For many of us, it can feel uncomfortable facing the mystery of life—the existential questions of what’s really going on around us or what happens when we die. So we develop habits and strategies to try and fill the void of not knowing, rather than facing uncertainty, fear, and anxiety head on.
Often we choose a distraction: wasting time on our phones, eating mindlessly, focusing on other people. Sometimes, a distraction can be useful—when it allows for a pause or a moment to reset—but when it becomes dominant or habitual, it can turn into what I call a crime against wisdom: knowing deep down that an action or idea is not helpful and pursuing it anyway. Some would call this self-sabotage.
When we recognize these destructive behaviors and choose a healthier path, we may still encounter obstacles. For instance, when I am called to make a one-degree shift to help me live with greater alignment, often the first feeling I encounter is resistance. When unwillingness rears its head, I get extra curious about what’s going on. I think of my resistance like a gremlin—a self-sabotaging part of me that doesn’t want to let go of a habit or do the real work necessary to evolve.
Practice Recognizing Self-Destruction
- Think about areas in your life where you may be ignoring your own wisdom. For example, perhaps you stay up too late.
- What is the impact? Maybe you feel exhausted, unfocused, or inattentive during the day.
- Identify a one-degree shift you could make that could lead to a healthier outcome. Perhaps, for example, committing to a 10 p.m. bedtime and setting a reminder on your phone to help you stay accountable.
- What is the potential value of staying committed to making this shift? Maybe you’ll end up feeling more alive and refreshed and having more energy.
- What are the tangible benefits? When you feel refreshed, you might be able to get more done, appreciate your day more, or be more present with others.
About the author
Coby Kozlowski is a speaker, life coach trainer, and contemporary yoga and meditation educator. She is a senior faculty member and presenter at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and Esalen Institute. She has a master’s degree in transformative leadership from Lesley University. Learn more at cobyk.com.
Book excerpt from One Degree Revolution by Coby Kozlowski. Copyright (c) 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Essentials.
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