Self-Sabotage When Things Get "Too Easy"

Thanks to Scholars I keep pushing myself to grow and change and keep revealing tricky new forms of self-sabotage. I’ve gone from telling myself that something is “too hard” to telling myself that I don’t deserve it if it’s too easy.

I thought keeping a clean house would be too hard. When I found out I could create a plan that would allow me to do it in 30 minutes a day, I told myself that 30 minutes a day means it is too easy and not worth doing. (And then later found out that was ridiculous — having a clean house makes every part of my day easier!)

I thought if I stuck too a food protocol 100% I might not lose weight, and that would be awful. Instead, I rapidly lost 5 pounds — then reacted by overeating. I couldn’t figure out why I was reacting that way and then something happened that revealed the thought underneath this pattern to me.

I was criticizing myself for how few hours I work per day. Now that I work from home, no one really keeps track, as long as my projects meet deadlines and I respond to my messages and email. But I keep track and was really ashamed by how few hours per day I work. Then, my boss randomly called me and gave me a huge amount of praise and said she’s going to recommend I lead a new, exciting project. I absolutely lost it and overate all weekend. I still cringe with shame every time I think of this, rather than feel any pride. I feel guilty, like I got away with something. So I guess the underlying thought is, “I don’t deserve something unless I work painfully hard for it.” And if I get it too easy, I smother the results.

I know on the surface this just sounds like neurotic self-sabotage, but I think there’s probably a mountain of beliefs under there about what people, including myself, “deserve to have.” People only deserve to have things they work hard for. Successful people who don’t work hard are cheaters. No one likes a successful slacker. Obviously these thoughts generate results I don’t like. But how do you dismantle a belief that seems rooted in morality, like fairness and cheating?