Stopping Self-Sabotage

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We all have things in life we’d like to achieve, be them certain dreams or goals, but never reach them.  Or perhaps started multiple projects but never finished them.  External factors withstanding, it may be the only thing that is standing between you and your success or progression in life is YOU.

Sometimes, despite the best intentions or even being the utmost capable, you could be sabotaging your own success.  And this could be from a variety of things – negative self-belief, unhealthy behaviours, fear of failure (or success), or any combination thereof.

This lack of confidence in yourself means you are your own worse enemy in your life, and maybe it’s time to tame that vicious beast once and for all.

Discover the ‘why’

Surprising as it may sound, some people actually self-sabotage out of habit or to keep themselves within a certain ‘comfort zone’.  It’s not necessarily intentional, not do they even really realise they’re doing it, but it can become somewhat routine.

One of the hardest things to determine is why you’re doing it and identify the areas it’s affecting.  You have to really dig deal inside to identify the basis for feeling unworthy or for shooting down your own success before you’ve even tried.  It could just something as simple as your own inner negativity attacking yourself due to a fear of rejection, ridicule or any number of self-limiting beliefs that could be holding you back from achieving your goals.

When in doubt, write it out

Journal_writing_coffee_journal_millsOne of the many benefits of keeping a journal, be it online in the form of a blog or even an old-school physical notebook, is that it allows you to fully explore things you’re feeling or situations you find yourself in, and you can take your time to extrapolate how you think or feel about them.

Basically, think of it as free therapy.

When it comes to this sort of journaling, it’s more about allowing yourself the space to write freely and express yourself openly without concern of judgement or over analysis.  You may want to keep all this person and for yourself (as opposed to publishing online for the world to read.. ), but this a decision only you can make.

And it’s not about being creative or writing to an audience.  This is truly and only about you and how you’re feeling or thinking.  It’s all about the expressing of your thoughts.  It could just a couple lines, or a couple pages.  Or it even could just be a doodle.

It’s your journal so you make the rules after all.

Don’t talk yourself out of it

Whether you realise it or not, you talk to yourself every day.  We all tend to have an ongoing inner monologue going on as the day progresses.  It could be about your behaviour, something you’ve overheard, thoughts about what to have for dinner, criticism of your own performance, or any number of things we all think about daily.

Self attackUnfortunately, this inner chatter can frequently turn negative, which in turn can demolish your self-worth and self-esteem.  And sometimes you don’t even realise it’s happening until it’s too late, and you’re already reinforcing any negative limitations you’ve placed on what you’re capable of in life.

It could arise in the form of guilt over some past experience, anxiety over something still to come, or hopelessness at our current situation.  Basically you have to be more aware of how often you talk down to yourself in your head, and actively adjust to thinking differently to build a more positive attitude about yourself.

No more apples and oranges

be diferentWho doesn’t compare their lives to those around them, and then start feeling inadequate or lazy because we haven’t achieved the same levels as someone else.  By doing this, you’re saying to yourself that the other person is ‘worth more’ than you, that they’re better than you.  And it’s utterly unrealistic.

This constant comparison is demotivating and will only lead you to feeling worse about yourself.  You’re lessening your own self-worth along with your own beauty or potential for greatness.  You need to remember that everyone is different, and that is what makes your life so unique – nobody else in the entire world has lived it!

So instead of imitating someone else’s success or behaviours, be true to yourself.  Realise your own authentic self and be proud of what you’ve achieved, or where you’re headed in life.

Be your own best friend.

You’ve all heard this before – you need to stop giving everyone else around us all of your life, time and attention, and start focusing on yourself.  You need to start allowing yourself time to be self-nurturing and truly enjoy your own company.  Spend quality time doing what YOU enjoy, and stop trying to please everyone else around you.

a789bff55ac029875a2b8c3a39e681d2Self-sabotage causes us to overlook other people’s issue or mistakes, and then tear yourself down for doing the exact same thing.  Is this right or fair?  Of course not because it just reinforces those negative limitations you’ve placed on yourself.

Instead, take the time for self-discovery.  Enjoy the journey to exploring yourself and your true potential.  Remind yourself regularly (if not daily) that you are an amazing person and you deserve to be the best ‘you’ you can be.

