The Issue Underlying Self-Sabotage
What is a meta-addiction? It's the most insidious of subtle addictions... and in my opinion the most destructive. It's the subconscious motivation for overt addictions, and the means we use to punish ourselves constantly.
After the "Journaling" email (in my eLOVEation email service
), I received a reply from Lisa K, one of my first students in A Year & A Day: 53 Weeks to Becoming a Wiccan.
She had a really great point, and I thought you might want to hear about it.
"I have a strong aversion to journalling. It takes "too long". I guess that's me avoiding my crap, huh?
I've tried journalling many times. So far, I haven't stuck with it. I do that turning-to-my-addictions thing pretty regularly.
Guess I should give it another try. I know...if I'm avoiding it, it's exactly what I need right? "
Sounds all too familiar?
Well, that’s the whole problem with addictions… they’re very addictive!!
The Addiction Within An Addiction
If you're like Lisa and me, you already know WHY you want to do practices like journalling — or whatever you might be avoiding. You already know what it would give you, how you’d benefit from it, how your life would improve. If only you could sit down and do it.
And she's right... whatever practice you most want to avoid is likely the one with the greatest power of transformation in it for you!
But our inner child has other plans... like hiding out, shutting down, and numbing out.
We can't blame our inner children — last time they felt this way, the best they knew to do was hide and shut down and numb. It's up to us to show them there's a better solution.
Do you want to know what happens when you know
you want to do something better, but don’t do it? You start to judge yourself, even resent yourself.
What a crazy idea, right? Resenting yourself ??
Yet that’s generally what happens.
This is what I call the meta-addiction. It's the addiction within other addictions. It's perhaps the most subtle, and most destructive, addiction of all:
Beating yourself up!
Feeding the Shadow
When you're caught in this meta-addiction, you create a divide — a chasm within. There's the conscious, elevated "you" that wants to do better, and there’s this nasty addictive “you” that won’t go along with the plan.
The second “you” gets rejected as unwanted, unloved — it gets relegated to the subconscious, to the Shadow.
You can probably imagine 3 or 4 ways this creates even greater problems for you than the addiction in the first place!
(Of course, we’re talking about subtle addictions, like losing yourself in video games, texting, social media, movies, gossip, etc. More serious addictions like gambling, sex, and drugs — including tobacco and alcohol — bring great problems of their own. The process, though, can work the same way.)
Sadly, this habit is so ingrained that it's difficult to even notice it... at least at first.
Unraveling the Meta-Addiction
Here’s the good news:
The fact that you’re AWARE of the addiction automatically begins to loosen its grip.
Keep paying attention to when you’re yielding to addictive diversions! This helps them break down… eventually.
That’s really slow, unfortunately (although everything on Earth is ramping up to incredible speeds these days).
Meanwhile… the point of Power is:
Can you love yourself even though
you’re succumbing to addictive behaviours
rather than fulfilling your higher ideals?
If you bring compassion to the second “you” — the one who’s just not ready, for whatever reason, to reach for something beyond addiction — you are actually coming out ahead. You’re not feeding the Shadow, for instance. You’re staying integrated, staying in love, staying in higher vibrations and higher consciousness.
Think of the benefits of those differences! And notice how they automatically reduce the damages.
In other words, since you're doing the addiction anyway... you can make it worse by being harsh with yourself, or make it better by loving yourself despite your "flaws."
(Isn't that what we all truly crave? Being loved, no matter what? How wonderful that we can learn to give that kind of unconditional love to ourselves!)
EFT: High-Speed Unweaving
There’s another easy technique you can use to start undoing the meta-addiction, as well as other addictions. Do you know EFT or meridian tapping? (I have a booklet on EFT if you're interested in how to use tapping for emotional as well as physical challenges.)
I’ve done EFT with my tendency to medicate with cookies, for example.
I don’t bother fighting the temptation — I don't know about you, but I find that resistance is futile.
Instead, I just tap as I enjoy them.
- I tap on the fact that I’ve yielded to temptation
- I tap on the fact that I’m eating to medicate my feelings or relieve stress or take a break or whatever my motivations are (and there are usually multiple motivations)
- I tap on the fact that, yes, I’m eating cookies again
- I tap on my feelings of guilt or frustration
- I tap on my feelings about whatever in my life has me feeling a need to eat cookies
- I tap on my sadness about weight issues, my fear this might decrease my health, my feeling like there's something wrong with me for not being able to resist what I know isn't what's good for me, for doing something that I feel isn't the right choice...
- I tap on everything and anything that is related to acting on the addiction
It's amazing how this changes the meta-addiction, as well as the addictions! Without even trying to change.
And maybe that's the real secret of its success.
Choosing a Kinder Option
To put it plainly, there’s another option: you don't have to be hard on yourself or hate yourself for acting on addictive behaviour. Ironically, self-compassion actually more effective at reducing this meta-addiction than beating yourself up for it could ever be!
Anything must be better than beating up the innocent, defenseless younger-self within you.
Even numbing out. Just barely, though.
If you can do nothing else, please be kind to yourself!
Remember, you're doing the best you can in the moment,
even if that means leaving your inner child in control. It's not ideal, but the best you can do is the best
you can do... by definition!
With Brightest Blessings,