Podcast Transcriptions

Pursue What Matters

Episode 230: Book Review – The Mountain is You

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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
How do you undermine yourself? We all do it whether we recognize that fact or not. Self Sabotage is one of the sneakiest ways we get in our own way. Yet if we lack awareness about our sabotage, it can be so difficult to know how to help ourselves. Boy, oh boy, do I have the book for you.

Dr. Melissa Smith 0:21
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So we are in a big series right now where we are cultivating your secret weapon, which is curiosity, and why is curiosity so important? So first of all, curiosity helps us to develop self-awareness, and self-leadership, these are really the foundation for effective leadership in any area of your life. And so, you know, we’ve been learning a lot about the value of curiosity, we’ve talked about the secure foundation, which is an acronym, with a focus on the specific behaviors and skills that really help you to have greater well-being to cope effectively, and to thrive in life. And so, of course, sprinkled throughout the series, we have our monthly book review. And this is a book that I came across, I think I was just looking for a book. And the reviews were pretty good. And it sounded like a great topic. And I’ve got to tell you, I really liked this book a lot.

Dr. Melissa Smith 1:53
So this book is called The Mountain is You: Transforming Self Sabotage into Self Mastery. And you know, a lot of us can relate to this topic. Self Sabotage is definitely a thing. It is part of the human condition. And so, you know, developing awareness about this because self sabotage can be pretty tricky, sometimes, and we can be pretty, pretty sophisticated in our self sabotage. And so it’s not always straightforward. Exactly, you know, how we’re undermining ourselves. And so this book by Brianna Wiest is really excellent. She just really cuts through all of all of the extra layers, and really gets to the heart of the issue, it is very well written. Like I said, it’s right to the point. So if you have a tender heart that that has a difficult time with direct feedback, you know, just take yourself through this book slowly. But I found it really refreshing. She did not tiptoe around any issues. And it’s just, it’s just really practical. So it’s a small book, it doesn’t take long to get through, I initially listened to the book, but then also have gone back and reread it with the with the paper version. And it’s really helpful. It’s one of those books, that could be a really good focus for your own, you know, your personal development. So whether that’s journaling, whether that’s using it as a tool in therapy, or coaching, it’s really helpful. And again, really focused on building self awareness and self leadership, which is one of the things we’re really focused on in terms of this podcast to help you pursue what matters by strengthening your confidence to lead. We like to do that in one of three areas. So leading with clarity, which is connection to purpose, leading with curiosity, which is exactly what we’re talking about today. And then helping you to build and lead communities. And what’s true about self sabotage is we also sabotage our relationships with others. And so this is also very pertinent for looking at your relationships both at home and work because self sabotage shows up everywhere.

Dr. Melissa Smith 4:11
So let’s learn a little bit more about the book and the author. So just a description on the book. I love it. This is a book about self sabotage, why we do it when we do it and how to stop doing it for good. So right, she cuts right to the chase. She’s very, very straightforward. So coexisting, but conflicting needs, create self sabotaging behaviors. This is why we resist efforts to change often until they feel completely futile. But by extracting crucial insight from our most damaging habits, building emotional intelligence by better understanding our brains and bodies, releasing past experiences at a cellular level, that is truly a thing that’s not just whoo stuff, and learning to act as our highest potential future selves. We can step out of our own way and into our potential.

Dr. Melissa Smith 5:02
So this book really is a call to accountability, a call to responsibility. Again, like I think it’s really, really refreshing. And so let’s look at what others are saying about the book. So from gender black and international coach, the ultimate seekers guide for those brave enough to face their true north and take their power back. So one of the things that we can all recognize is that change can be really hard. Change doesn’t happen overnight, right. And you might look at your own life and in these moments of self awareness, and look at the patterns of change, and, you know, thinking about specific things in your life that maybe you’ve wanted to change and why it’s been so hard. And it can feel so frustrating when you have a game plan for change. And then it doesn’t happen. And this is where we really want to get curious about the role of self sabotage. Because there are some really power dynamic, powerful dynamics at play often when we’re trying to make meaningful change. And so having some understanding, an insight about self sabotage can help you to actually make the change you really want, and make sure that that change is sustainable. And that’s what this book is all about. Some other reviews about this book. So this is from a Dr. Nicole Lapera, the holistic psychologist Brianna’s book is a beautiful expression of healing. Her insights on self sabotage, emotional intelligence, and deep transformation are invaluable. She understands that change begins with self and her book is a gift to the collective. And so some really great endorsements about this book. So Brianna Wiest is an author. She’s written several other books, one of her rarely popular books, I think, was an outgrowth of some of her online writing, which is she’s pretty popular for.

