How I overcame self-sabotage

Throughout school, Natalie loved to perform. She had enrolled in speech and drama classes as an extracurricular activity.

“I enjoyed performing. I liked a bit of the spotlight,” she says. “But I always felt like I wasn’t good enough either.”

Natalie says she never felt pretty enough when compared to the others in her class and she allowed how she felt about her appearance to dictate how deserving she was when it came to auditioning for school plays and other dramatic performances.

That was until she was in her later years at high school.

“I entered the local eisteddfod in a speaking category and won,” she says.

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“I’d never achieved this kind success before and I think that was a defining moment for me.”

Natalie, now 63, says that following her win she became more confident in her abilities. Mentally and emotionally she was stronger and this afforded her to back herself and stop comparing herself to others.

She says it set her up for several of life’s greatest challenges.

“Before I became a mother, I questioned if I could be the sort of mother my mother was to me. We were incredibly close, despite me asserting my independence early on. I looked at other mothers and how they interacted with their children and wondered if I could show that sort of care, compassion and love,” Natalie says.

She needed have worried.

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“My daughters and I are close. I speak to at least one of them daily. I’m incredibly proud of the women they have become and I’d like to think that as a parent I helped influence that,” Natalie says.

Natalie believes that from the time you are born you are making decisions about who you are going to be based on what you learn.

She says although she struggled throughout her youth with self-doubt and would often resist reaching for her goals for fear of failure, she worked hard to overcome such obstacles and was able to follow her heart.

“I began to recognise that nothing good ever came easily,” Natalie says. “When I worked my hardest the successes I experienced were so much more rewarding and this spurred me on to set new goals and reach new heights in my youth.”

Natalie says she needed to come to terms with who she is as well.

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“I was able to identify what I was afraid of and what was holding me back. Once I’d done this I was able to accept it and embrace it,” she says.

“It’s what keeps me dancing when my children hide their faces in embarrassment. It allows me to be the best grandmother because I’m not afraid to get silly with my grandchildren, while also providing them with the love and care that I gave my children.”

Natalie says she stopped beating herself up about what she perceived were failures in life.

“My children might not have had fancy cars and designer clothes like some of their friends, but there is no shortage of love in our house and they know that when they call I will be there with a listening ear,” she says.

“I remind myself of how lucky I am every day. Sometimes I do this with meditation, taking a few minutes at the start of the day to be thankful that I’m alive and have a life that’s mine,” Natalie says.

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Natalie says other ways she was able to eliminate self-sabotage from her life involved staying true to her beliefs and values, and paying attention to her thoughts and feelings in the present so that negative thoughts of the past were unable to dominate her everyday living.

She enjoys spending time with her family, but Natalie says she also makes sure she has time for herself.

“I get regular massages, which helps me ‘switch off’ my thinking and just live in the moment,” she says. “I go for a walk first thing every morning, which sets me up for the day.”

As a parting thought Natalie says, “Every day is a new day and regardless of age I can learn to overcome the difficult times and lead a full life, a life where I can achieve my greatest goals.”

Do you meet the goals you set for yourself? Have you ever come up against a challenge you thought was too big? How have you overcome feelings of self-doubt? Share your thoughts with us.