post written by: Marc Chernoff

6 Ways You Are Your Own Worst Enemy


6 Ways You Are Your Worst Enemy

For the longest time I had tunnel vision and expected life to be a certain way.  I studied my failures until I lost sight of my successes.  I surrendered my dreams to feel a sense of comfort.  I crafted limiting beliefs and shielded myself from love and happiness by refusing to put myself out there.  And as I did all of this, I sat back and wondered why life was so miserable.

Obviously, I was very lost.

I began to turn things around about a decade ago when my stubborn habits led me into a chaotic argument with Angel.  As we both stared at each other through tears, she said, “Marc, you are the enemy – your enemy.  It’s your choices.  I can’t sympathize any longer.  You can choose differently if you want to, but you have to want to.  Please want to!”  And after some extensive soul-searching, lots of reading, a little sabbatical, and continuous support from a loving wife and a few close friends, I learned to choose differently and eventually found myself again.

I tell you this because I know you struggle with similar inner demons – occasionally we all do.  Sometimes our thoughts and routine choices are our biggest enemies.  Which is why I want to remind you to beware of…

1.  Your expectation of constant contentment.

Nothing in life is constant.  There is neither absolute happiness nor absolute sadness.  There are only the changes in our moods that continuously oscillate between these two extremes.

At any given moment we are comparing how we currently feel to how we felt at another time – comparing one level of our contentment to another.  In this way, those of us who have felt great sadness are best able to feel heightened feelings of happiness after we emotionally heal.  In other words, happiness and sadness need each other.  One reinforces the other.  Humans must know misery to identify times of elation.

The key is to focus on the good.  May you live each moment of your life consciously, and realize that all the happiness you seek is present if you are prepared to notice it.  If you are willing to appreciate that this moment is far better than it could have been, you will enjoy it more for what it truly is.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the Happiness and Growth chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

2.  Your obsession with examining personal failures.

Imagine being enrolled in five college classes in which you achieved one A, two B’s and two C’s.  Would you concentrate on the A or the C’s?  Would you berate yourself for falling short in the C classes?  Or would you capitalize on your obvious interest and aptitude in the subject matter of the A class?  I hope you realize the value of the latter.

Every morning when you wake up, think of three things that are going well in your life at the moment.  As you fall asleep every night, fill your mind with an appreciation for all the small things that went well during the day.  Examine your successes.

Give the power of your thinking to the positive influences in your life, and they will grow stronger and more influential every day.  Remind yourself often of what works well and why, and you’ll naturally find ways to make lots of other things work well too.  The most efficient way to enjoy more success in life is not to obsess yourself with what hasn’t worked in the past, but instead to extend and expand upon the success you already know.

3.  Your urge to surrender to the draw of comfort.

The most common and destructive addiction in the world is the draw of comfort.  Why pursue growth when you already have 400 television channels and a recliner?  Just pass the chip dip and lose yourself in a trance.  WRONG!  That’s not living – that’s existing.  Living is about learning and growing through excitement and discomfort.

Life is filled with questions, many of which don’t have an obvious or immediate answer.  It’s your willingness to ask these questions, and your courage to march confidently into the unknown in search of the answers, that gives life it’s meaning.

In the end, you can spend your life feeling sorry for yourself, cowering in the comfort of your routines, wondering why there are so many problems out in the real world, or you can be thankful that you are strong enough to endure them.  It just depends on your mindset.  The obvious first step, though, is convincing yourself to step out of your comfort zone.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)

4.  Your self-limiting beliefs.

You do not suffer from your beliefs.  You suffer from your disbeliefs.  If you have no hope inside of you, it’s not because there is no hope, it’s because you don’t believe there is.

Since the mind drives the body, it’s the way you think that eventually makes the dreams you dream possible or impossible.  Your reality is simply a reflection of your thoughts and the way you routinely contemplate what you know to be true.  All too often you literally do not know any better than good enough.  Sometimes you have to try to do what you think you can’t do, so you realize that you actually CAN.

It all starts on the inside.  You control your thoughts.  The only person who can hold you down is YOU.

5.  Your resistance to being vulnerable.

Love is vulnerability.  Happiness is vulnerability.  The risk of being vulnerable is the price of opening yourself to beauty and opportunity.

Being vulnerable is not about showing the parts of you that are polished; it’s about revealing the unpolished parts you would rather keep hidden from the world.  It’s about looking out into the world with an honest, open heart and saying, “This is me.  Take me or leave me.

It’s hard to consciously choose vulnerability.  Why?  Because the stakes are high.  If you reveal your authentic self, there is the possibility that you will be misunderstood, judged, or even rejected.  The fear of these things is so powerful that you put on an armored mask to protect yourself.  But, of course, this only perpetuates the pain you are trying to avoid.

The truth is nothing worthwhile in this world is a safe bet.  Since love and happiness are born out of your willingness to be vulnerable – to be open to something wonderful that could be taken away from you – when you hide from your vulnerability, you automatically hide from everything in life worth attaining.  (Read Daring Greatly.)

