Your Problem is . . . You!
The greatest problem most of us face is us. Our biggest challenges stares back at us in the mirror every morning. A few generations ago the comic strip Pogo coined the phrase. “We have met the enemy and he is us.” And in the decades since that phrase entered our vocabulary, nothing has changed. You are your own worst enemy.
I knew what to do I just didn’t do it. Years ago I was in a particular training course in the Marine Corps that was incredibly demanding physically. I knew that every night I needed to drink a great deal of water in order to be fully hydrated for the next day of training. A couple of weeks into the training I was tired, didn’t want to get up in the night to go to the restroom, and thought, ‘I can make it through one day if I don’t drink that water tonight; I’ll drink a little extra in the morning, it’ll be ok.’ It wasn’t. Near the end of the morning run, I passed out from dehydration. Woke up in the hospital where I received several bags of IV fluid. I did that to me. It wasn’t the instructor’s fault. It wasn’t the Marine Corp’s fault. It was mine. I did that to me. I was my own worst enemy.
Being our own worst enemy is common to most of us, if not all of us. As a coach and pastor, I’ve spent a lot of time helping people understand how the condition of their lives; their relationships, their business, is most often the direct result of their behavior and decisions. Yes, sometimes there are factors beyond our control that impact our lives. But more often than not it’s our own decisions and behaviors that impact us the most.
But you don’t have to remain your own worst enemy. You can conquer you, or at least, you can learn to make better decisions and to behave in more positive ways.
Here are four steps you can take to stop being your own worst enemy:
As they say in the recovery community, the first step is to step out of denial. Pay attention to your life and learn to recognize where you are doing damage to you. Hint, when you are tempted to blame others or a situation then take a moment and ask, ‘What’s my role in this?’ You will be surprised how often your role in the issue is far larger than the role of others.
Once you have recognized it, then you have to own it. You must admit that you are the issue. Confess it to yourself, “I am the problem. My decisions led me to this place.” At this point, you begin to stop blaming others or situations for your own decisions and behaviors.
Take some time to write out exactly what the issue is. Define the issue or challenge well. If you will spend some dedicated time defining the issue you will begin to address it in healthy ways. The less defined the issue is the longer it takes to deal with.
Get some help with it.
In my Marine Corp training mentioned above, there is a lesson for us: somebody else had to pick me up, put me in the ambulance, take me to the hospital, and administer the IV fluids in order for me to return to health. There is no shame in getting help when we need it! It’s a sign of strength to work with a counselor. It is a wise decision to hire a coach. Trying to do it on your own . . . That’s just another bad decision we tend to make.
Yes, we are our own worst enemies, but we don’t have to stay that way. We can be better. There is some wisdom found in the Bible, in Matthew 5:43-45 Jesus says, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” Loving your enemies includes loving yourself when you are acting as your own enemy. Loving yourself means getting help when you need it!
As a coach, I would love to work with you! Try a free ‘Discover Coaching’ session. Sign up HERE!
Your coach and friend,