How Is Self-Sabotage Keeping You Stuck, Sick, and Small?
Hello Kindersley and area! My name is Holly McCorriston and I am a life coach and mental fitness trainer.
I primarily work with women that are secretly struggling with stress and anxiety to overcome the shame and self-sabotage keeping them stuck, sick, and small. I was born and raised in Kindersley and worked as a pharmacist in the community up until December 2020, a few years after I realized that my work in healthcare did not align with my values or what is truly important to me.
It is incredibly important to me that more people gain access to resources that will help them to regulate their nervous systems and overcome trauma responses that continue to keep them stuck in limiting patterns and programs. I intend for this column to be educational, inspiring, and useful for anyone that is interested in a holistic healing journey. I believe everyone is capable of becoming the hero of their own story and it all begins with taking radical ownership and personal responsibility for everything in our lives.
Two weeks ago I introduced a huge topic of how adopting a new understanding of trauma could change everything we know about healing and our health. I could spend the rest of my life unpacking this topic and I hope increased awareness on this topic expedites the healing process for whoever needs it. While it would be nice if the local physicians, pharmacists, and healthcare providers could expand their scope of practice to include this kind of information, I was told time and time again in healthcare that it wasn’t my job to teach, inform, or bring this information to the general public.
And perhaps the system I was in that simply wanted me to count the pills by 5, answer the phones, and mindlessly give the injections was right. Maybe it is the job of the pharmacist to be the medication expert and that’s it.
However, I found it such a conflict of interest when part of medication education is supposed to be informed consent which includes going over all of the risks and benefits associated with a treatment, including what the alternatives are (which sometimes means doing nothing).
After almost two years of reading, studying, and training in life coaching, mental fitness training, trauma, habit formation, psychology, and holistic health, it no longer made sense for me to stay in my pharmacy position. Sure, I could maybe plant some seeds or help the occasional person that came to the counter looking for answers that weren’t in a bottle, but at the end of the day I was simply expected to act as the gatekeeper to the magical pills that are supposed to keep us happy and healthy for the rest of our days.
And this is simply a lie. There is no magic pill. There is no quick fix. And we are all so out of touch with our bodies, spirits, and emotions that it is no wonder that symptoms escalate into mental health crises, autoimmune disorders, and other idiopathic conditions that no one else really seems to be able to find the root cause. We live in a society that prides its members on being able to hustle, grind, and keep up to an incredulous standard that results in most of us waking up one day and wondering “What in the world is this all for?”
So if you are tired of being stuck, sick, and small, I invite you to begin your own healing journey. I invite you to start getting curious about your own behaviours, patterns, and programs that are keeping you on the hamster wheel of self-sabotage in your life, work, and relationships.
Much like when a windstorm blows a whole bunch of garbage into your yard, well…it might not be your garbage, but it is your responsibility to clean it up. So while all the weird self-sabotaging behaviours, patterns, and programs you have locked in your brain and body may indeed not be your fault, but it IS your responsibility to accept that they are there and begin to clean them up.
How do you start to do this? Literally the first piece of this is self-awareness.
Instead of going about your day stuck on auto-pilot, are you willing to slow down and observe?
Are you willing to break old patterns of reactivity and swap them out for more well-thought-out responses?
Are you willing to take responsibility and ownership for who you want to be rather than just settling for the status quo of who you think you are?
Two years ago, I was terrified at the idea of leaving my job. It was the only job I had ever known. I started there when I was 23-years-old. In my hometown. 4 blocks from the same house I grew up in and 4 blocks from the home I purchased on the same block as that home I grew up in. It was comfortable. Familiar. Easy. And also stifling and keeping me stuck, sick, and small.
I didn’t realize it then, but I was completely cut off from myself and who I thought I was. I had become so wrapped up in my identity as a healthcare provider, that I didn’t know who I was without the white coat and the label. Yet, I knew it wasn’t where I was supposed to be. Something was calling to me, just a faint whisper, that I was meant for something more than being a cog in a wheel of a system built on fear, illness, and disease.
It wasn’t until I started to reconnect with myself and my body that several of my own long-standing health issues started to resolve. Having struggled with my weight from a young age, I was finally able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight without disordered eating or excessive exercise. Uncomfortable symptoms of gas, bloating, and stomach issues resolved.
Anxiety and depression symptoms that had at one point resulted in me walking out of the pharmacy in the middle of a shift all but disappeared. I found a deep peace and feeling of floating inside myself. I was no longer grinding my teeth. I got sober from alcohol after almost 20 years of binge drinking. Seasonal allergy symptoms that had been treated with prescription steroid nasal sprays for almost 20 years went away.
I felt better.
I didn’t have the language for it then, but I knew somehow that working on my whole self instead of just my physical body was the reason for these shifts. A devout atheist my entire life, I adopted a spiritual practice outside of religion. I tapped into my creativity again. I was writing and writing and writing, something I hadn’t done since I was a young teenager (before boys, booze, and other bad habits). I was writing poetry that described my journey out of the pit of depression it felt like I had been in for almost 20 years.
The behaviours, patterns, and programs that keep us stuck, sick, and small often form for good reasons. They are trauma responses and nervous system dysregulations that were formed when we were young and unable to express ourselves fully. That energy gets stuck in the body and often gets triggered and activated by unrelated experiences in our adult lives. This results in triggers and reactivity that further perpetuates these patterns of protection.
And YOU have the power to change these patterns, simply by beginning to pay attention to them. Your body is not the enemy and you no longer need to remain a victim to the patterns and programs that keep you in cycles of reactivity. In each moment, you can choose to notice, pause, and choose a different response instead. Like building a muscle with repetitions, the more you choose differently, the more the default pattern will shift to responsiveness vs reaction.
Nothing will change until you begin to take responsibility for your own life and journey. There may be patterns of thought coming up and saying “Easier said than done!” or “I’m too broken for something this simple” AND those are exactly the kinds of patterns we all need to quit taking so seriously.
I thought I was so broken that if anyone found out how I was feeling, they would take my pharmacy licence away. Now, only two years later? I feel so much better that I’ve given up that pharmacy licence willingly and gladly. It was never who I was.
If you are curious about what your default self-sabotage patterns or programs might be, you can take the free Saboteur Assessment at www.positiveintelligence.com to start increasing your awareness of them now. I also offer a variety of other free resources and tools at my website www.hollymccorriston.com, including a free download called “5 Mental Fitness Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety.” Information about working with me in my signature 1:1 and group Be Your Own Hero programs are also available on my website.
I truly believe the key to healing this apparently broken world we live in is to begin with healing ourselves, and none of that happens without self-awareness and personal ownership. Go ahead and see what it feels like when you take responsibility for every little choice you make. Ultimately, you are the only one in the driver’s seat of whether you react to old patterns or observe and respond differently instead. Who would you rather be?
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