6.  Your expectations of how things are supposed to be.

There’s this fantasy in your head about how you think things are supposed to be.  This fantasy blinds you from reality and prevents you from appreciating the genuine goodness that exists in your life.

The solution?  Simple:  Drop the needless expectations.  Appreciate what is.  Hope for the best, but expect less.

You have to accept reality instead of fighting it.  Don’t let what you expected to happen blind you from all the good things that are happening.  When you stop expecting people and things to be perfectly the way you had imagined, you can enjoy them for who and what they truly are.

Your turn…

In what way are you your own worst enemy?  Please leave us a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: Brendon Burton

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86 Comments

  • LOVED this one! Well, I actually enjoy ALL your posts but this one hit home. Thank you so much for your site - I can’t get enough of it (although my Facebook friends are probably sick of all my Sharing!) I don’t care! :)

  • I am working at present mindfulness and letting go of expectations. Accepting over wanting to change. Easier said than done, but awareness is the first step. Also, guilt is a new habit of mine. Too much of it surrounding what I do and do not do. There needs to be more celebrating, more self-love and compassion.

    Thank you for your inspired and honest writings!

  • This article is definitely speaking to my soul today. I’ve been drowning in a sea of negativity for a long time, trying to learn to swim, and this helps a lot. Thank you!

  • Love this article. Absolutely true. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow this article is so true. I have all the 6 ways going on in my life, but for me being vulnerable is the hardest to accept. I have a belief that once I let my guard down, I will get hurt. And it happened few times. I guess I still have so much to learn.

  • Yes, the patterns people set out for us, and the expectations of how life “should” be can really keep us from appreciating what we do have. I think also wanting everything “now” and not trusting that it WILL come can put one through a great deal of angst.

    Thank you :)

  • Thanks you for continuing inspiring us! I think, for me, the greatest enemy is always the self-doubt, regrets and mistakes that I have made before - something that I cannot control or change anymore. It often comes back to me and hurts me over and over again. I really just want to get over these feelings and move on, but it’s just so hard, I can’t do it. I hope I will get back on the right track eventually.

    Thanks again for the wonderful dose of positivity and inspirations to every one of us. Keep up the good work, please! So many of us are expecting and replying on your blog posts.

  • I am my enemy in that I believe others deserve to be successful more than myself, so I sacrifice things in my own life in order for others to experience the satisfaction I could be feeling. It makes it hard for me to celebrate my own success because I know I’m selling myself short. My close friends are aware of it, but I’m the one who has to fight this demon. Nice article!

  • I give people 100% of me and always try to make everyone else comfortable. So, of course, I get my feelings hurt, a lot! I shoot straight with people and say things that are clear and to the point. This leaves me with few friends and more than one’s share of users or frenemies! When a friendship ends, I’m devastated, and they act like it is nothing for me to be out of their life. I can’t stand not knowing what happened, could cry everyday about a lost friendship while they find it easy to dismiss me! I don’t know how to take people at face value and save my own feelings.

  • I wouldn’t say anymore at this point that I am my worst enemy but rather a two-part being who is in a relationship. There is the God spirit of me, in me, I feel in my core, in my soul. I feel deep love and therefore the love of myself to the child I am and a friend… then there is the rebellious me… the earth child who pretends not to listen, even though we coming through loud and clear… She still gets excited by the trickster she has created even though I know I must listen to become the best soulful person I can be to myself. It would serve me too, if I could channel more into my creativity, by making the small shifts that would will help me to shine more brighter from the inside out. There are a few things I need to tweak, and then I will fly.

    So yes there’s a bit of a “Oh come on Carms why the @##$ not gal, you know you want to, don’t be a pop, believe, believe and paint!”… Walk to the top of the mountain here, you still never have, stop smoking, drink more water, and stop feeling guilty as a parent who is raising two boys on your own. If it all gets to you at times and you beat yourself for losing It, then walk away… meditate a little, come back to me, turn to me.

    The bottom line is my best friend over in here is really missing me, waiting for me to step up so that we can both move in and grow and glow in the warmth, in the peacefulness of accepting that then the bumps in the road are just bumps in the road. We doing it together hand in hand, souls combined… we are one…..ok, ok… I will start on Monday…

  • Very powerful story to open up a great article, Marc. I think #1 pretty much got me pretty well. My expectation is that I can somehow hold to these moments of contentment forever. There’s always going to be happiness in the future and life will be nice and green. Of course, there will always be minor setbacks, but my mind denies the inevitability.

    Actually, an even bigger issue I have is my lack of contentment as far as accomplishments go. I always want to break new ground each and every day. If I somehow fell behind or did not exceed the milestone of yesterday’s, I beat myself up. It’s insane that I have this competition with myself. I’ve forgotten how to celebrate my victories as I’m too caught up in finding new battles.

