My Own Worst Enemy

40 Questions We’re Afraid to Ask – #28

In what way am I my own worst enemy?In what ways am I my own worst enemy?

We all do it from time to time.  We get so close to allowing something good to come into our life, or we come close to reaching a goal (even a little one), and bam!  We do something that causes the whole thing to come crashing down.

It’s called “self-sabotage”.

We don’t necessarily do it consciously.  In fact, more often than not, we may be totally unconscious that we are doing anything wrong at all.  We may even go so far as to put the blame for any failure on someone else our some situation we think is beyond our control.

Psychology Today calls self-sabotage “the enemy within”.

Everyone does it sometimes. Some do it regularly—shoot themselves in the foot or put obstacles in their own chosen path. Behavior is self-sabotaging when, in attempting to solve or cope with a problem, it instigates new problems, interferes with long-term goals, and unsettles relationships.

This has got to be one of the hardest questions
one can ask oneself.

“In what way am I my own worst enemy?”

I think one of the best places to start to find possible answers is to take a serious look at your current circumstances, if they are less than perfect, and see if you are putting the blame on someone else or some situation that you believe is out of your control.

On another note, however, the answer to the question is quite simple really . . .

We think too much!

thoughts become thingsMore and more it is being proven — and this has been at the heart of every major spiritual tradition throughout history — that we create our own reality, that our own thoughts become our own experience.

In a previous post, I asked the question, “If I were to look into the heart of my enemy, what would I find that is different from what is in my own?” and I suggested that what we see in others is very often a mirror of our own selves, that the faults we see in others are the same faults we refuse to see in ourselves. 

Eckhart Tolle, who is someone I often quote, tells the story in the introduction to his book The Power of Now of how one night, when he was a young man in his twenties, woke up in the middle of the night in absolute total depression and found himself repeatedly saying, “I cannot live with myself any longer.”

This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind.  Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.”  “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”

Well, if we put that into context of today’s question, if one of those parts of me— the part with which I continually fight and make my enemy — is not real, then who is the real enemy?

The real enemy is the stories about myself that I continually repeat in my mind — whether it be consciously or subconsciously.

The negative stories that I’m undeserving, that I’ll always be fat, that I can’t succeed in anything, that I’m dumb, that I’m not as smart as the other guy, that I don’t have the connections that I need to make the next move, that if I leave this relationship I’ll never find another one and I’ll end up living the rest of my life as one of those lonely bums, that if I speak up I’ll lose face, that I need those drugs in order not to be depressed and to able to cope with this crappy life of mine, and on and on ad nauseum.

Rather than being my own worst enemy, perhaps it’s time to become my own best friend.

After all, I am the only constant in my life, the only person with whom I perpetually live, twenty-four-seven, from the moment I’m born to the moment I die.

In the introduction to A Course in Miracles, it says “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.”

Our real power to change lies nowhere except within ourselves.  If there truly is only one real part of us, the “I AM”, then the enemy doesn’t exist other than in our negative, hurtful and unproductive thoughts.  Change those thoughts and discover the enemy is no longer there and we face no threat.

Steve Vernon photo

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