This article has been influenced by — http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/stop-sabotaging-yourself-5-easy-steps.html

For the Love of Cuddles..

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Beyond the stresses I’ve been having at work (read my previous post HERE), I’ve been feeling a bit stressed in my personal life.

Well, maybe stressed isn’t the right word.  Frustrated doesn’t quite cut it either.. or maybe I’m just confused or a bit bewildered at some things that have been happening.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been spending time with this guy I’ve known for well over a year.  The first few times were dinners at his place, with cuddles and kisses on the sofa afterwards.. Plus a bit of half-naked fun one of the times I went over.

tumblr_mexioueaij1qami9to4_1280Now as I said, we’ve known each other for awhile, but I’d never considered him more than a friend despite my knowing he’s had the hots for me since we met.. mostly because he’s not my usual type.

You see, he’s a bear.  A big, chubby/chunky guy who’s into other big guys… I’m generally attracted to more cubby or chaser type guys who may have a little bit of a belly (I’m realistic that I’m not going to attract a guy with a six-pack lol), but not big like me.

I was flattered and he was well aware that I wasn’t into other bears, so didn’t really press the matter.

Though we did have a bit of virtual fun one day last summer… but nevermind, that’s a completely different story. 😉

Anyway, what was surprising to me was how easy and comfortable it was to spend time with him.  He’s a lovely guy, a great cuddler,an amazing kisser (very very important lol) and he’s all over me in bed.  Not a bad thing lol.

And above all, I’ve really been enjoying his company.

In fact, after helping him move into his new place last month with a bunch of his friends, I ended up being his first overnight guest.. much to the surprise of his flatmate (a mutual mate I’m attracted to but never done anything with).  It was the first time we’d spent the night together.

beardy kissBut here is where I’m a bit concerned – Am I just using his generosity and his attraction to me as a way to boost my self-confidence?  Am I using him to just feel better about myself?  Am I using him for cuddles and some sexual fun to get myself past the sexual sabbatical I’ve had since the summer?

I do like him as a person.  Obviously the last thing I want to do is to lead him on, or let him think there’s something more there than just a bit of casual fun.  He’s a lovely, generous, sweet guy who’d make any guy a terrific boyfriend.  I just don’t know if that’s me.

I’ve been trying to not over-think it like I usually do, and just enjoy it for what it is.  And for the most part this has been working.

So.. since moving to the new place, I spent the night again the following weekend and then went over for dinner again the following weekend.

But imagine my surprise and frustration when he invited me over for dinner that following weekend to arrive at a mini dinner party with two of his other friends, and then he was going out to a club with one of them afterwards.

TheNewYorker-Cover-BertErnieMarriageEquality-(2013-07-08+15)None of which he’d told me before I’d agreed to come over.

You see, I’d been feeling a bit down that day and had mentioned I probably wasn’t good company because of it.  But he insisted I come over for dinner, so was expecting it just be the two of us for dinner, and then cuddling up to watch a movie.

And I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be sociable.  *sigh*

Guess it goes to show you really shouldn’t assume anything these days.  Now if only I knew where this was going, if anywhere…

Where’s My Motivation Gone?

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Sometimes we go through periods of feeling completely unmotivated, and just floating through life.  Day after day, it feels like we’re not accomplishing anything and the longer we let things lay to the wayside, the harder it is to pick it up again.  And to stick to it.

That’s the way I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks, like I have no motivation to do anything.  Or at least anything productive.

And that’s not a bad thing either.  Most of us have fairly busy lives and don’t take the time to relax or unwind.  Sometimes when life gets super busy, we just need a break from everything to relax and enjoy a bit of time doing absolutely nothing.

And trust me, I’m an expert at doing absolutely nothing.  😉

The thing is though, after awhile it can become mind-numbingly boring and you end up feeling listless.  You float through your days, doing as little as possible, and in the end you can sometimes feel like you’ve wasted your time doing nothing.

no-motivationAt least that’s how I’ve been feeling lately.  I’ve barely been writing at all, I haven’t been to the gym in well over a month, and despite a bit of activity on the social side, I still tend to spend my days off with my butt fully entrenched on the sofa.

