How to Self-Care after Self-Sabotage

I started my business at a time when I was trying desperately to claw myself out of a darkness that had been stealing my joy and confidence for much longer than I had ever wanted. 

You see, I started my business in the midst of an addiction that felt impossible to overcome. It  was this brave way of reaching my hand through the darkness to say, “I still matter here.” 

It became a way for me to survive. It became a hope that my life had value. It became a plea for healing, even if I didn’t see it that way at first.

When our work and creativity are built from a need to prove to ourselves that we matter—when something doesn’t go well, or the applause ends—we’re left again with those same broken pieces, debating our worthiness.

And that’s exactly where I was.

Everything intensified when I exposed myself to that level of risk and vulnerability. Suddenly posting on social media, sending emails, or selling my services were not just intentional acts of marketing—they were mirrors, asking me questions:

Do I matter here? 
Am I worthy here? 
Do I belong here? 
Am I valuable here?

These questions are heavy to sit with in the vulnerability of creating in this business. So, over the years, I began to self-sabotage in the form of people-pleasing, self-shaming, and procrastination, to protect myself from that feeling of vulnerability.

Self-sabotage is a deeply internalized way of coping whenever our system feels threatened. These treats can look different for everyone, but they are commonly feelings of rejection, failure, not belonging, and losing control. 

Eventually, after a few years, I began the very sacred and beautiful work of recovery. I started to peel back my layers to see what lay beneath—not out of a desire to fix, but to witness and notice. I fell in love with the practice of self-care after minimizing and neglecting myself for so long. I immersed myself into communities where I could truly let people reflect my infinite value and belonging back to me.

I learned that even though the addiction told me my worthiness was debatable, it was never actually up for debate. That though I felt I had to prove that I mattered through my work, I was hustling for something I had never really lost. That though my self-sabotage soothed me, it was not actually supporting me.

And this turned me toward a path of asking myself new questions: 

What would it look to lead a business knowing my worthiness is never in question? 
What would it mean for my work if I created out of rest instead of hustle? 
How would my leadership change knowing that I am unconditionally cared for by me? 

The pace and tone of my work and well-being began to transform because my work was the outcome of my healing; it was no longer for survival. Now, I create because I want to, not to prove that I matter or belong.

Making that kind of transition changed the day-to-day of my business. Now I work intentionally, choosing projects that I want to create or be a part of. I get to choose a model of business that feels supportive to me. I get to infuse so much self-care into my day that I know a break or a deep breath is available to me if I need it. 

Understanding my self-sabotage helped me learn how to support myself. It opened this beautiful window so I could see my needs and vulnerabilities. It taught me how to meet myself with support and care instead of ignoring my feelings, pushing through them, or shaming myself for feeling overwhelmed in the first place.  

As I’ve integrated these practices into my life, my business has become a soothing space for me to pour out my gifts and heart, rather than a scale of self-worth. I’ve gone from struggling to make money to comfortably paying my bills, from insecurity in my work to deep-seated confidence, and from a constant stress cycle of hustle to a slow and intentional pace of work in support of my life.

And now, at the end of every day, when I lay my head on my pillow, no matter what the hours of that day held, I can say the same thing:

I am worthy. I’ve always been worthy.

And if you lean in a little to yourself today, beyond the self-doubts and worries for tomorrow, I think that you’ll hear it, too. 

I am worthy. I’ve always been worthy.

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