  • Great read, once again :)
    My worst enemy is self-doubt and thinking too much about what others think of me and my capabilities. For example, yesterday an exam score came up. I hadn’t expected a high score as I didn’t feel like I had done my best on the exam. However, when the results were posted, I had topped the class. I was surprised and when I told my friend, she said things like “so the teacher practically gave away free marks to you,” “really, you?” and so on. I’ll admit I was kind of hurt by her comments. When I told my mother about this she gently told me that if I didn’t believe myself to be capable of realizing my dreams then how can I expect someone else to believe? This was an eye-opener for me. And now, I’m on my way to banish all my self-doubt and live up to my true potential.

  • I generalize a few experiences into “a truth.” When I am disappointed or my overtures at friendship or love aren’t reciprocated the way I think they should be, or how I want them to be, I spend waaaaaay too much time trying to figure out what I did wrong, or what is wrong with the other person. Then I morph that into believing that there is something inherently off-putting about me, rather than letting it float away, which results, I’m sure, in missing other possibilities and satisfying moments.

    Thanks for the inspiring, practical, thoughtful guidance you guys!

  • I have tried to be vulnerable before. And I felt like people were taking advantage of my ”guardlessness.” I went back to acting tough and detached. Needless to say, my love-life is still non-existing.

  • Of all the dozens of articles I have read so far here, this is the most important one.

    But let’s say someone really wants a change is his or her life. One knows that one has everything in life to be happy, that there are many wonderful things in life. In short, one knows that there is absolutely no reason not to be happy. But despite of this one does not _feel_ happy…

    So my question is, how do you go from knowing to actually feeling? This is the life-and-death question for me.

  • From my opinion, it ’s completely unproductive to focus on the others all day long, it’s exhausting, especially when they are dishonest and you are capable of understanding that. This is something I used to do. I don ‘t want that kind of people around me, they try to manipulate you and they spend your time to take advantage of you. Avoiding toxic people is important.

  • Very insightful article. I’m sharing it with my church.

  • I would add to the list: Not taking action is deadly. It is a comfort to think and dream, but doing nothing, not taking a step, forgetting to start something is detrimental.

  • I have faith that the Universe is unfolding as it should; however, I need to learn patience. Abundance will come if I continue to share my gifts consistently and with intention for the greater good. Success can take time.

  • It’s amazing the things we do that keep us from growing. I would add fear of success which I suppose is related to wanting to be comfortable and limiting beliefs. When we step into success and meet our goals our lives change and people react. Sometimes we don’t believe we deserve success and sometimes we’re afraid that our relationships will change.

  • Just on a break from an exhausting conference where I am not feeling well and am battling my usual social anxieties.

    This post is the best one of I’ve ever read. So much truth, actually all truth. While I need to get back to the conference, I am grateful to you for having shared this and will re-read it at the end of this long day.

  • the other side
    May 8th, 2013 at 8:36 am

    While I generally agree with these points, there are probably many people, homeless, poor, who would love to have the comfort of a recliner, some chips and dip, and 400 channels of tv. Not everybody feels the need to agressively pursue the type of lifestyle you suggest. So Iwill go back to your point that we should each live a life that feels best for us. :)

  • I don’t know why but the timing was perfect for me to read this. I am actually going through almost every negative point you described above, the more I kept reading your post I notice your advise is very helpful. Thanks man, never heard from you before, I will follow your thoughts!

  • As always, your articles are wonderful. I do have self doubt which stops me from going forward. I start to think I’m not good enough if I make a mistake! I’m learning to persevere in spite of myself!

  • @the other side: While I agree that each of us should live our own way, I think that the 400 channels of TV and coach potatoe lifestyle is the kind that makes people of all financial backgrounds unhealthy and miserable. Life is lived off the couch in pursuit of dreams and real life experiences.

  • Reacting as opposed to responding. Usually it is an over-react, an angry react that doesn’t help get my point across toward a resolution. I then feel like an idiot for ‘losing it’; which in turn does nothing for one’s comfort in their own skin. I need to get a better handle on that. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen with people I care for very often. Usually I save the dark side for banks, sneaky websites, bad service etc.

  • My biggest inner enemy is my tendency to always be DOING, and never just kicking back and breathing. You’ve brought this to my attention in some of your recent posts, and for that I am thankful.

  • This was a powerful post. I copied it into Evernote so I can refer back to it over and over again. Thank you!

    Point #2. Your obsession with examining personal failures; and Point #6. Your expectations of how things are supposed to be, resonated with me the most.

    I would obsess over my grades in school (elementary through college). I never celebrated the A’s I received; I focused on the C’s, or worse D’s (I received a few of those). Looking back, I could have celebrated my successes. I also could have studied what I wanted to study instead of listening to my dad who told me, “Get a secure degree.” Lesson learned.