Obviously I’ve needed the break, but it isn’t really any different than how I usually spend my weekends when I’m busy.  It’s scary how easily I can spend a full weekend without leaving the house (other than sitting in the back garden), and having the days fly by while surfing the net or watching movies/tv.

And barely talking to anyone.

Funnily when I am busy and out of the house a lot, all I can think of is having some time to myself, alone at home so I can read or relax on the sofa (think there’s a permanent butt print taking shape..).

And when I have one of those weekends where I don’t leave the house or talk to anyone, I get desperately lonely for some company.  Not just someone to chat to, but someone to cuddle up with while sinking further into that comfy sofa.  But that’s a totally different issue to feeling unmotivated..

I suppose the point of all this is I need to get back to motivating myself to do things I enjoy, be them at home or out and about.  Alone or with a few mates, it doesn’t matter, as long as I’m getting somewhere.

CarrotAnd I suppose some of this feeling of floating through life comes from this feeling I’ve had for many years of not having a direction to push towards.  Of not having an end goal in sight.  Of feeling like I’m just marking time until something happens, instead of making things happen.

And that’s the key right there – I need to make things happen in my life for me and not because I think it’s what I should be doing.  I need to find something to strive towards, and not spend so much time moaning or bitching about what I don’t have in my life.

But how to decide on a course of action or what path to take?  What do I truly want to accomplish in life, or at least over the next couple of years?  What self-imposed barrier have I erected to stop myself from taking that leap of faith and going for what I truly want?  Why haven’t I finished that novel, that online course I started ages ago, or that series of erotic short stories?

Why am I so afraid I might fail?

I suppose it all boils down to a lack of self-confidence in my own abilities or feelings of worth.  And that anything I put out there would truly be worthy of others wanting to actually pay money for.  That since there’s not a huge amount of traffic on this site, that others wouldn’t want to buy something I put out there when they could come here to read for free..

I just need to take a leap of faith and go for it at some point.  Otherwise I’ll spend the rest of my life wishing I’d taken a chance or wondering if it would have been worth it.

Besides, isn’t it better to regret trying and failing, than never trying in the first place?

Words-of-Encouragement

Affecting a Child’s Self-Confidence

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Right.. so anyone who truly knows me can tell you I’m not the most confident person in the world.  I’ve never had the best self-esteem or belief in myself growing up and this has carried over into my adult life.

It definitely doesn’t make life easy when you’re too timid to go for the things you want in life, cause some little part of you is always there whispering ‘What makes you think you deserve that?’.

OK, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but I think you know what I mean.

Anyway, I read this News Article on Yahoo this morning and it got me thinking about a child’s self-esteem.  And how parents and teachers can radically affect it in a variety of ways.

In this article, a Grade 3 student received a ‘catastrophe’ aware for the most excuses for not having her homework done.  Quite literally a negative award that was announced in front of her classmates, which prompted them to laugh at her.

Gotta love public humiliation in the school system..

However I can only imagine how embarrassed that kid is now that her mother has made the news about a silly negative award.. and it makes me wonder which would have the more negative impact on this child.

Growing up I was never popular or the kid everyone wanted to hang out with.  Sure, I had friends I’d play with at recess or after school at times, but I was never top on the party invite list.  In fact there were more than a few occasions where a ‘friend’ from school was having a party of some sort and I wasn’t invited.

Hell, that happens even now as an adult.  Always so much fun reading on Facebook how much fun a group of ‘friends’ are having here or there… Of course they’re not truly friends if you’re being purposely excluded.

But how did this happen?  I can only speculate of course, but I personally think it’s a combination of negativity from both my parents and my teachers growing up.. of a sort.

When I was in primary school, I admit I was a little smarty-pants.  I got good grades in every subject and I strived to be the best, especially at math and languages.  However, I got picked on for being smart and trying to be an overall good kid.. and not just from the other students.

I actually had a teacher who nicknamed me ‘Smarty-Marty’ when I was 6 or 7, and she used it again when I had her for a teacher at a different school when I was 12.  She was never encouraging, but had more of a ‘oh what a surprise, he got another good mark’ type of attitude.  If I remember correctly, I vaguely recall an incident where she actually made fun of me in front of the other students for being good at something (probably math).. and this was when I was 12 when kids are just starting to become aware of social stature and such.

