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  • Joshuah Ellis

How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy

Everybody says it. Everyone. We all acknowledge that we can be, at times, our own worst enemy. We tend to neglect, criticize, insult, and sabotage ourselves more than we would even consider doing to anyone else. In fact, we often try to help other people in our lives at the expense of ourselves. It’s an interesting phenomenon because while we are pouring all of ourselves into another person, we actually believe that we are being selfless when in reality it is more selfish to drain ourselves as that renders us utterly useless and thereby causes us to explode emotionally making us completely useless to those whom we try so hard to uphold.


The following are a few manageable steps that we can all take to combat the attitudes and behaviors that put us in direct opposition to ourselves and we will deal with them one by one.

1. Deal with self-neglect by developing self-care practices. This is non-negotiable. You have to take some time for yourself from time to time. Even as little as one hour per week can make a huge difference. Do something for you. Read a book. Watch Netflix. Paint a picture. Ride a horse. Go work in your woodshop (that last one is for me). Just. Do. Something. And, schedule it. Make it a part of your regular routine and treat it like it’s a work or family responsibility. Don’t skimp on this, and you will notice a positive change in your life.

2. Deal with self-criticism with logic. I tell my clients this all the time. They offer me this long list of unfavorable qualities they believe they possess and I respond the same way every time. Prove it. If a man is sitting in my office saying he feels like a bad dad, I say prove it. Think about the behaviors that would make this claim stand up in a court of law. While we all have areas in our lives we need to improve upon, that does not justify these generalizing and reductive claims we make about ourselves. If in the event you are able to prove your claim (this happens but not often at all), then you know what it is you need to work on.

3. Deal with self-insults by turning the tables. Would you say to another person what you say about yourself? Even if you believed it to be true, most of the time the answer is, “no.” What gives you the right then to say it to yourself. Would you allow another person to say it to you? Again, the answer is usually, “no.” Think about what you would say, in your defense, if another person said these things to you and turn those tables. Say that to yourself. Give yourself a break and be your own advocate for a change. You might be surprised.

4. Deal with self-sabotage with realistic expectations. You have to be fair to yourself. If you have scheduled 10 hours of work in an 8-hour workday, you’re doomed. You know what you are capable of for sure, but not even you can alter time. We do this to ourselves all the time. Take on more than we can handle and then feel like a failure when we can’t deliver. Desire and determination alone are not enough. Whether you are a small business owner, a CEO, a stay-at-home mom, or a tradesman, you can only do what you can do. Set yourself some realistic goals and then take credit when you meet them.

I would love to believe that this blog is going to ensure that you will never again be your own worst enemy. Thankfully, I’m not that naïve. However, it is my hope that by reading this you will have gained some tools that inspire you to be a bit kinder to yourself and thereby making you a bit more successful in life.

Be good to yourself, because you mean the world to somebody.

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