    I have extremely HIGH expectations of how my life should be. I know it’s not healthy, but I haven’t been able to kick this habit to the curb. I’ve become obsessively attached (super glue grip) to my dreams/goals. It’s time for me to take my own advice and release my dreams and desires along with my HIGH expectations. They are super-duper high. Now wonder I can’t relax. ;)

  • One word that comes to mind: ‘gospel’
    I have nothing else to say!

  • Love this post. I agree with what Andrea posted in not taking action being deadly. This has been one of my biggest enemies and is really tied to a couple of things not believing in myself enough and not surrounding myself with supportive and nurturing people in my life. When the people around you feed into your doubt and fears it’s time to let them go. I never felt lonelier than I did when I filled my life with the wrong people. Letting go of these people has made me feel expansive and like a child again, when I believed I could do anything.

  • I needed to read this today. This is where I am in my life right now…holding on to pain.

  • It’s like you reached inside my head and pulled out all the things I do to myself every day. Every one of these hit the nail on the head for me. Sometimes it’s hard to look truth in the face, but I think my reading this post was no accident. Thanks for this.

  • OMG!! Thank you! This article couldn’t have come at a better time for me! My thoughts always seem to take control of me and I definitely need to work on that.

  • Negative mental chatter running round my head.
    That is what needs to stop and be replaced - fast!

  • Wow! All I can say is thank you (both of you) for posting as you do and being such a big inspiration for me in my life. Your suggested readings have led me down a path of spiritual awakening I can’t begin to describe, and I have discovered a sense of inner peace I have never before had in my life. The only way I know how to repay you is to repost as many of your blogs as I can and hope to inspire others to follow their own path to enlightenment and inner peace. Its a continual process and just know, you’re little page and numerous parables and words of wisdom will ALWAYS be a part of my days as long as you continue to offer them! Thank you (to say the least).

    ~jw

  • Thank you.

  • If this was your last post, it would be perfect. My “spark” for the last two months of activity has been a comment from my wife: “You give good advice to everyone but yourself.”

    A couple of points on the comments:

    Couch potatoes: it costs nothing to take a walk, write down your dreams, and then rough out a plan to get there. Public library? Church or temple? All free. Success costs the same as failure. The next payment is coming due, whom do you want to pay?

    Expectations: Mine are off the charts, still, for myself. Why? Because I have done it before, and I can do it again. However, I forced myself to look at what I am doing to meet those expectations (thinking, feeling, believing, acting), and that was less than pretty. Also, expectations are first set PRIOR to activity, therefore if anything MAJOR changes after you start, then adjust your actions. Have you reset your expectations based on the changes in your life, or did you quit at the first sign of resistence (I do this every day still)?

    Examining failures leads to self-limiting beliefs. Nasty duo. Perform the exact same actions on your successes, as Marc suggests, and your have the proven blueprint for future success. Because you proved them to yourself already.

  • Thank you Marc and Angel.

  • Absolutely true and mind opener. We should change like nature - nothing is permanent; we should be flexible and adapt, improvise and hold on to small blessings, not brood over fast failures. We should live in the present - the past is history and tomorrow is a mystery. Wonderful advice!

    Wishing you all the best.

  • I see that fear of vulnerability so often - and it’s the one people seem most blind to. Number 6 is the rock in my shoe!

  • I am my worst enemy: Sadly, I can’t let go of the past, the devestation I have been through in the hands of another. Even though I want to, I just could not push myself to forgive, forget and shrug everything off of me. They keep on coming back to me like ghosts that I can even drive myself to “TRY” and make things right with the person, though he tried working things out. All I see is a monster.

  • #5 and #6 smacked me right in the face. How does a 45 yr old single Mom who’d been married for 20 years take the first step into vulnerability without a hand to hold in case she falls… Alone.

  • THIS is where the true power in life lies … and the hope, faith, happiness and resiliency and strength we all work for daily … if not even minute to minute.
    I love this. Each one is truly a walking meditation … can be taken individually and ‘used’ or ‘meditated’ on by each of us … opening (even if only within ourselves at first) to looking and seeing where we are maybe shying away from the challenge or adjustment each one asks us to do … for ourselves …
    and truly if we can … our family, friends and our whole world will benefit! Thank you … what a gift!

  • BTW # 5 and 6 I have found the most challenging in my life … but after many years of struggle … the letting go and allowing vulnerability (#5) was redefined inside of me … and I have been truly happy with myself and how I even present things ever since.

    #6 I think was a lesson truly presented to me for the first time as a child … and it was via a painful experience (the death of my father) … but watching my mother and other family members truly showed me … that the expectations are what PROLONG any pain you may be feeling … certainly it makes any pain that much deeper or adds to the pain a sense of hopelessness each and everytime things do not go as planned. Releasing this one over the years I found opened up HUGE creativity and imagination inside myself and allowed me a strength I cannot to this day put into words. I know I will feel pain and face many challenges … but deep inside I know in releasing expectations (vs goals) I am allowing magic and spirit to take it’s place … I now expect the unexpected … with more peace

  • Thank you, just found your blog. This article hit home today. I will choose to let go of negativity and be vulnerable. Good reminder.

