Have You Ever Considered That You Are Your Own Worst Enemy?
Could it be that you are your own worst enemy? Or do you perceive yourself as your own best friend?
As much as we wish, deep down, we know the first choice is closer to the truth.
Unfortunately, we think that being our own harshest critic is a positive strategy. That it is a realistic way to live, and it allows us to be flexible with the ideas and opinions of others. More importantly, it requires no effort.
What we overlook here, though, is that our perceptions and beliefs have a significant hand in creating the life we live. While we may not be conscious of it, we have to choose to turn off our autopilot and steer our feelings and thoughts.
“Our best friends and our worst enemies are our thoughts. A thought can do us more good than a doctor, a banker, or a faithful friend. It can also do us more harm than a brick.” ~ Frank Crane
Let’s take a look at the signs suggesting that you are your own worst enemy.
1. The Wrong Trust
Do you tend to trust the opinions and ideas of others more than you trust your own? If so, it’s a sign that you are our own worst enemy. Rather than thinking (or standing up) for yourself, you nod along. It would help if you learned to trust your instincts. You shouldn’t believe the opinions of others just because they seem confident or forceful. If you are your own worst enemy when it comes to judging or criticizing, choose to listen, and to believe something else. You are responsible for your thoughts, so make them positive.
“People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn’t stop you from having your own opinion.” ~ Anne Frank
2. The Wrong Values
Are you someone who places more value on the comfort of others? You don’t want to speak your mind because you’re afraid of alienating others. You hold back from getting things off your chest because you don’t want to upset others. You’re making yourself anxious by valuing others over yourself. You can speak your mind constructively, but it may require practice. However, your inability to do this is setting you up as your own worst enemy.
Do you have the expertise to share with people, but you are holding yourself back because of insecurities, doubt, and shame? You think you don’t know enough to be an expert or are afraid you might not be able to answer all the questions. You can be OK with the fact that you’re not perfect. You can be OK with messing up. You can be OK with having values you stand for and the goals you want to accomplish, regardless of what those around you think. So stop! Start practicing using your voice for a positive outcome.
3. Unrealistic Demands
Do you place unrealistic demands on yourself? Do you fall flat on your face and wonder why you keep failing? The two are related, and our inability to recognize this is holding us back. We don’t need to guilt and shame yourself for failing to meet impossible standards.
Have you been having a buildup of problems and difficulties? Do you feel tired, alone, and angry at the injustices and unfairness? Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Has this been going on for a long time? Would you like a way out and some relief?
May I suggest some rest. As Walter John De La Mare says, “What the will and reason are powerless to remove, sleep melts like snow in water. “According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 74 million American adults suffer from some form of sleep loss. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed get less than seven hours a night of restful sleep. Go easy on yourself and take time for some self-care.
4. Identifying With Your Thoughts
Do you identify with your thoughts and feelings? Do you fall into the trap of buying into the role(s) you feel expected to play in the lives of others? You identify with these temporary things and overlook the core of who you are as a person. When you can’t identify with a feeling, then you can’t identify with how others view you. Who do you believe you are?
The problem with not being who you are is that it holds you back from significant challenges. You’ll find that no matter how to big or how small the challenge is that you can adapt. When you adapt to an enormous situation, you evolve.
“When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t.” ~ Unknown
5. A Savior
Are you waiting for someone else to swoop in and save you? Often this manifests in endless complaints with no apparent want or desire to make a positive change. Why find a solution when you can loudly suffer and draw attention to your victimhood? It might not be your fault per-say, but it is your problem. Only you have the power to make the necessary changes to take control of a situation.
Understand that fear is normal-but your need to move forward. In her book, A.B. Curtiss Depression Is A Choice, shares some insightful words: “If the three most important things in real estate are location, location, and location, then the three most important things in mental health are perception, perception, and perception.” Be aware that you can be your own worst enemy by not accepting the responsibility to make changes and find solutions to issues you face.
6. No Acceptance
Do you try to police yourself into doing, acting, and being better? Do you tell yourself this is a positive thing to do, and it’s only about improving yourself? While there is nothing wrong with progress, it’s equally important to accept yourself as you are. That doesn’t mean that you’re giving up on growth. Policing yourself will only create fear, and while your intention may be different, the manifestation is inherently harmful.
Sometimes, when life doesn’t seem fair. You experience disappointment and witness events you can’t make sense of or understand. When circumstances are out of your control, or when you’ve done everything in your power to have things go a certain way, accept that it’s OK when things don’t go as planned. Adopt a belief that everything happens for a reason. And when you make mistakes, look for the lessons that can be learned instead of beating yourself.
Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” When things don’t go as planned, refocus your attention toward the new possibilities or opportunities that surface as a result.
Sometimes your self-sabotage makes you your own worse enemy when you have to face the fact about something you’re neglecting. For example, you have an opportunity that will lead to a larger salary. You refuse it because having more money means you can afford to go out and do things. The truth of the matter, though, is that you’ve lost touch with your closest friends. You’re socially awkward, and you have to own up to your loneliness. It is an extreme example, but you are guilty of self-sabotage to varying degrees. You think nothing of holding yourself back in one area of life because you’re too scared to address a neglected area.
The bottom line is you are not responsible for what happens to you, but you are accountable for your thoughts and attitudes about what is going on in your life.
Worry never climbed a hill,
Worry never paid a bill,
Worry never dried a tear,
Worry never calmed a fear,
Worry never darned a heal,
Worry never cooked a meal,
It never led a horse to water,
Nor ever did a think it “oughter.” ~ Jo Petty
I have to admit. Focusing on the positive rather than the negative is not easy. It’s plain hard work and requires focus and a lot of courage. Focusing on yourself can lead to anxiety. When you think of others, our concern is more likely to go away.
You are powerful, more than you may realize. Your potential is limited only by one factor: Yourself.
Do you know that everything in your life is the product of your choices, your outlook, attitude, and behavior?
How does that make you feel?
Those limiting beliefs about yourself creep in to limit you. So, strive to be your best friend to believe in, love, care, and build yourself.
When you do, you can resist being your own “worst enemy”.
I am Shirley Noah, an internationally known stress expert and entrepreneur. I would love to connect further with you to help you improve your health and wellbeing. If you are interested in learning more about your self-talk, please take a look at my popular E-course, Optimize Your Self-Talk.