How I Stopped Sabotaging My Life and My Work
Several months ago, I joined a Facebook group and a 30-day Challenge lead by a fellow life coach.
This wasn’t the first time that I have signed up for a group or joined a challenge by another coach. I joined because I love supporting my peers with their programs. I was also curious and I believe that healing, self-love, happiness and life is a journey, one can always grow and improve. Besides I have really admired the work of this beautiful, wise and loving woman.
So there I was, in the middle of a group with other women—most of them not coaches, most of them beginning their healing and self-loving journey—receiving daily assignments, reading daily discussions, and connecting with the participants. But instead of healing, I had soon found myself sabotaging myself, my work, and my purpose.
I have always been super vulnerable, authentic, honest, and actually, rather blunt, outspoken and analytical. This is my nature. For good or bad, authenticity, honesty and vulnerability comes naturally to me. Sometimes it brings me trouble: and this is what had happened.
Though I was in the midst of traveling between countries during the challenge and wasn’t active on the page daily, sometimes I posted or responded to someone else’s post. Whenever I did, I didn’t receive the support and kindness I thought I’d receive. I didn’t feel the vibe I was expecting.
Did I do something wrong? Did they misunderstand me? Or was it possible that this was just simple not my tribe? Maybe. Maybe not.
Reading other conversations I didn’t even respond to, I also didn’t feel the vibe and awesomeness I had felt when first joined the group.
Was something wrong with me? Was I misunderstanding them? Were they not my tribe? Maybe. Maybe not.
I admit that I didn’t put that much attention to the group, I had a million other things going on, but still, I was confused.
Until, one day, when I received a message from the coach leading the challenge telling that she wasn’t feeling too comfortable regarding some of my comments, that I was hindering her work as a coach.
Was I surprised? Maybe. Maybe not. I guess I wasn’t the only one being confused about my place in this group.
My first inner-reaction was: f*ck that. This is not my tribe. I was just simply being myself: vulnerable, honest, authentic, questioning, analytical, outspoken, blunt, and curious. I was being myself. And even if they are not always serving me, I’ve learned to love and embrace these qualities of me. So f*ck that. If they can’t take it, it is their problem. I was being myself. If it is not appreciated, it is not my place. Besides, I was coming from love.
I was ready to quit the group, without a reply. Then I stopped for a moment.
“Besides, I was coming from love.”
All my comments, even if they were sometimes too authentic, too analytical, or too blunt for the members of the group (many whom are very new to being vulnerable and honest): I was coming from love. Maybe, just maybe, my love wasn’t coming through. Maybe, just maybe, I was actually projecting some negativity into the group unintentionally, without even knowing about it? Maybe…just maybe… Maybe, just maybe, I was actually sabotaging my life and my work?
This made me think: think deeply, feel deeply, and sit with it for a bit.
The truth was that I was jealous of this coach. In many aspects—in our stories, personalities, approaches—we are very different. But in many other aspects, we are so similar. Sometimes I completely recognize myself in her stories, and—if she has been truthful—she has recognized parts of her story in my articles too. We have been both through hell and back, perhaps different hells, but both of our hells included depression, self-hate and self-destruction. We both chose differently: choosing life and healing, instead of dying or simply surviving. We chose love. We chose service.
She is also a writer: an amazing one. We are both super authentic and not afraid to be vulnerable. We share our stories and write our hearts out to serve the greater good in the efforts of helping other women heal, love themselves, and be happy. We are both coaches: and learning more about her work, we use very similar tools and techniques to allow clients learn self-love and live an authentic, happy life.
I have recognized some of myself in this amazing woman. But instead of simply looking at her as an inspiring colleague or friend, I have felt jealousy. In my mind, she was clearly more successful than me. She has been coaching for longer than I have, she acts successful, and for crying out loud, she has a book published (while I am just working on my first one).
I was not only jealous, but I didn’t feel good enough comparing myself to her. I started to feel like that the whole world—the whole group—was comparing me to her. I felt like I wasn’t measuring up. I wasn’t good enough and no way in hell I will ever be good enough.
This was happening subconsciously. And subconsciously, my comments that meant to be loving, helpful, and curious became sabotaging, hurtful, and damaging.
I had to sit with this recognition for a while: I was jealous and I wasn’t feeling good enough. Now I was angry at myself too: I thought I was over this. I thought I was over sabotaging my well-being and my work by comparing myself to other coaches.
How can I compare? I have no idea about her life. Sure, she started her business several years before I did, so from that standpoint she has more experience in coaching than I do.
(But did I just completely forget all my experience as a peer counselor, educator, social researcher, and teacher, not to mention, my personal life and healing experiences I bring to the table?)
Just based on the number of years she has been coaching, she has likely had more clients than me.
(But I can’t just magically increase the years I’ve been coaching!)
I see that she is getting amazing feedback from people.
