12 Signs You Are Your Own Worst Enemy

by Brianna Wiest

It's much easier to be your own enemy than your truest friend, and it often seems like a better idea. It's safe, it prepares us for other peoples' opinions and ideas, it's "realistic," it's obvious, it's... effortless. Something that tends to slip past a lot of people is that your thoughts and your ideas and your beliefs and your perceptions are creating your life, even if you're not conscious of it. The car is on autopilot, the point is to realize that you're the one pressing the gas, and at any point, you can choose to steer.

Loving yourself is being your own best friend, your own caretaker, your own confidante and your own source of fulfillment. It's a heavy task to get there, and it's something we're usually discouraged from: people want us to buy into the idea that external happiness yields genuine fulfillment. It keeps the consumerist market and their own insecurities alive. But it's often not practical. We all eventually realize that our lives aren't going the way we want (in whatever way) and that it's up to us to change them.

In reality, being your own worst enemy is just another way of shouting at the Universe: "I didn't make this, so I shouldn't have to control or change it. I didn't choose this, so I shouldn't have to undo it." We can shout all we want, but at the end of the day, it's nobody's job or responsibility to love or take care of us, and relying on that is basically guaranteeing that at some point or another, someone else will deny us love, and we'll be sh*t out of luck.

Becoming your own best friend (and recognizing how you're your own worst enemy) is the work every one of us has to do, it just is a matter of when we decide to do it. Here, a few tips to get you started, on how to know if you really are being too hard on yourself (and how to turn it around):

You Bully Yourself So Nobody Else Can Surprise You With Something You Don't Already "Know"

You can't beat fear to the finish line. Diving into every possible comment, opinion or negative emotion someone has toward you is like diving into a bucket of crap that has no bottom. It doesn't shield you from those opinions, it doesn't guarantee other people won't have them because you did first, it only makes you more susceptible to believing those opinions and accepting them as your permeating, singular truth.

A better way to approach it is to try to see any given "negative" trait you think you have in the context of who you are as a whole. Sure, you may get jealous sometimes, but you're also smart or funny or nice, or you at least don't want to be jealous anymore. Be realistic, be honest, work on becoming comfortable with the ways you experience discomfort within yourself. Decide if it's a matter of resisting your truth or adopting someone else's.

You Trust Other People More Than You Trust Yourself

If this tends to be the case for you, you need to be extra careful, because if basically any one or two people in your immediate social circle agree on something, you'll probably start to just adapt to it unknowingly, assuming that the whole knows better than the individual. (Which is not the case. I'm not going to cite grotesque historical facts to prove this, I think we're all grown up enough to use our imaginations.)

Trust your instinct even if you're the only one who does. Trust it enough to be able to consider other people's opinions, and compare them against to what you really feel. If you're not sure of where your internal compass points sometimes, meditate and ask yourself: "Show me 'yes'" and see how your body responds (then do the same for "show me 'no'").

You Give Yourself Anxiety Because You Value Other People's Comfort Over Your Own

This certainly doesn't mean that you have to be inconsiderate of other people's feelings just so you can get things off your chest — it's about striking a balance and speaking with purpose when there is an issue. If there's a situation that's making you uncomfortable, you need to address it. But you also need to address it in a constructive way, and that may take some practice. In fact, it's probably your inability to do so that leads to your suppression. What causes "drama" of really any form is an inability to communicate effectively what you feel and what you think would, alternatively, be better. So think it through before you voice your thoughts, don't just yell and bitch and moan about thing that don't actually bring you any closer to fixing the problem, but just farther into your pit of negative emotion.

You Create Unrealistic Demands Of Yourself And Wonder Why You've Always "Failed"

A lot of the time, when we don't know how to exercise real self-control, we cut ourselves off entirely from something that's ultimately necessary or desirable (and so in contrast, we binge or fail because of the imposed restriction). We guilt ourselves for eating when we know that not eating doesn't actually bring us closer to health or other goals. We schedule every hour of the day with tasks and then wonder why we inevitably fail at doing all of them. It's about being easier on yourself, and acknowledging the fact that making smaller, more reasonable (but focused) tasks actually gets them done, and done well.

