by Rachel Kobin
Late at night, after another day of moving so little my whole body hurt and topping it off with a snack I knew would upset my stomach, I did what many of us do in this situation—I searched Google for “Self-sabotage.” On my most recent foray, I came across the article “30 Types of Self-Sabotage (and What to Do About It)” by Alice Boyes, Ph.D. The article included a quiz to determine which types of self-sabotage challenge you the most. At first, I was dubious about taking it because most quizzes leave me feeling worse. This one helped me determine what to focus on and made me feel hopeful rather than overwhelmed.
Despite how positive I felt after taking the quiz, I missed other articles I had read that went into more depth and took a more compassionate approach. I found one I can recommend: “The Fascinating Reason We Sabotage Ourselves and Hold Ourselves Back.” The author, Debra Mittle, explains how procrastination and self-sabotage are survival mechanisms we can learn from to bring more joy into our lives. The author convinced me to invite my “worst” dance partner inside rather than showing her the door.
After all of that reading, I brought my awareness to my approach to solving my self-sabotage problems. I concluded Google is great, but it’s not the same as having a good talk with a friend. Then I remembered I had neglected to get back to a girlfriend who wanted to have lunch with me. This is another thing I do—I feel lonely and then realize I haven’t reached out to anyone. I’m not sure where I saw this self-help tip or if I made it up, but I think I need to make an appealing little drawing or collage that shows all the people in my life who make up my community. And I will not call that procrastination because there’s nothing more important to my physical and mental health than nurturing the relationships I have.
Rachel Kobin is the Founder and Director of the Philadelphia Writers’ Workshop and has facilitated creative writing workshops and provided editing and coaching services since 2011. Read her most recently published poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction in the anthology, Through the Looking Glass: Reflections on Madness and Chaos Within.