  • Your blog has become a constant in my life. I thank my dear friend, Sara, for sending it to me a few months ago. I am currently battling being diagnosed with MS, and having a lot of life struggles. I have pulled things from your posts that I re-post as my inspiration for myself, and hopefully it can be for others as well. I say the same to you as I say to my self healing coach about her blog, you have no idea how many people you inspire and help every day with your stories, your honesty, and your guidelines. Thank you.

  • I am my own worst enemy for all of the six aforementioned reasons…if not more. Determined to revel in the beauty of now, I will make a conscious effort to take notice and be grateful for that which is good, whatever it may be.

  • I don’t have a problem with being vulnerable.. I have a willing heart… but my problem is what I do after I am not received by friends, peers, and family members the way I had hoped or expected - which brings me to numbers 1- 4… Thank you for your constant uplifting and inspiration.

  • Great post this morning Marc, as always.

    I believe that I will work on letting go of my “expectations” of the people in my life.
    I will learn to let go, accept and remain positive in the face of fear and sadness. Our mindset creates our perspective in all situations. Also, more self-love, self-compassion and vulnerability are in my plans for the road ahead.
    I must continue to be conscious and open to learning and growing everyday!!!

    Thank you for your wonderful words - I eagerly await your new posts every other day and print many of them to keep hardcopies to refer back to time and again :)

  • Great points. Comfort, in addition, tends to desensitize us to what is truly rewarding in life.

  • You all are invaluable. Thanks for giving my days a boost. The world would be a better place if everybody got these in their inboxes.

  • @Ice; I send you a hug.

    For me, it all boils down to #4: “Sometimes you have to try to do what you think you can’t do, so you realize that you actually CAN.”

  • Marc,
    This is probably one of the best articles I’ve ever read. It hit the nail on the head!

    The belief about hope as you put it, is one of my greatest “hurdacles”, which I too am overcoming. Belief, hope, and faith, all very powerful, and I’m overcoming using those “super-powers” in a negative way.

    Great post, one I’ve kept saved so I can constantly give my attitude a check now and again. I’m definitely getting your book.

    Thank you.

  • Wow what an eye opening article; I think 5 out of 6 of these ways I am an enemy to myself. At least I can recognize this and start taking steps to heal and love myself now, thank you!

  • Loved this post and all the comments. I have come to realise that if my “doing” does not come out of “being, then I am not achieving anything!! Sometimes it’s good to be a couch potato as long as I am consciously choosing to do that. I’ve tried lots of “doing” and when it is not aligned with my soul, it is a total waste of time. I read this somewhere “Don’t grit your teeth and clench your fists and say “I will, I will I will”. Relax and take your hands off, submit yourself to a higher energy and let life be willed through you.” It seems that it is only when we do this that the outer world aligns with who we are and events happen spontaneously. Let go of letting go and let God work through me.

  • Thanks a lot for sharing. A great and encouraging message at the time I’m stepping through grief. Guess you’re heaven sent.

  • I really got interested in Mindful Meditation (Jon Kabat-Zinn) when I had breast cancer and I was so frightened of the pain that would happen to me or that I might die, that I could barely put one foot in front of the other. Remembering to focus on the “right now” and realize that it’s fine right now–and to relax and enjoy that. My daughter calls that fear “pre-grieving”. Just worrying about something makes you grieve it’s loss ahead of time–not time well spent.

    The other points are more like my evil parental super-ego that they didn’t trust me and were sure I wouldn’t be successful–though I had clearly been. Yikes, parents have such a lifelong impact. I’m glad I was a better parent and didn’t parent from what was done to me. I studied and learned and our kids are so amazing and pretty happy and self-confident! It’s truly a wonderful gift to give. I still struggle, but I’m glad to have stopped that craziness in our family.

  • Jutta O'Brien
    May 8th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Everything you and Angel have written here has helped me tremendously in the darkness and pain of the past year. I have been through many years of counseling and none of it has every come close to making this much sense. I too, agree w/Gillian’s comments.

    I did have a question, though. What kind of sabbical did you take Marc, and for how long? I only ask b/c my spouse and I are separated. After more than a year of marriage couseling he decided to move out for 3 months to “shake things” up bit. This was endorsed by my spouse’s personal therapist.

    Thank you again for everything you’ve done for me.

  • I guess #5 speaks the most to me. When I’ve let myself be vulnerable, I have always paid a price for it. I keep a wall up now from fear.

  • This was such a helpful post, thank you so much Marc and Angel for your never-wavering inspiration and for bringing so much light into my life=)!