You Identify With Your Thoughts

... Or your feelings. Or the "roles" you play in other people's lives. You identify with all of these transitory things, and disregard who you really are: the being (person) who is experiencing all of them. If you identify with your thoughts ("I am sad," rather than "I am experiencing sadness") you start to become them, or think that experiencing any one of them equates to some very serious and particular reality of who you are.

You Wait For Someone Else To "Save" You (Or Fix Situations In Your Life)

The way this tends to manifest for most people is just through incessant complaining with no desire to change anything, or "suffering" loudly when the solution is simple. It's the idea that if it's not your fault, it's not your problem (even though you know it is).

Being your own best friend is about loving yourself enough to fix your life. To take responsibility for it, even if that's scary sometimes. In the words of Oprah (who else): "If you are waiting for someone else to fix you, save you, even help you, you are wasting your time, because only you have the power to change your life."

You Perpetuate Unhealthy Behaviors Because You Value Other People's Attention Over Presence With Yourself

It's like poisoning yourself just to feel a high. And the root of the problem simply is not learning to be comfortable (and present) with yourself. The solution to a lot of problems in life is just learning to be happy and content being on your own. Doing that, somehow, makes it possible for you to actually enjoy and be content with others, as well.

You Refuse To Accept Yourself Because You Think It Means Giving Up On Being More

You essentially try to scare and police yourself into being "better" all under the guise of the idea that you're doing something good for yourself. The reality is that fear does not create anything but more fear. The intention behind something manifests far more vividly than the idea of what it would become ever does. That's because the energy put into something is the energy that comes out, even if you hold a separate concept of the outcome you hope for in your mind.

Accepting yourself as you are is literally the only way to become more of what you want. Accepting yourself as you are helps you differentiate the things you truly want vs. the ones you want to heal you. Accepting yourself as you are gives you space to allow the natural evolution of your being rather than a closed-off, perpetuating cycle of control and failure.

You Refuse To Work On Developing Self-Control Because You Don't Want To Deprive Yourself (Even If It Holds You Back From Things That Are More Important)

If you're at the point of believing that your temporary desires aren't as important as your long-term ones (or being able to balance the two) you probably aren't regarding yourself with all of the love and presence that you need to be. When you are genuinely caring for yourself, you'll focus on the bigger picture (and you won't confuse "self love" for giving into your every whim and craving).

You Wait For Motivation Or Inspiration To Get You To Act

Losers wait to feel motivated. Winners just get on with it regardless. (Who "wins" and "loses" is up to interpretation, but hey.) The point is: if you're sitting around waiting to feel inspired or to be motivated to get something done, you'll never actually do it (and you certainly won't be able to do it regularly). People who love themselves know that they just have to get started, and in doing so, they'll build momentum that will give them the motivation they were looking for. If you're sitting around feeling like you can't get your life back on your feet because you don't "feel like it," well, nobody "feels like it," but people do it regardless.

You Self-Sabotage Something You Want In An Effort To Pay Attention To A Part Of Your Life You're Neglecting

I have a friend who is actively holding herself back from making more money (she has an online store that she doesn't "feel like" keeping up with) because more money means she's able to go out and do things, and going out to do things makes her realize that she struggles with feeling lonely and what not.

We all do this in different ways, to varying degrees. We hold ourselves back from one area of our lives until we fully address something else that we're neglecting. Most of the time, the things that we're keeping ourselves from have a flip side, and if we can address and fix the flip side, we remove the block to doing what we wanted in the first place.

You Value The Comfort Of Not Trying More Than You Do The Discomfort Of Vulnerability

The reality is that nobody feels "comfortable" doing something scary and new that has the potential to be infinitely rewarding. Yet, there are some people who let this hold them back, and some people who don't. Valuing over the comfort of not trying (... guaranteeing not failing) over temporary vulnerability, despite seeming like it keeps you safe, is probably the biggest affront you can make to who you really are. Learn to prioritize, and learn to see objectively what's best for you — what you really want — then love yourself enough to actually try to get it.

Images: Pixabay; Giphy(4)