To stop being your own worst enemy, don’t identify with the unhelpful thoughts in your mind, practice self-care consistently, ask for help whenever needed, and learn the art of doing when you catch yourself overthinking.

At first, the idea that someone may be their own worst enemy sounds irrational. And it is.

But then as you discover the mind and its complex functions and patterns, you realize that it’s not so rare.

In fact, most of us have been their own worst enemy at least once in their life, for example when they were “at their lowest”.

Keep reading…

Your own worst enemy is the mind

Here’s a lesson from Osho — self-improvement and self-help practices such as meditation and introspection should be used to go beyond the mind.

Being willing to “study” your mind is an achievement in itself, however, we should never fall into the trap of studying the mind to remain in it.

The analogy is that of a prisoner that carefully observes the walls of the prison, the escape routes, the guards etc. not because they find them interesting, but because they want to escape.

The concern of the buddhas about the mind is only as a stepping stone. The mind has to be understood because we are entangled in it.

One person tries to understand the structure of the jail only to find out ways to escape from it (…). You try to understand the structure of the jail just to get out of it.

If at times you tend to be your own worst enemy, know that it’s the mind orchestrating the process, not your true self.

This is the first thing to remember — your true self, your essence, the Subject, is technically incapable of working against you.

The mind, however, can work against you in subtle ways — for example, by keeping you stuck in limiting beliefs, or by self-sabotaging, or by repeating the same toxic thoughts indefinitely.

The first step to stop being your own worst enemy is to detach from the mind, see it as it is, and never identify with it (never assume the mind is you).

How to stop being your own worst enemy

1. Stop overthinking

We all do it. We shouldn’t do it. There’s a fine line between careful planning and overthinking, but typically as humans we lean toward the latter. So here’s the trick — always prioritize doing rather than thinking.

2. Keep a gratitude journal

You already have everything you need. As provocative as it may sound, it’s a powerful reality check. Gratitude is one of the easiest ways to focus on the good, and keeping a journal one of the easiest ways to practice it.

3. Let go of the past you

The past is what led you here… nothing more. Know its importance, but also know when to let go of it. Never assume that who you used to be determines who you are (and who you can become).

4. Get clear on what you want

One of the ways the mind self-sabotages and becomes your worst enemy is by focusing all its energy on the things it fears. Naturally, this attracts the exact opposite of what you want. The solution? Focus on what you actually want!

5. Know you deserve the best

If so far you’ve been looking for reasons as to why you are not worthy of the things you want, why not do the opposite and find enough reasons you do deserve happiness and freedom?

6. Let go of unhelpful thoughts

Imagine your thoughts as leaves on a stream, or clouds, or anything that just passes by. That’s more or less what thoughts are. Some will be helpful, some will be your worst enemy. Your goal is to carefully select them.

7. Ask for help whenever needed

I am human. You are human. We all are. This means none of us was designed to be fully and completely independent. Learn to ask for help without feeling guilty — it doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.

Other tips to stop being your own worst enemy

8. Cultivate self-care

Consume inspiring content, buy gifts for yourself, allow yourself to do what you love. Be kind to yourself and physically do things that make you feel good (and don’t always rely on others to feel that way).

9. Be obsessed with your health

Given that the mind can find so many ways to work against you, this post focuses primarily on mental health. However, true wellbeing is holistic. Take care of your nutrition/sleep/posture etc. and I promise it will reflect on your mind.

10. Stop self-deprecating humor

Nothing wrong with the occasional self-deprecating joke, right? Yes and no. Each time you belittle yourself, even as a joke, you send a signal and the mind will interpret it literally. So when you catch yourself doing that, stop.

11. Don’t copy others

Copying others is a bad idea in general. People complain, then complain some more, and essentially do nothing to change. Don’t do the same — practice individuality and independent thinking and know that complaining is never the solution.

12. Do the “best friend” exercise

Whenever you feel you’re your own worst enemy, simply imagine the opposite — being your own best friend! Literally imagine what they would do to comfort you, their advice, etc. Speaking of which…

13. Choose the right friends

It’s super important to surround yourself with people who appreciate you and inspire you. Fake friends and/or toxic friends will at best do nothing and at worst ruin your self-image.

14. Get to know your demons

We all have inner demons whether it’s insecurities, anger, depression etc. To pretend they don’t exist is silly. To fight against them is also a bad idea. What you want to do is acknowledge them and find the root cause. Awareness kills demons.

15. Find reasons why you matter

And literally write them down. Why are you important? Why do you deserve the best in life? Why are you blessed, what are you grateful for? If you are your own worst enemy, pen and paper can be your best friend.