Mbali Mzinyane shoots

“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen” – Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

Remember when you were younger – say about six or seven years old – and could nonchalantly blurt out how you would become an astronaut, have your own business or travel the world when you got older? How those words freely left your mouth and not a single negative thought or any unsolicited opinion could shake you into thinking otherwise?

Nowadays, you’re singing a different tune. You second-guess your abilities, have let fear become an inhabitant of your mind and unlike the six-year-old you, you willingly invite unsolicited opinions and make them your reality.  You’ve internalised external expectations and have allowed these to define your world. Anything you know you’re capable of doing is paralysed by doubt and sometimes you don’t even wait for naysayers to get you down, you gladly do it on your own.

You feel stuck and can’t seem to get yourself out of your rut. It’s frustrating, it’s overwhelming, it’s the very cause of your anxiety and distress. Yet sometimes you somehow find pleasure in your self-pity and momentarily find a frightening comfort in telling yourself you can’t do it. You are your worst enemy, your very own saboteur.

Mbali mzinyane

I’m able to paint such a colourful picture because I know all too well about self-sabotage. I know all about living in your sabotage so much that you start believing the negativity it breeds. I know all about constantly being at war with yourself despite the unassuming togetherness you portray on the outside. I know all about the self-doubting questions that follow your achievements or talking yourself out of great opportunities when your insecurities show. The “should’ves”, the “could’ves”, the “Am I good enoughs?” – I know all too well about them.

Self-sabotage, when you’re past the realisation stage, is a very difficult complex to confront.  It’s an uncomfortable truth that leaves a very disheartening discomfort. So disheartening that it leaves you disappointed in yourself and almost triggers another episode of self-loathing. On the surface, self-sabotage appears to be deliberate when it in fact stems from subconscious insecurities/fears. Most times when you self-destruct, you’re not even aware of it. And when you are aware, you’ve already defeated yourself so much that you’re unable to motivate yourself into doing what you set out to do.  Self-sabotage in its purest form is parasitic – it eats you up while you watch yourself perish.

For some it’s disguised as procrastination or ‘settling’ out of fear , for others it’s in its severe form of physical self-injury. But at every degree, it’s life-threatening and debilitating.

But after a while and after some much needed honest reflection, the self-hate, judgement and pity become tiring. By then you’ve beaten yourself up so much that you realise that the only way from that point is to seek healing. That day, you wake up and decide to give yourself a chance. You decide to do better and be better for yourself. You allow yourself to feel, to confront some uncomfortable truths, to ache, to process and to recover.  You seek answers from within, you listen, you pray, you meditate and you love yourself to the point of healing.  And that day, is the day you set yourself free.

I am able to paint this picture too, because I am healing.

Mbali mzinyane afro

Photography: Carlos Muchave

Article By : Mbali Mzinyane 

also available on her blog Solace & Wonder