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Self-sabotage or self-preservation?

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

This is a saying I often use with clients. It’s a favourite of mine.

Sometimes the ending changes to “milked all day” or “milked longer than was good for your health”.

I find it helps someone see where one incident can affect their whole day, especially where it’s something that has no real cost asides from replacing a tyre or being a bit later than intended. Something relatively simple.

I suppose it puts things into perspective. Is it really something that is going to affect you next day or next week or even next year or is it one of those things that you can let go?

It wasn’t always something I practiced. I could have grumbled all day and let my mood stop me from getting on with my work, enjoying time with friends and family, continuing along a path that meant I would end the day thinking that it had been a bad one.

I think I was probably a bit of a pain to be around on those days (and still can be because I'm only human and it does still happen on a rare occasion).

The first time I put this into practice was when I was taking my car up to the garage as it had issues with the battery and didn’t always start.

I pulled into the local shop/petrol station and went to get my dad a cuppa. I came out and the car wouldn’t start. I went in and asked the staff if anyone had jump leads and within 20 minutes the engine was running again. I did have a very impatient dad in the car but at least he wasn’t thirsty

A very helpful manager got things sorted, rang a friend for jump leads and ensured both my dad and I were ok. Once we got the engine started again I thanked him, smiled and he surprised me by telling me that he had never seen anyone so unaffected by issues with their car. Especially as I was now running late and still had a smile on my face.

Years ago I would have grumbled about things all day, letting things affect my mood. I didn’t actually think about the effect it had on me or others around me.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with getting upset or reacting to a situation but if it affects you all day unnecessary and you realise you had a choice would you continue or choose to feel better?

And if you are choosing to milk it for much longer than was necessary, is it time to ask yourself why?


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