could even think about racism and privilege being white. People feel guilty for that sometimes because they’re like, “I have all this privilege and I can’t even help it. It’s based on the color of my skin and the way that the world operates right now.” That can lead to that feeling of guilt. I think about that often and try to find ways to change that, and be aware that it’s very selfish to do things to relieve our own guilt. It creates a bigger impact if we use our guilt as inspiration to make a change. Part of this is selfish reasons because I don’t like the feeling of guilt, but part of this is like, “Why is the guilt there?” The guilt is there because other people don’t have the same life as me, so maybe I can make a bigger impact as a result of that.

That can be motivating sometimes. I certainly have felt that at times too, when things are going well unless I’m talking to somebody else who is also experiencing the same thing. I try to tread lightly because I don’t want to make assumptions about them or say something that might trigger them to feel bad, but I also need to know that they are responsible for themselves and I can’t control how they feel. This also reminds me of a wonderful Instagram post that our friend and another guest of ours, Leanne posted about what her experience has been during COVID being alone.

She had a roommate for some time and then she was living alone. She was dating and then was single. She had a lot of fluctuation in terms of interaction with other people. She described in this beautiful Instagram post how challenging that has been and how it’s hard for anyone who is a partnered person, which is a term that she used. It’s hard to know and relate to people that are single and alone in some capacity. She’s not the only person that I know who’s spoken to me about this. Leanne also told me that a lot of people in the comments section of her Instagram post weren’t very understanding. For example, partnered people were commenting like, “I can totally relate to you.” She was like, “No, you can’t relate to me because you have a significant other right now, you live with someone, or you have a roommate.”

MGU 178 | Self-Sabotage

Self-Sabotage: Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in your daily life and interferes with your standing goals.

 

It’s hard for us sometimes to understand each other if we’re not in the same position. I will never truly understand what it’s like to have a different color skin, race, ethnicity, background, and even a different religion. There’s only a surface level understanding I can have because that’s not part of my life experience and you can only learn so much by reading, listening, and studying something. There’s still a level of understanding that will truly never be there. I’m glad that she brought up this conversation because we need to be mindful of how we speak to one another about our experiences during this time. We need to manage our guilt but also take responsibility for how we communicate with other people and not assume that we can relate to them.

This is something I was thinking about. It was how friends and family members of mine who have never experienced clinical depression, suicidal ideation, or type of anxiety that I have, offering support though they don’t know what it’s like. That’s difficult because on the one hand, there’s this deep desire for us as human beings to relate to say, “I get you. I understand.” There’s a connection. It’s a craving for connection, but if you don’t have a direct experience of the thing and you’re trying to support, it’s a slippery slope for me. As you said, Whitney, if you’re trying to relate to someone who has a different skin color, religion, sexual orientation, their gender assignment is different. Their particular cosmology, what they have chosen, who they are or they didn’t. It’s their genetics and what they were born into. We can’t have that deeper level of understanding.

As you’re talking about Leanne’s recanting her struggle being single during the pandemic, my version of is being depressed and suicidal during the pandemic. People are like, “You should do this and you should do that.” I’m like, “You’ve never fucking been through it. Why are you telling me what to do?” I know it’s coming from that desire to connect and people being concerned about me, wanting to have that deeper level of connection, keeping me safe, and all those things. It’s difficult to advise someone or say, “I understand,” or “What about this? You should do this,” if you haven’t been through it. It’s a slippery slope. Sometimes, I’m grateful for people reaching out and sometimes I’m annoyed, “You don’t understand this so leave me alone and let me deal with it.”

If we talk about our perspectives on alcoholism or sobriety, Whitney, it is a fine line because you and I haven’t struggled with that kind of addiction before. It’s a surface-level understanding of the mechanics and dynamics of addiction without having gone through it. I have talked to people who are sober and who’ve been sober for decades and ask them why. To go back to that topic, they say, “I know that if I have one drink, it’s opening the flood gates. I don’t want to open the flood gates for myself.” That’s interesting. If we talk about addiction, we can bring up social media because it’s changing our brain chemistry. Alcohol changes our brain chemistry.

