Self-sabotage and mental-homeostasis
One of the most important insights I’ve had recently has to do with homeostasis and self-sabotage. In the groundbreaking book “Mastery” by George Leonard, I learned that there is such a thing as “mental-homeostasis”. In other words, if you’re used to having a certain emotional/mental state and you deviate from that state, your mind will attempt to bring you back to where you usually are mentally/emotionally.
To give you a more clear example: Imagine that you are like the average American and live a very sedentary lifestyle. If you suddenly decide to start exercising and you wake up early to do a sprint workout, there’s a good chance you’ll feel like throwing up as you pant frantically. That throwing up signal is your body’s way of maintaining homeostasis because it’s not used to exercising. Homeostasis is basically your body’s usual state. Your body isn’t used to sprinting so it sends all types of “stop” signals to your body in order to have it return to your usual state of comfort.
Homeostasis is otherwise known as your body’s way of regulating itself so when you’re sick, your body tries to get rid of the cold to return to homeostasis. And if you’re in a certain mental state all the time and you deviate from it, homeostasis will seek to have your mental state return to where it’s at. As you can probably tell by now, homeostasis doesn’t judge whether or not a state is good or bad for your goals and aspirations. It just seeks to return to the way it’s used to and has been surviving with thus far.
Right when I was on top of my game, the enemies came
Last week, I was on top of my game. Some things were starting to work out for me and I started feeling REALLy good about who I was and where I was going. I felt happy, grounded and secure. Then something interesting happened which resulted in me feeling insecure, depressed and anxious 30 minutes later…
When I first noticed that I was feeling unusually happy, I started feeling a little bit anxious. “This isn’t normal, what’s going to go wrong next? I’m not used to feeling this way. I can’t possibly feel good about where I am…I don’t deserve to feel this way”. Then I started to ponder things that happened in the past and that I already dealt with. Things that have caused a lot of pain for me before but that I already thought about and was basically finished with. Next thing you know, I was pondering events and situations that made me get into a downward spiral until I totally forgot about all of the happiness I was experiencing a few minutes earlier!
It was frustrating! And I’ve had this experience many times before. I have felt happy, secure and grounded only to feel like shit moments later on several occasions in my past. But I didn’t know why I kept doing that.
Until it hit me…
Years of having a horrible default state
I’ve spent years being anxious, depressed, and engaged in self-sabotaging behaviors. My mind’s usual state WAS to be like that. So when I finally felt happy and on top of my game as well as secure in who I was and where I was going, homeostasis didn’t allow it! My mind is not used to feeling that way so the law of homeostasis dictates that I must return to the state I’m currently used to being in. And that it did! Homeostasis started making my mind pull up things that happened in the past that caused pain, things that I’ve already dealt with, and making me ponder them again as though I’ve never dealt with them in the first place! It wasn’t logical at all. It was a very weird thing to watch happen. But once I got this insight, it was like a broom had come in and swept away the dust in my mind.
If I am on my purpose, moving forward and taking action/working on myself then I deserve to feel good about who I am and where I’m going. The old me was an anxious mess of internal conflict and insecurity but the new me is a positive-dominant, conscious, wise, and masculine man/warrior on his purpose. The new me feels good about who he is and is grounded in a healthy ego. And I should keep reinforcing that state and nurturing those beliefs and thoughts so that it does become the NEW ME, the NEW HOMEOSTASIS.
So, what happened next was simple. After I got that insight, I simply calmed down, cleared my mind and kept focusing on my vision of myself and that I deserve a feeling of grounding. And I felt way better after that. I felt renewed. I felt like a lot of fogginess had disappeared from my judgment.
It was an amazing insight to have and I’m working to massage it into my subconscious by constantly thinking about it and drilling it. I’m sure there’s more to this insight as everything expands when you think deeper and deeper about it. Either way, that’s where I’m at on my journey.
P.s. Would like to make progress on your journey to self-mastery? Check out the Spartan Ownership shop here for badass products and training courses that will accelerate your growth. Also, if you would like more personalized help, book a coaching session with me here.