Dr. Melissa Smith 7:02
But the the first book that’s the I don’t know if it was her first book, but it was one it was an outgrowth of some of her online writing is 101 essays that will change the way you think. And I’ve read that one as well. It’s really good, I think the mountain is you. I think it’s a little bit better. But also, it’s more focused, right. So it’s really focused on this idea of self sabotage, and self mastery.

Dr. Melissa Smith 7:26
So let’s, let’s jump in. And I’ll just share some insights from the book to kind of give you a sense for whether you would want to pick up this book, and then I just want to share a few of her recommendations here. So first of all, right, she uses this metaphor of the mountain, which I love, it’s something that I find personally compelling. And she starts out with this, much like nature, life is very often working in our favor, even when it seems like we’re only being faced with adversity, discomfort and change. As far as fires are essential to the ecology of the environment, opening new seeds that require heat to sprout and rebuild a population of trees. Our minds also go through periodic episodes of positive disintegration or a cleansing through which we release and renew our self concept. And so I really love this metaphor, because it helps us to see that change is natural. It’s part of development, we have cycles of growth, we have cycles of consolidation. And I really loved that imagery of the forest. And you know, when I was I believe that, I believe I was in high school, junior high or high school, when they had we had the devastating fires in Yellowstone. So you know, I grew up about an hour and a half south of Yellowstone. And so that was a really big deal. In my life. We had a couple of months where the moon was read from the fires, we had a lot of people that came in right to fight the fires. And there was so much, you know, worry and upset about this huge forest fire, which, of course, is so understandable.

Dr. Melissa Smith 9:13
But one of the things that, you know, that people discovered, right, and of course, obviously, it scientists knew about this was how the forest fires also served to regenerate the forest. And so this concept, and this isn’t something I knew about before the Yellowstone fires, I just thought, oh, no, there’s our forest, it’s gone. And that felt so devastating, but that often the seeds require the heat of fire to grow. And so in a very real way, when you have a forest fire, right, like at that surface level, you’re just thinking this is devastating. We’re losing the forest, but you sometimes fail to appreciate what’s happening. What’s happening at a deeper level right with roots and seeds, and how that’s really laying the foundation for new growth. And so I love that metaphor, when we think about times in our own lives of adversity and change and struggle, where it just feels hard. And we just we want the pain to go away. We want the adversity to go away. And to be able to bring in this perspective, when you are having painful moments in life, and you feel the the SOAR trial of adversity, it is powerful to be able to say, this is a sign I’m growing. And you know, I have been facing some really challenging for me anyway challenging stressors in the past couple of years. And you know, many days where it’s like, I just want it to go away, I still want it to go away.

Dr. Melissa Smith 10:46
But I know that that’s not realistic. But many days when I was feeling deep pain, and worry and fear, a perspective that was really helpful for me, and it’s something that I just repeated to myself and still sometimes do is at least I know I’m growing, right. And those growing pains, growth is painful, it right, we do not grow in comfort, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. And so even though change is difficult, it’s painful, it requires us to change, we can bring in some perspective, to be able to see that even though it’s painful, it can be good. And you know, you can think about your other metaphors. You know, we think about building muscle this, that’s very true, right? Like you have to break down muscles in order to rebuild and strengthen them. And that takes it takes a lot of effort, it is not always pleasant. In fact, there is pain involved in that. But when you have that understanding, you don’t panic, when you have that understanding, you recognize that moving forward is the right approach. And so that perspective can really make a big difference. And so again, she uses this metaphor of nature, and specifically the mountain. And she says just as a mountain is formed, when two sections of the ground are forced against one another, your mountain will arise out of coexisting but conflicting needs, your mountain requires you to reconcile two parts of you, the conscious and the unconscious, the part of you that is aware of what you want, and the part of you that is not aware of why you are still holding yourself back.

Dr. Melissa Smith 12:31
So you know, we think about mountains, I’m in Utah, I’m surrounded by incredibly beautiful mountains. And it’s easy to just look at those and be like, Oh, they’re beautiful, and they’ve always been here. And the truth is, the growth of a mountain is a traumatic experience, right? We think about those tectonic plates, we think about the ground forces against one another. And, and yet out of that is beauty out of that is, you know, this incredible part of nature. And I really love how she applies that to our own growth and change that we have coexisting that conflicting needs. And when we when we grow, we are having to reconcile these two parts. And she talks about these two parts as the conscious and the unconscious. And self sabotage is often happening at an unconscious level. And so one of the points of this book is books is to bring the unconscious into conscious awareness. So that’s another way of saying that is bringing in self awareness so that you can identify the ways you self sabotage, so that you don’t do that, do that again, and you can actually create meaningful change for yourself.