One of the big things on that list that people mentioned is eating too much processed food and sugar. I have had a struggle with that in terms of handling my emotions around wanting to not be in that emotional pain. If I have the salty chocolate covered pretzel, it’s salty, sweet, sugary and crunchy. On that note, from a psychological perspective, it’s interesting. There have been some studies done that crunchy food and the act of crunching something with your jaw, the mechanical action of crunching down on a crunchy snack provides a sense of relief. There’s something about crunching down with our jaw on something that does provide a sense of emotional relief.

I find that interesting because when I’m emotional, I reach for something and I’m getting to the bottom of the bag, and it’s not pudding. It’s usually something crunchy. I do feel better for a little while afterward. It doesn’t let go, mask or eliminate the pain for me, but if I have a salty, sweet, crunchy thing for an hour or so, I do feel better. That’s another thing I have to be mindful of. With our students and community members, that’s something they’re struggling with because it’s come up in the assessment. I’m wondering for you, Whitney, is there a particular food if you’re feeling difficult emotions that you tend to flock toward?

I’m trying to think because I often experienced this hormonally certain times of my cycle, and I’m a little bit more lenient with myself on those days. Chocolate is a big one. What else would be? I like potatoes, but it’s funny how my feelings around potatoes changed a lot after doing keto for a while because I was really into potatoes for a long time in all forms. For many years, I’m loving french fries, potato chips, baked potatoes, fried potatoes, hashbrown, and any form. They’re very comforting food. It’s a popular thing. We used to have it in a lot of American restaurants and European restaurants. It’s such a commonplace food. We associate it with being comforted. It was something that’s due to the carbohydrates, oil, salt and all these other ingredients within a potato. I’m not talking about a steamed potato, there’s a big difference.

Mindfulness is really important. We have to check in with ourselves and decide what works best for us. Click To Tweet

For anyone who is not low carb and loves starches, potatoes are amazing. From a body size perspective, people have had successful weight loss results, even when they’re eating a ton of potatoes. I’m not saying this is a weight comment. For me, they weren’t making me feel good aside from the emotional side of it. That’s why after doing Keto, I recognize I only want to have potatoes occasionally. They’re not something I want anymore. That’s one of the benefits going back to this conversation around restriction. When you “restrict” or when you choose not to eat certain foods for an extended period of time, you might find that you don’t even want them.

To circle back to the alcohol side of things, I had a conversation with somebody else who simply did an experiment of not drinking alcohol for a month or two, and then recognized he doesn’t even miss it. He doesn’t drink it anymore. I don’t think he’s interested in drinking again because he doesn’t want to get back in that habit. To your question, Jason, I still associate potatoes with comfort food. I had some but I can have such a smaller portion of them and recognize I’m comforted from that smaller amount versus I used to binge a little bit more because my awareness wasn’t as high about what I wanted. Chocolate, on the other hand, I still get on the binge side of it similar to you, Jason. It’s not just the chocolate. It’s the sugar or the other ingredients that it’s combined with. I have a hard time portion-control with that.

Sometimes, when I want comfort food, I’ll end up eating all this chocolate and then feel like that wasn’t the wisest choice. My long-winded answer is also to say that we can find comfort in a lot smaller amounts and less frequent amounts of food. By bringing in some alternatives, we may find that it wasn’t about that food that we thought it was. Maybe it was more about the oil and salt than it was about the potato. Is there something else that makes you feel good that you can put oil and salt on? If you’re someone who’s trying to avoid oil, as many people are, you just wanted the fat content, what if you ate some nuts or some high-fat food like avocado or coconut instead and realized your body might have been craving fat. If you want salts, try more nutrient-rich salt like sea salt or something that has benefits beyond the salt flavor. Try with a little bit of it because your body might be craving salt, that’s why you want it. There’s nothing wrong by having some of it. That ongoing awareness can allow us to be comforted without going to such extremes.