(But so do I. The feedback and love I get from those I have coached or have read my articles, bring tears to my eyes.)
But, other than that: I don’t know her behind the scenes. I don’t see her bank account, her goals, her missteps along the way, her successes, her struggles, and her happiness.
I am making assumptions, but I don’t know anything. I can’t compare myself to something I don’t know about. I can’t compare myself to someone I only know through social media and blog posts. I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone. Everyone is unique with their unique personality, role and purpose in life. We are all amazing and we shouldn’t compare ourselves. Comparison is a form of self-sabotage that is self-destructive and painful.
I thought I was over this self-destructive “comparison-game” a long time ago. Now, that I realized that I was falling back to old patterns of comparisons, feeling jealousy, feeling not enough. I was angry at myself.
For a moment, I felt super low. How could this happen? What can I do?
Again, I sat with my thoughts and my feelings for some days.
Then I messaged her back, opening up, doing what I am so natural at, being vulnerable and honest, sharing with her how much I value her work, how much I can relate to her, but that I was realized that I was comparing myself to her, I was feeling jealous, I wasn’t feeling enough, and perhaps this brought on unintended negativity. I have received an authentic response back, which I’ve greatly appreciated. We exchanged few more words. We are at peace now.
But I still couldn’t close the file. The story didn’t end here.
I recognized my old patterns of jealousy, not feeling good enough, and then being angry at myself. I had shared my feelings and thoughts with her. She had shared hers. We made peace.
But something was still missing: making peace with perhaps the most important person in my life—myself.
I was still sabotaging myself through negative emotions of jealousy, inadequacy and anger. This had to end: I knew I had the power to choose otherwise.
Recognizing my patterns and sharing my feelings wasn’t enough to change them. I couldn’t make peace with them, thus I couldn’t let go of them, without understanding them more, or without recognizing a higher truth.
So, again, I sat with my thoughts and feelings. Eventually I just sat with nothing. For hours. I journaled. I journaled and mediated my way through my difficulties, when the higher truth hit me.
Suddenly I realized—or I should say—remembered: the higher purpose and the real reason behind it all.
Love. Holistic happiness. Service. Purpose. Other people.
I believe in love. I am not talking about romantic love either. I believe in the loving Universe, the love that connects us all, the love that is like air, necessary for our survival, the love that feeds our soul, the love that circulates between us, and the love that we are. We are all made of the same energy and feed on the same love circulating in the Universe.
So how can I be jealous of someone who is giving the love you and I feed on, who is feeding on the love you and I are giving?
My purpose as a coach, as a writer, as an educator, as a friend, and just simply as a human being is to love at the best of my abilities. If there is love, there is no room for jealousy, anger, and negativity.
I believe in happiness. I believe that happiness is not a destination we arrive at then we sit in it holding a glass of wine and looking at an endless sunset. I believe that happiness is more than just occasional joyful moments and laughs. Happiness is a holistic concept and a way of life.
Holistic happiness involves the mind, the body, and the soul. Holistic happiness doesn’t mean that life is problem-free. There will be ups and downs. Perhaps major downs and incredible ups. There will always be an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to heal.
Life is a journey, healing is a journey, and happiness is a journey.
Holistic happiness is simply a mindset of trusting life, not giving up, believing in purpose, and feeling contentment no matter what, in ups and downs. Holistic happiness is constant learning. Holistic happiness is a continuous mindful practice. Holistic happiness is loving and being love.
I am here to be happy, to be holistically happy and to guide others to holistic happiness. And there is no room for jealousy, feelings of not good enough, comparison and anger in holistic happiness.
I believe in service. Coaching and writing is my way of serving. Every day I wake up, every time I write, every time I talk to a new client, every time I teach, I ask myself the one question: how can I serve? Coaching, writing, loving and living are not about me. It is about others. It is about everyone. My purpose is to really serve others, so they can make a difference in their lives, so they can feel more happiness, more love, more health, and to soul by soul change the world to better, more loving, happier, healthier and more peaceful one.
This is my purpose.
Then it hit me: this was the purpose of this other coach too—to love and to serve. So why would I compare myself to her? It is not about the numbers: it is about the higher purpose: love and service.
This higher purpose of serving and loving is much more important than the number of experience we have, the amount of money we earn, the number of clients we enrolled, the number of articles we published, or anything else.
It is not about her. It is not about me. It is not about us. It is not about other coaches. It is not about numbers. It is not about money.
It is about the best each of us can do according to our circumstances and abilities. It is about the best that we can do together. It is not about us as individuals, but it is about what we can do, how can we serve, how can love, how can we connect for the higher purpose.
It is about the higher purpose.
It is about the greater good.
It is about other people.
It is about love.
It is about service.
When I remembered the higher purpose of life, the real reasons behind being a coach, a writer, and an educator, suddenly all my self-sabotaging negative feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and anger had lifted off my shoulders.
I felt free.