  • Wonderful post.Thank you Marc and Angel, may God continue to give these great words of inspiration to inspire the needy, those who are heart broken, people who have lost hope and those who face challenges of fear, rejection and self doubt. I was there, but thanks to your posts I am living my life now with peace knowing that I am the one to create my own opportunities and happiness. I am the one to celebrate my success, forgetting my failures and mistakes, and trying to correct them because nobody is perfect.

  • 5. Your resistance to being vulnerable.

    Definitely!

    Without vulnerability, we can only go so far.. whether it’s business or relationships..

    When people hide, I call that a “surface” relationship cuz they aren’t willing to go deep.

    ~ darlene

  • We will all have to find the peace in our inner selves eventually. We have to be happy as we live - we are healthy and are able to work and enjoy that precious gift that its called life. So many people who used to be beside us don’t have this privilege today.

  • Genius Marc! Thanks for this great post, its really inspiring. Answering your question, I’m my own worst enemy, doing what I want to stop. It hurts, after I continue to do what I vowed never to do. Joyously I read one of your posts and there’s a point there… “you ultimately become what you repeatedly do,” “what you do everyday is more important than what you do once a while,” “what you focus on grows stronger in your life.” Honestly, these points recalled my lost self to the main VERSION of myself. And from then I can stop and start what I want to do… Thanks once again for this wonderful inspiration.

  • I completely believe this to be true. Nice article.

    People aren’t necessarily “people” in the sense that we’d like to believe. We’re creatures of habit, and our habits are notoriously hard to change once they’ve gained momentum.

    Like a plane that has already lifted off.

    Free will is executed consciously, but since most of us aren’t necessarily conscious, we’re always on autopilot.

    It’s a delicate balance. To get somewhere, you must trust yourself, but trust yourself too much and you’ll fall into contentment and right off the path.

    I’ll keep these points in mind. Thank you.

  • I’ve always been told I’m a victim of being my own worst enemy. It’s truly a flaw I possess. Over the years I have learned to more easily forgive myself for my mistakes and flaws, but it’s still something I wrestle with. It’s a constant dialogue going on where I compare myself to people and things that I deem better than me. I’m probably not aware of how often I do it. I need to consciously bring gratitude and focus positively.

  • Marc, yes that’s the part that hurts the most.
    You have quite simply opened my eyes.
    Thank you.

  • …and Angel has too.

  • Thank you for this beautiful, honest and straight up real post. I have been on a journey of self discovery for a couple months since my ex broke off our engagement. I was a codependent, a martyr, depressed and unhealthy spiritually, physically, and mentally. My ex told me “Lei, I challenge you to get your s*&% together”, so I dug deep and started immersing myself in healing, reading self help books, talking with healers and role models and chose to live in the light because I’ve lived in the darkness far too long. I’ve reclaimed my faith in Jah and the universe and I swear I feel the Angels flying next to me as I go for my morning or sunset runs and at night I visually and emotionally *hug* Jesus.

    I have no one to be responsible for but myself. Believing in myself again, weeding out the toxic thoughts, people, places, and things that were keeping me down, accepting that I am a woman, a human, an emotional being,having faith, living always with gratitude and intention, and realizing that what makes me happiest is to be in the moment and to love as if I’ve never been hurt has changed who I am drastically. Actually i believe its who I’ve been all along I just needed to remove myself to a higher frequency to see past the fog. I am loving the journey and my destination will be the ultimate light at the end of the tunnel.

    Thank you Marc and Angel for sharing your love, experiences, and wisdom. It’s energy like yours that penetrates around the world and gives the rest of us that lift to pay it forward as well. If everybody jumped on the bandwagon, everyone could live in bliss. Much love, light and Aloha.

  • Wow, this is so true - especially in regards to self-limiting beliefs. I need to give myself a break and really believe in myself.

  • @Vincent: We can completely relate to the process of always striving for the next big thing. You have to take time and remind yourself of how much you’ve accomplished. I’ve found it helpful to monitor numbers to measure the real impact and still appreciate your success while still reaching for the stars. =)

    @Remy: Your mother is a very smart woman. The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. Your friend thought it was OK to say “so the teacher practically gave away free marks to you,” because you yourself didn’t believe you did your best and you expressed those feelings. I highly doubt if you told your friend, “I studied really hard for that test and I really think I nailed it,” that she would have expressed those comments. Food for thought. You are often much better than you think. Don’t be your own worst enemy. =)

    @Herman: Great, honest question. Now that you know what makes you happy, indulge. For example: You know you have a great friend, so spend more time with them. You know you have a great home, have some friends over for dinner. You know you are healthy, spend some time enjoying an outdoor activity. You get my point. Take some time today and indulge in what makes you happy.

    @Mary Woolson: Great addition!

    @the other side: You are absolutely right, to each their own. But as Mich said the point here is to not be stagnant. You’ve still got to get off the couch and purse dreams and real life experiences. =)

    @David Rapp: Great insight, thank you! Now listen to your wife and take your own advice! =)

    @Michelle: One day at a time, that’s how. Regardless of our age we never stop learning, including learning more about ourselves.