It’s one of the things that I remember reading. It was the first time I learned about Dan Buettner’s work in The Blue Zones and his work about longevity. One of the things that he noticed in terms of digestion and caloric restriction was that people in the Blue Zones were not engaging in caloric restriction or fasting intentionally. They didn’t say like, “We’re going too fast and we’re only going to have a certain amount of calories.” He noticed that there was a certain philosophy of not eating until you were 100% full, in particular, the Okinawans and the Japanese centenarians that he saw there. For the readers, centenarians are people who live healthfully to the age of 100 and beyond. That’s who he was studying in these Blue Zones.

He said the Okinawans had a philosophy of gauging when they were about 80% full and stopping there. I remember reading that years ago and thinking I have been in the habit for many years of gorging myself not just on Thanksgiving or holidays, but I would consistently eat to the level where I felt such fatigue after a meal. It was almost like this scarcity consciousness of, “If I don’t eat everything on my plate now, when am I going to get my next meal?” It’s like my cat’s feeding time. When I sit down to feed my cats, especially the ones that lived on the streets like Figaro, it’s like, “I’m going to eat all the food now.” I’m like, “Slow down.” I remember back to how I used to eat and it was similar. I have to laugh about it right now because I had this voraciousness.

When I read the studies that Dan Buettner released, I thought I’m going to start stopping, try to eat slower, and listen to my body to see like, “You’re satiated but you’re not fully full.” Honestly, that made such a huge difference for me in not gorging myself to the point of feeling dilapidated after a meal like I can’t do anything. I don’t miss that feeling. I will do it every once in a while. We mentioned holidays. Holidays tend to be the time where sometimes I’ll default to that and just eat, and feel like shit afterward, but I don’t like the way that makes me feel. It’s interesting you bring that up in terms of our relationship to food. That’s been a huge pivot for me. It’s not eating myself into oblivion.

I can relate to that as well. I remember being a kid and I have this very strong memory of being at horse camp. I did a weekend camp experience with my school that they did for each grade. You got to go to this multi nights sleep away camp with all your classmates, which was fun. Aside from that, I went to a two-week-long horse camp because I rode horses growing up and had a pony. It was called Pony Camp in New Hampshire. I went to this and it was this posh upscale camp. Looking back, that was quite an experience.” I have this memory of eating there because I believe that we were served food buffet style.

MGU 178 | Self-Sabotage

Self-Sabotage: The most common self-sabotaging behaviors include procrastination, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of direct self-injury.

 

It’s such a fuzzy memory, but I remember being there and wanting to go back for seconds. It’s one of those memories that I’ve never verbalized before, so I struggle to share this. I remember feeling like I wanted more. I don’t know if it was traumatizing or it was a moment where I started to have more awareness. Somehow that experience got lodged in my brain for a time when I was thinking about wanting more food, and either not being able to have it or being able to have it and noticing. I was rushing through to eat my food so that I could go back and get more. I don’t know where that came from. It certainly didn’t begin with that camp experience. That camp experience is one of the times early in my life where I identified it. That scarcity mentality of like, “This food is so delicious, I would love to have more of it.”

I had this habit for a while of enjoying the food so much and eating it quickly because it tasted so good. Since I ate so fast, I still wanted more when I finished my plate, and then felt sad that there wasn’t more to have, or I got into the habit of eating quickly because I was anticipating that I would want more. At that time, I was ten years old or something like that. I didn’t realize that it takes some time for our brains to realize that we’re full so we still want more food even though our body doesn’t even need it. I was in this weird habit of like, “I’ve got to eat quickly so I can go back more because I want to have more pleasure.” It’s fascinating.