How is publicly humiliating a child being a good teacher?  It’s not.

The effect of this?  Overtime I think I subconsciously stopped trying to achieve as much, became more of an average student for a lot of secondary school and into college.. which in the end has affected my ability to get a decent job/career and make a life for myself.

Then again, sometimes parents don’t realise how their comments can also affect a child. The most casual, seemingly innocent comment can cause scars on a child’s psyche.

I didn’t have a great childhood at all.  There are some stuff both my younger sister and I have blocked out (nothing horrible, we weren’t abused or anything), and there are things I remember that she doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents… now, but I didn’t when I was growing up.

I was always the odd one out, being the only boy in the family .. and I was regularly being compared to a brother that had never existed.  My dad and his first wife had had a son who’d died a few months after he was born, and my dad had created this fantasy in his mind as to what that son would be like grown up.

That’s right, I was found lacking compared to an idealised version of what my dad thought he would have been like.

Admittedly I don’t think he knew what he was saying or how it would affect me, but I remember growing up actually hating and feeling resentful towards this brother who hadn’t lived.  I felt like I couldn’t live up to this perfect fantasy brother, so why should I try as I’d only be a let down in the end.

How healthy is that?  It’s not.

To me, parents and teachers are meant to be encouraging with children.  I don’t mean boost up their self-esteem so much that they’re cocky or doomed to fail as adults because they’re overly confident.  And they most definitely shouldn’t be comparing them to their siblings, real or otherwise.

Instead they should be helping the kids be the best person they can be and do their best at everything they try.. while letting them just be a kid.  No pressure, no preconceived notions of how things will go (especially when they’re competing in something).

If only we could go back and live things over again knowing what we know now.

Repost: Choices

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Note: This is something I originally posted here, and was written a couple years ago as a self-motivational tool.  Thought I’d share it once more. 🙂

 

Choices. Life is all about them. They are all around us. You choose what to wear everyday, or whether to hit the snooze button in the morning, or even if you are going to be nice to the person behind the counter making your daily latte. You choose; nobody else.

It’s too easy these days to place blame on other people for the choices we make in life. Admit it; we all do it even when we try not to, or even when we don’t realize we’re doing it. An example would be blaming a friend for not watching out for you at a club and you end getting wasted, making an ass of yourself. Is that truly the friend’s fault? Did that friend make you drink, or get up on the speaker and drop your pants? No, the only person you can blame for your mistakes is you.

Here’s another example: You’re trying for a promotion at work, but the position is given to someone else that everyone knows isn’t qualified for the job but killed in the interview. Moreover, you’re informed that you need to show more confidence and leadership skills in order to get a promotion in the future. Who’s to blame for you not getting the job? Is it the boss’s fault for not seeing those qualities in you when you haven’t shown it to them? Is it the other applicant’s fault that they’re better in an interview setting? No, it’s all you. Who else? Be honest, you can have the best employee file in the world, the best attendance record, the best work evaluations, but if you can’t show to other people that you can do the job then why should it be given to you?

Choices are everywhere, and there’s no way to get away from them. Even if you try to get someone else to decide what movie to go see or which restaurant to go to, that in itself is a choice. You’ve just chosen to not make a choice, to try to put the choice on someone else’s shoulders.

Too often, as a society, we tend to sit around and whine about being alone, or being broke, or what have you. It’s become a part of everyday life for us. We’ve become a society of pessimists, always focusing on the bad stuff that happens to us. We don’t empower ourselves enough to take charge of our lives and change what we don’t like. At some point, we have to stop playing the blame game and choose to live life to the fullest.

If you’re lonely, you have to do something other than sit at home and complain about it, or sit at some bar playing a video lottery machine all by yourself. That’s just avoiding life. You have to be willing to put yourself out there to meet new people. Smile at a stranger. Stand at the bar instead of against the wall away from everyone else. Dance in the middle of the floor instead of at the edge. Be willing to meet a variety of people, whether you think they’re your type or not, because you never know when one of them may turn out to be the next love of your life, or may introduce you to someone who may be that person. And you have to understand that a meaningful relationship, although very satisfying, will not complete you. Only you can do that.