Dr. Melissa Smith 13:49
So, you know, you might know what your mountain is, maybe you don’t know what it is. But this is what she has to say about it. Your mountain is the block between you and the Life You Want To Live facing. It is also the only path to your freedom and becoming, you are here because a trigger showed you to your wound, and your wound that will show you to your path. And your path will show you to your destiny. And so that’s really what she’s attending to in this book. And so I just want to share a couple more points from the book. There. This is so full of great information. So one of the first things that she looks at and the question that she asks is, what does self sabotage look like now, right? It might not be conscious for you, so you might not have a clue. And so she shares many, many examples of what self sabotage looks like. And not only that, she shares your response to it. So if you read through some of these descriptions of self sabotage, she gives you some specific direction to help you to overcome that self sabotage. So let’s learn what some of these are. So what does self sabotage look like?

Dr. Melissa Smith 15:07
Resistance? Perfectionism, limited emotional processing skills, justification, disorganization? Have you ever thought that, that your struggle is disorganization is actually self sabotage? Ooh, reflect on that for a few moments, attachment to what you don’t really want. Have you found yourself pushing for a relationship to continue even though that relationship causes you a lot of pain, a lot of her a lot of distress. We can become insecurely attached right, we can develop attachment patterns that are not in our best interest. And yet, we keep pushing towards those attachments because they feel comfortable or we have a lot of fear about losing them. And so this attachment to what you don’t really need or what’s not helping you is a really good sign of self sabotage. Some other signs including include judging others, pride, guilt, about succeeding, I’ve run into that for sure. fear of failing, downplaying your accomplishments, unhealthy habits, or being busy, right, like keeping your schedule. So booked that you don’t have time to pursue things that really matter to you. And then also spending time with the wrong people that can be very undermining and worrying about irrational fears and least likely circumstances. So do you find yourself catastrophizing, that will just that will put you in a corner and leave you no good for anyone. So that I think that’s really, really helpful to think about. And then she gives us some insight into how to tell if your inner self sabotage cycle, right, because this isn’t always happening on a conscious level. But here are some of the signs, you’re more aware of what you don’t want than what you do want. Boy, that is real, that’s so insightful, I think that’s really helpful to think about, you’re putting your head in the sand. So you’ve got some self denial going on, you care more about convincing other people you’re okay, than actually being okay.

Dr. Melissa Smith 17:14
So this can often show up in therapy, where we, you know, we spend our time and energy, convincing our therapists that we’re okay, or denying some of the feedback that a therapist may be giving, that’s a really good sign of self sabotage, your main priority in life is to be liked, even if that comes at the expense of being happy. Boy, there’s a lot of us that fall into that trap. You’re blindly chasing goals without asking yourself why you want those things. So this is easy to happen in our consumerism, society, right? Like we end up chasing others goals or following others expectations, and never really stopped to slow down and look at is this something that I even want? Is this something that’s bringing more joy and well-being to my life? Or is it something that’s undermining me, you’re waiting for someone else to open the door give you approval or hand you the life you’ve been waiting for. And so that sense of helplessness, or feeling like we’re an observer in our lives, rather than an active participant is a big sign of self-sabotage. And another one, I think this is important, you don’t realize how far you’ve come. So you just kind of hammer yourself deeper in the ground. And it makes it hard to be motivated to take the next step in growth. And so we need to have an honest assessment of our challenges. But we also need to have an honest assessment of our strengths. So those are some really helpful guides in terms of understanding when you might get caught in a self-sabotage cycle. And then the last thing that I’ll end with, and I think this is, this is something she covers in the second half of the book, and it’s really helpful. She talks about the concept that your triggers are your guide to freedom.

Dr. Melissa Smith 19:03
So when you get emotionally hooked, the things that hook you are your guide to freedom, they provide really valuable information. So for most of us, we see that as anger, embarrassment, sadness, guilt, chronic fear, and jealousy, if you can get curious about these behaviors, these triggers, they will, they will provide you a path to greater well-being, they’ll provide you a path to freedom. And so what she says is our internal guidance systems whisper until they scream, so they will get our attention, but we can be good at you know, denying and refusing these, these systems and tell a point where, you know, we can’t ignore them anymore. And so again, this is an excellent book, I think is a really good companion to your personal development, self-reflection, and journaling. It’s a great tool for therapy.

Dr. Melissa Smith 20:01
So head on over to my website to check out the show notes with the resources for this episode at www.drmelissasmith.com/230-themountainisyou. I will link to this book and the author on the show notes. And of course, you can join me on Instagram @dr.melissasmith for more great information related to the podcast. So if you didn’t catch that whole list, I will include that on Instagram and I’d love to get your thoughts and perspective there. And if you’re so inclined, I’d love it if you would consider giving the podcast a five-star review on Apple or Spotify. It does help people find the podcast. In the meantime, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work in love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care

Transcribed by https://otter.ai