It’s this deeper examination of what’s motivating us. You mentioned pleasure. I mentioned this idea of scarcity of when my next meal will come, so I better eat everything and eat as much as I can. It’s interesting that you brought up buffets because what flashed on me was, and this is very specific, I went to a yoga retreat years ago at Kripalu in Massachusetts. I was there for four days. In addition to yoga and meditation classes, they had this unbelievably delicious buffet with vegan food, vegetarian food, and Ayurvedic food. It was so good. I would go back for 3rd and 4th. I was like a human vacuum cleaner because it was good.

I couldn’t stop myself, and yet it’s this clean and healthy food. There’s nothing processed in there. It wasn’t heavily salted. You and I have an inside joke, which we’re not outing about kitchari and there’s this place in Massachusetts called Debra’s that has the best kitchari. This kitchari and the Ayurvedic food they had at the Kripalu retreat was on par. It was so scrumptious that I’d get done with the yoga class. I’d be sweating my butt off in yoga, doing my pranayama, doing my meditation, and then I would shovel this food down my gullet. It’s like, “Is this healthy?” You did an hour and a half of yoga and meditation. You’re in this Zen peaceful state, and then you walk in the lunchroom. You see this buffet, and all of that Zen and all of that piece is out the window, and you’re just ravenous.

That contrast was interesting. It brings up one of the last subjects on the list that I want to touch on for this episode. It was the first one that popped out at me in the assessments, which was how often the term self-sabotage came up. I bring it up as a complement to that idea of doing this yoga class, being in this Zen state, and then flipping to this ravenous scarcity-minded like, “I need to eat as much food as possible.” One could perceive that as self-sabotage, but what comes up for me I remember the first framework I had around this concept was when I was in my early twenties. I was singing in a band in Detroit called the Big Four. My drummer in the band, Terry, who was older than me and the other members of the band, he was talking about his experience with being in a band that was signed to a label, touring and that whole lifestyle.

We were talking about what holds people back. He said, “I think it’s self-sabotage.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I think self-sabotage at the core is this battle in a person’s psyche between fear of success and fear of failure.” I thought that’s interesting. I remember he went on to explain that people say they want success, fame, money and influence but when they get there, they’re terrified and disappointed because it’s so much to manage. You think you want to be a billionaire, rock star or this but when you’re in that life, it’s like what Tricia Huffman talked about in her episode about A Life Without Should. Her experience being an audio engineer and touring with huge musicians. Many of them were unhappy and sad even though they had tens of millions of dollars and touring the world.

The fear of success part is a part of the self-sabotage of like, “When I get there, I’ll be horrifically disappointed, and then what was all that hard work for?” On the other side of it being fear of failure of, “I’m not good enough. I’m a piece of shit. I failed. My dreams are dead.” That was the real first explanation. That might have been when I was 22 years old of someone explaining their perspective on self-sabotage to me. I’m curious when I bring up that terminology, Whitney, what comes up for you when you think about self-sabotage?

We need to be very mindful about how we speak to one another about our experiences during this time. Click To Tweet

Nothing comes up right away because I don’t think I experience it that much in my life. It’s a fascinating thing to reflect on. Sometimes, I wonder if I self-sabotage in romantic relationships. I’ve tried to check in with myself about that and I don’t know if I do. Self-sabotage is tricky because a lot of it is unconscious or it’s deep down that it’s hard to recognize. We also have this tendency to be overly critical of ourselves and believe that we’re doing things like sabotaging when we might be in a habit that’s no longer serving us, or we are going through life and attracting certain people. Together, it seems like we’re sabotaging. In terms of relationships, I believe I’m doing the best that I can, I’m following my heart, I’m learning lessons, and I’m choosing people in my life that are teaching me something along the way.

It doesn’t feel it serves me to even think of that as sabotage. It comes down to your definition of sabotage too because right now I feel fulfilled. I also have examined this in terms of income and finances. For a long time, I was on this quest to make more money. One thing I recognized as I’m sharing this is I wanted to change my computer password. I’m going to put a to-do for myself to change my computer password. This is how I manage my life now. If I write it down in my to-do list, I will do it. Otherwise, I’ll forget it. It will take me weeks.