    @Josefina: May you see and appreciate the magic! Thank you for sharing your personal story. =)

    @Mary: Welcome to the community and thank you for the positive feedback.

    @Marilyn: Your daughter was spot on. Reminds me of this quote by Bill Keane, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present.” Enjoy it!

    @All: Thank you for sharing your personal stories and feedback, which again reminds us that we are not alone. Let’s all work on being our own best friends rather than our own worst enemies. Cheers! =)

  • I try to change every day, but I keep falling back into my old habits. I try to change my mindset, I tell myself that I’m different, that next time I’m going to act differently, but eventually I do the same thing. It saddens me a lot. I keep believing in myself, but I think that somewhere in my subconscious there is this little voice saying: “If I have tried so many times and have failed so many times, can I really change?”

    The second thing is: I want to be myself, to show my true self to the world openly and all the time, but I’m so different, original, and with my own creative ways, that I will be judged and misunderstood a million times. So I put on a mask, often. Maybe one day I will summon the courage to show my real self, but right now I prefer to be the way people expect me to be. Please don’t get me wrong: I’m myself, in general (you can’t just turn off your nature and be something different), but I would like to enjoy the total freedom of being who I really am without fear to get negative reactions from people.

  • Truly magic article.

    “Living is about learning and growing through excitement and discomfort.” - engrave in to granite!

  • I am my own worst enemy by not allowing myself to be vulnerable. It isolates me because I am unwilling to let myself be hurt therefore I am unwilling to ever become emotionally intimate with someone. It restricts a lot of my life and is something I am working on therapy.

    Great post.

  • Believing what others say about me to be my truth instead of just their opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and who knows how those are formed, what evidence or experience they use to draw their conclusions. Sometimes there is none, just envy and jealousy. Tough learning for me!

  • This article… wow everything you said is me right now. I am my worst enemy. Every morning this is going to be a must-read until I find myself, because I am drowning in my own misery. I thank you so much for this post.

  • Prefer Anonymous
    July 1st, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I sat in the office today really feeling like everything in my life is falling apart. I get up each morning and fight for something, yes something, because honestly I don’t know what that is anymore. I feel like Ive done well in my life thus far but have a huge empty space in my heart (so to speak). Everything I read here I know is true, it’s so true that it borders on harsh. I guess one of the biggest things in reality that really gets to me is finding genuine people. People who care about others. This seems to not exist at all which is really sad. Im trying to become more optimistic though. Unfortunately I need a psychologist just for a bit of “back-up” if that makes any sense? I realize by reading this article that you shouldnt feel sorry for yourself and I know I’m bordering on that now. I just really need someone to speak to for some closure. Unfortunately I have to pay R600 an hour for an ear to talk to. I truly do love this article though. It really puts a light on things that sometimes seem hopeless. Thank you for this.

    Kind Regards from South Africa

  • I tend to downplay the exciting things that are happening in my life… so i don’t have to deal with it when they end.

  • I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to romantic relationships. I put up kind of a wall I guess and turn into this person that I don’t even know. And then I wonder why things didn’t end well. Then I try to back peddle and say to the guy, no, you don’t understand. that is not how I usually am! I just dated a guy that I have known for 20 years. And he told me out right that I was not the woman he thought I was. But I am, I know I am. And we thought we were each others “the one” at first. Now I blew it. Because I am my own worst enemy. I would like this to stop happening. I think I’m afraid of not being liked for who I really am, when really the pseudo person I become is so much worse.

  • I become my own worst enemy when I imagine someone else being my enemy, someone who never actually was my enemy. This is connected to #1, since this usually comes about when things don’t seem quite as good as they should, and #2, since I hold other people to an expectation of how they should be and get agitated when they stray from those expectations.

    Actually, it took my boyfriend to point out that I seem to always need an “adversary”. He told me this after a half hour of discussing how my new roommate would NOT stop watching TV for three days straight. He got upset that we spent the entire conversation about this girl who he’d never even met.

    “It seems that you always need an adversary.”

    Thunderbolt.

    When he said that, my brain went all the way back to my first year of college. All of these people that drove me up the wall, people that actually wanted me to succeed in my life, people that just were irritating to me about this or that… At least one person at all times, since my freshman year, has been an “adversary”.

    Why? Maybe it was how my stress manifested itself - by latching onto another person. That person would become the embodiment of my stress, and I hated looking at that walking reminder of my annoyance.

    What’s strange is that it started with my best friend. The more people that I met in college, the more friends I made, the more that my ‘first’ friend seemed annoying to me. It got so bad that I ended up yelling at him in public because I couldn’t stand his voice.

    I’ve come to realize that it had nothing to do with him. It had everything to do with me. For some reason, some awful reason, my stress latched onto him. I started avoiding him when I was really, really stressed. (That should have been a sign for me, had I the self-awareness to see it.) But it never got bad enough that I wanted to not be his friend.

