Hope For The Journey

Breaking the Cycle: Navigating Self-Sabotage and Healing


The Hidden Patterns of Self-Sabotage: Reflections from “The Big Leap”

Today, I wanted to share some thoughts on a concept I’ve been noodling on lately. It’s something that has deeply resonated with me, especially after reading the book, The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. This book delves into the idea that we all have a sort of internal thermostat setting for the amount of joy, success, and happiness we feel we deserve. When we exceed this threshold, we often unconsciously sabotage ourselves to return to a more familiar, less joyous state.

The Upper Limit Problem

Hendricks introduces the concept of the “Upper Limit Problem”—the idea that we all have an upper limit for how much happiness and success we can handle. When we surpass this limit, we start to self-sabotage, bringing ourselves back down to a level that feels more “normal” and comfortable. This concept is fascinating, especially when considering how it impacts our healing process or efforts to advance in our careers.

Recognizing the Patterns

Once you’re aware that this pattern exists, it’s interesting to observe how we might push ourselves back down. For me, the most noticeable pattern is my tendency to dive into worried thoughts. I hadn’t realized that these were, in fact, worried thoughts. I often rationalized them as problem-solving. I’d identify a problem and start obsessively thinking about how to solve it, even when there was nothing I could do about it at that moment. This worry masqueraded as productive thinking, but it was actually a way of anchoring myself back to a familiar state of anxiety and problem-orientation.

The Impact on Growth and Healing

Understanding this concept is crucial when we are trying to level up in our jobs, careers, or personal lives. The Upper Limit Problem can significantly impact our growth. It makes sense that as we start to achieve new levels of success, we might find ourselves inexplicably drawn back to old habits of worry or self-doubt. Recognizing this can help us break the cycle and push through to sustain higher levels of joy and success.

My Personal Experience

In my own experience, once I identified these worried thoughts as a form of self-sabotage, it was a game changer. I began to see how often I engaged in this pattern, and it allowed me to consciously redirect my thoughts towards more constructive and present-focused activities. Instead of indulging in worry, I’ve started to practice mindfulness and stay grounded in the moment, focusing on what I can tangibly do rather than getting lost in hypothetical problems.

Your Thoughts and Experiences

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this. Have you noticed similar patterns in your own life? Do you find yourself worrying or problem-solving in ways that aren’t immediately helpful? How do you think this has affected your personal or professional growth?

If you’ve read The Big Leap, I’d love to hear your reflections on it as well. How has it impacted your understanding of self-sabotage and your capacity for joy?

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