Years ago, I had this number that I wanted to achieve for my annual income. I picked this number based on a few people, one in particular that I admired as an entrepreneur. She shared her income which some entrepreneurs did for a while. I don’t know if any still do. It was a big trend in the entrepreneur world. I would look at these income reports and they would break down where all their money came from. I was like, “I’m capable of this too.” I see her whole strategy laid out. She’s giving me a roadmap and if she can do it, I can do it. I remember sitting down and coming up with a plan. Part of that plan was that I was going to have this goal of making X amount of money a year. If I focused on it enough that I would get towards it.

One of the things I did was I made it my computer password. For years, I have been typing that password into my computer every time it prompts me to. So much so that now it’s this unconscious thing that they’re just characters to me. They’re not even representing that goal anymore. I thought years ago that that would work. If I’m unconsciously thinking about this number every single day that I will get it. The truth is it didn’t work that way for me. That strategy did not benefit me much. It had some benefits of making me feel positive, focused or empowered, but it didn’t get me closer to that goal in the ways that I hoped it would. I was thinking that I’m ready to let go of that phrase because I don’t even have that goal anymore. I’m a lot looser about money. I feel more relaxed about it. It might be because I’m feeling more balanced with money at this stage of my life. I don’t want to make it such an intense experience of constantly trying to make a certain number.

This ties into the sabotage question. I had often wondered if I was getting in my way financially. Truth be told, maybe I am. I’ve also let go of that burden of feeling as I had to do something about it all the time. I had to examine myself and my belief systems. I went through all these trainings around money, energy, and Law of Attraction. I have tried many different methods of increasing my income. I found that when I laid off it, I allowed my life to unfold, I found more gratitude wherever I was, and I made ends meet however I needed to make that meet at that time that I felt so much better about money. I wasn’t so hard on myself asking like, “What is my financial block?” That was a constant question. How am I self-sabotaging my income? At this point in my life, I don’t know if I ever self-sabotage. Having money that isn’t there for me, that’s okay. I’m fine with that. I don’t need to make my life about money in that big of a way anymore.

That’s a great answer, Whitney. I wanted to share an article from Psychology Today that has their clinical definition of self-sabotage. It says, “Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in your daily life and interferes with your standing goals. The most common self-sabotaging behaviors include procrastination, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of direct self-injury such as cutting. People aren’t always aware that they’re sabotaging themselves. Connecting a behavior to self-defeating consequences is no guarantee that a person will disengage from it. It’s still possible to overcome almost any form of self-sabotage. There are behavioral therapies that can aid in interrupting, ingrained patterns of thought and action, while strengthening deliberation and self-regulation.” It’s interesting.

It says, “How do I know if I’m self-sabotaging? It can be difficult to identify self-sabotaging behavior, especially if the consequences might not immediately follow the behavior, making that connection unclear. One approach is to examine whether your behaviors are aligned with your long-term goals. If not, your behavior may be self-defeating. What are the different forms of self-sabotage? The common types we mentioned include procrastination, perfectionism, negative relationships, overworking, finances, time and change. For example, a perfectionist who wants to complete a task flawlessly may dismiss incremental improvements in their life, when making even a little progress would help accomplish their goal.” This is a longer article about how to stop self-sabotaging, how to identify it, and look at personality disorders that involve with it. It’s a great article.

On our website, you’ll see some great free resources including some video trainings on how to create a healthier relationship with social media, and three of our most popular eBooks. We’re proud of the work we’ve done, and we hope it resonates with you as well. We’re on all of the social media platforms. You can find us @Wellevatr. If you want to shoot me and Whitney a direct email, we do answer all of our emails. We don’t have a bot. The email is [email protected]. This was a good one, Whitney. This was juicy. I feel like ending on self-sabotage is a good one for me to reflect on how that’s showing up in my life. That gives me some extra food for thought. With that said, we appreciate you and your support. We will be back soon with another episode.

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