    This kept happening after college, too.

    Got a year-long internship: Three enemies over the course of the year continuously. I always had one, and immediately when one left, another one would take their place.

    Moving to the city: First year - a certain family who kicked me out of their house. I didn’t have a specific place to sleep that night, so they instantly became my enemy. Never mind that they had the full right to kick me out or that they didn’t really know me. Never mind that I actually had just enough money to afford a hotel room if I needed one. Never mind that they held onto most of my stuff until I could find a long-term sublease. They were the enemy in my head for five months.

    Once I started working at a certain grocery store, my boss became my adversary, and I no longer hated that family. Just my boss.

    My second year in the city: I moved in with a friend of mine, a friend who couldn’t get rid of his alcoholic ex. My boss was no longer the enemy - this pathetic alcoholic man became my adversary. That lasted most of the year.

    My friend and I both eventually got him out of the apartment. Once a year had passed and the second summer came - and I hate to say this - my friend suddenly became my enemy. I just had to get out of there. Never mind he actually paid my rent and utilities for over a damn YEAR! He was there, and I didn’t have anyone else annoying me at the moment, so he became that person.

    I moved out and got in a show. Suddenly, my director was the enemy. Once the show was over and I moved into another short sublease, my new roommates became the enemy. They were… Until today. Today, I realized that there was a cycle, and it had to stop.

    It is a sick cycle, one that I’ve perpetuated for years now without even realizing it.

    Thank you for this article. With this small bit of realization, I can now assess what’s wrong in my life and fix it.

    Blessings your way,

    RCU

  • Spot on, for sure. I am my own worst enemy because I doubt myself almost on everything. It was so easy to have a partner who helped me with this. Was able to supress my thoughts, and now alone, the self doubt is back. I need to get rid of this self doubt.

    Thanks for another great post.

  • Life’s challenges sharpen your sword, if you accept the spirit warrior in you that can do it all. So is the making of a wise one.
    My worst enemy is always my self-induced fears that deny love within me.

  • I love what you put out there. Always educational and inspiring. I have a close friend who is 6 for 6 on this. She is pretty negative, always looks at what is going wrong and has never left her comfort zone. She has never had an intimate relationship because she has never allowed it to happen. She is a habitual liar for fear that people will find out she is not perfect although everyone close to her knows she is lying. It is so sad. I have had to limit my time with her because any attempt on my part to coax her into being more positive has failed. I have to protect myself and continue to enjoy and appreciate life.

  • Thank you for this post, in particular. I found your blog just after an unexpected, most terrific and super short intense relationship with a man who provided me quite a lot and it was for the most part, great. What neither of us could discuss nor admit to, was our respective expectations that arose due to past failed relationship experiences and past failed familial relationships that were mostly hard to even face, better yet to discuss. It was only after I said some harsh (very harsh) words to my then-partner and faced my own demons that came up in the relationship (which caused the termination of the relationship and any possibility of a friendship), that I realized I have quite a lot of work yet to do in facing inner turmoils that stemmed from early-years in not feeling worthy of all the love that I was receiving.

    When things do not work out after I have worked, worked, worked and worked so hard, I go so far as to feel that I am being punished for even being alive. This stems from having been abandoned years ago and dealing with not only adoption but also being adopted into a tumultuous family that did not reinforce my value in their lives. This is triggered in adult current days when I work so hard and face my “stuff” and process my “stuff”, make the constant effort to change and still am faced with doom. The doom is mostly within myself in that I believe erroneous thoughts and make those thoughts so real as to cancel any positive so that I am continuing the familiarity of negatives (as I felt that I deserved early-on).

    Your writing and also the responses of people in the comments are such a gift to make me realize that I am not alone nor am I a failure. You provide me hope with your messages that I can not only continue to be nice to others but begin to be nice to the thoughts in my head, reroute and wire those thoughts and tell them how wrong that they are, so that I can believe (for once) that I am alive with value to myself first and others second, and that I deserve the happiness that I indeed receive on a daily basis. At that time; however, let my expectations not be too high to fail others. I, then, with renewed vision will be kindest to myself and hope to be able to begin a true connection in attachment.

  • Thank you for this.

  • My biggest challenge is dealing with my expectations of how things are supposed to be. I am open, and giving, and tell people how I feel - and then am hurt when they tell me they feel the same way, that they care, but their actions and words don’t match. In my mind, I create this picture of things working out in a relationship - he says the right words, and I imagine us growing a healthy relationship, and then when he doesn’t make a move towards that, I get deeply hurt.

    I need to quiet my mind from these fantasies, and realize that everyone has a different idea of what honesty is. Of what sharing and loving and caring is. Of what it is to be a good friend. I think like so many people… I want things to work out the way I see them in my mind and heart. Unfortunately, others have a different movie running in their heads. I must learn to not plan so far ahead and attach to these thoughts. And to not have unrealistic expectations about how others will respond to what I feel and share.

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