I can be very organized in a lot of things. I can be very disciplined and really and truly commit to doing something and actually see it through. I committed to training football on my own like a pro would (I actually trained with pros in Costa Rica so I kinda know the drill). But when it comes to self-destruction, I have won a few and lost others.
Nothing gets in the way of my training, every time I see self-doubt I will punch it in the nuts. But the thing with self-destruction is that it’s habit, and a subtle one. It’s a habit that becomes second nature thus making it hard to spot.
Show me a cycle that you want to break, and I will show you a self-destruction habit. I haven’t really explained what I mean by self-destruction because I think it’s self-explanatory, but I will add that for today’s tale this is what I mean by self-destructive behavior “stuff that we do that counterpoises something that we want to achieve”. You could also call it self sabotaging behavior if it feels better.
For the longest time I used to have a chronic fatigue syndrome. It would make me feel cranky and tired all the time. I just wanted to sleep but sleeping was very difficult to do, I just couldn’t fall asleep so as a result I was tired, chronically tired.
Most days I will wake up happy, but then, as the hours start to pass by, my energy levels would not be optimal and that would make me not want to work. I was self employed so every time I couldn’t work, I was losing money, but most importantly, I was feeling bad about myself. There were also days in which I would not be able to workout as I know I could, because I was not feeling energetically in a good level. You gotta understand, sports and exercising are part of my identity. They are everything I have been doing since I was a little kid. Not being able to play or to exercise was not only weird for me but it was grounds for depression.
I know I wasn’t a pro athlete, but I lived and died with sports, not being able to do that is a feeling not of powerless but of death; Death of your purpose, uniqueness and of your place in the world.
I have hypothyroidism, a metabolic chronic illness that affects your energy and makes you feel tired. If you look at it from a medical perspective you could say I had every right to feel tired and you would not be wrong, but I didn’t lure you to this post for nothing, did I? You see, maybe I am not guilty of having an illness, but I am guilty of not taking that illness into account when designing my lifestyle.
I started noticing that I didn’t have a sleeping routine neither an eating routine. That’s bad enough when you are a healthy person, but probably the symptoms and problems that come with it will take more time to develop and you could probably live with them even if you don’t like them, but for a person with my condition it’s like dooms day every day. Well, not quite, there are far worst illnesses than this one, but man, it could lower your quality of life a lot.
At that point I identified that not having a sleeping and eating routine was a problem, but how come a person like me, who is very disciplined, manage to screw up in something so easy to do, at least for someone so used to sticking to routines? It didn’t make any sense. And then something happened: A revelation. An enlightened moment. I realized that my life wouldn’t collapse if I stayed home instead of going out with my longtime boyfriend. Hang on in there, I will explain.
My boyfriend has his own architecture company; thus, he has developed a very specific way of working. He has the freedom to choose his working schedule -at least for the creative and designing process he does- and turns out that the kid loves working at night. Every time I stayed at his house, he will be working in his room with the lights on, I couldn’t fucking fall asleep with those conditions. Worst, come the morning, after a shitty night sleep I wasn’t able to wake up at the time I had to wake up to take my medicine. To add on, because he probably went to bed at 3:00 a.m. he would be waking up until 10:00 a.m. And at that time, I have to work, we were not going to be able to have quality time together and that made me angry. To make matters worse, lots of times he didn’t have anything in his house to cook, so by the time he woke up I was hungry, sleepy and cranky and all I think of was to get back to my house and work.
The thing about what I am telling you is that a lot of the time I had work to do but I couldn’t do it because
1. I wasn’t in my house
2. I was already fucking tired and angry at Kevin (the boyfriend) by the time I got home
3. I usually arrived late at my place and that messed up with my routines which made me feel angry at myself and then angry at him again and then angry at my illness and then angry at myself
So one day, after we went out for dinner, he told me he was going out with his friends and he said that if I wanted to go I could. Naturally because I felt we weren’t spending good time together and actually having fun, I felt like it was a bad decision on his part, because I knew he wanted to go out with his friends and that’s not really my scene. I have seen that movie a lot of times; I was just going to get bored. But then it clicked on me, if I didn’t go out with him I could go to bed at the time I have chosen for me to do so, I could wake up in my house, where there is always good and nutritious food to eat, and hey, my office is there too; I could fucking finish my work.
Although I did want to go out with him, mostly because I love having a few bears, the prospect of staying in my house, with all those advantages that that meant, seemed like the right thing to do for me. And that night was the first night I said no to going out on a drinking night with him (no, I don’t have an alcohol addiction I have a going out addiction) and felt sure that’s what I meant.
All about that metabolic routine…
It was the beginning of something good. Once I put my body into a routine my energy levels started to stabilize, and I could keep on exercising and get back to being productive again.
Staying at home made me realize other things as well. I notice that I was not having enough time on my own, because most of my social life was composed of things, I did with him. Part of the problem was that I was going out too much with him, and not doing things on my own, with my people or alone. I took the time to have a conversation with him about it and I asked him to imagine how he would feel if he had to spend most of his free time with my family and friends and he knew then that that would be depersonalizing for him as it was for me. Even though my friends are men and my boyfriend loves them, I needed to have alone time to just enjoy who I was with the awesome and ridiculous people I call my squad.
As for me sleeping at his place, we came up with an arrangement that works well for both of us, which worked wonders for my mood as well.
Bottom line dude, you gotta respect your own boundaries, if you jump them you are acting against the thing you want to achieve. You are being self-sabotaging.
Nowadays, I try to be very aware of my needs and routines. I am very mindful of respecting my routines because I know that disrespecting them creates another kind of routine, the bitchy routine. The one that meant me being tired and angry all the time because I didn’t sleep or eat in a way that my sick body would benefit from. The one in which I couldn’t say no and so causing all kinds of consequences. The one of me not respecting my socializing and alone time needs, resulting on me feeling sad and angry at the same time.
I knew that staying at his place would mess up with my routines and I did it anyway, that’s self-sabotaging. I am happy to say that now I get to be a bitch because I want to and not as a result of self-sabotaging.
What about you mate? In which ways are you self-destructive?