If you can’t afford to pay your bills because you go out partying every weekend, then don’t go out partying, or at least only take a small amount of money with you so you can’t over do it. Perhaps it’s your spending habits, so make a budget and stick to it. Cut out those things that really don’t matter, like the extra bag of chips or eating out a couple times a week, and use that money for something you truly need like ensuring you have enough airtime on your cell phone for emergencies. Empower yourself to say no to doing what you can’t afford. Ultimately, if you say yes and then you’re broke, what’s going to happen? You’re going to sit at home calling yourself names, putting yourself down for spending what you didn’t have. And that’s not productive.

It’s all about making the right choices in life, and it is true, sometimes we don’t make the right ones, but it’s also about making the best of the situation you’re in. Choose to be upbeat about life, choose to have fun, and choose to show yourself you can do something about it. Take charge of your own life, and lead yourself to where you want to go. Stop waiting for something or someone to come into your life to make it feel complete, and make it happen yourself.

Make a choice. Empower yourself to make that choice. Be bold. Be confident. Lead yourself to what you want in life. Because, in the end, the only person that will benefit from it is you.

Copyright 2007 by Martin P. Wilson

The Average Queer

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NOTE:  This was something I wrote ages ago for a gay men’s magazine someone I knew was looking into starting.  This was basically my prospectus for a potential regular column, but the magazine never happened, and I never wrote another ‘issue’.

The Average Queer by Martin Wilson

Question: Do you need to have the looks and body of Brad Pitt in order to possibly be considered a good lay in the gay community?

Does having a six-pack, a great butt and a sexy smile automatically mean that a person will be good in bed?

Hell, does it even mean that they are a good person or a good friend?

Ok, so that was three questions, but you get my drift. Our community, as a whole, tends to prejudge the people we meet almost completely based on how a person looks.

Gay men? Shallow? How shocking!

Now, before all you indignant queers start screaming for my head on a stick, let me say one thing: I do not expect everyone who reads this to agree with what I say, and I honestly hope you don’t. The whole point of this is to make you think about yourselves and those around you. And, perhaps, just to make you re-examine the stereotypes our community lives in.

Every person in the world has their own take on the things and events around them. And whether you like to admit it or not, all of us fit into some kind of stereotype.

I want to give you my view on our world because, you see, I am not one of the pretty people. I do not have a great body, the trendiest clothes, or even that much of a disposable income to spend on whatever catches my whim.

I am an Average Queer, and this is my view of things.

This is not going to be one of those columns where I bitch and complain about the privileged few or how I can’t get laid, so stop groaning already. Though, I do readily admit, I wish I was one of the good-looking crowd, and that is just my own insecurities coming to the surface. You can call it envy or what have you, but it is the truth.

Nevertheless, do not start think that I am going to sugarcoat everything with some happy Pride flag, because that is not me either. I do not love everything I see, so if that is what you are looking for, go elsewhere.

Instead, I am going to write about what I see, hear and read that makes me think. No topic – no matter how inane or outlandish – will be safe from my criticizing pen strokes.

Ok, so maybe I will bitch and complain once in awhile, but if that is what I have to do to get my point across, so be it.

Now, just because you are good-looking does not always mean that you are going to get laid more often that the rest of us, but it does seem to be true most of the time. See, another stereotype we all buy into.

I know we all have thought, at one time or another, that if only we were better looking, or had a better body, then we would finally snag that cute guy across the bar. So, off we go to buy trendier clothes, work out harder, or even go on the latest fad diet, just to try to get that cute guy to notice us for once. And I do admit that it might work.

But do you know what is really missing? It is not a funkier hairstyle, the newest Diesel shirt, or even that bit of extra cash for a round of shots at the bar.

It is one thing: self-confidence. Ultimately, we all fear rejection.

The worst that can happen if you actually make the first move on some guy is they may say no. It is not the end of the world, you know, and they may actually say yes. Wouldn’t that be truly scary?

And who knows, one of these days I may actually take my own advice. Perhaps when I see you, you beautiful person you.

Get off my ass!
Copyright 2007 Martin P Wilson