We’re onto week five of The Artist’s Way challenge, and it’s time to answer the age-old question: Why do we self sabotage?

This week’s message is, “Recovering a Sense of Possibility.” Cameron writes,

“This week…You will explore how you curtail your own possibilities by placing limits on the good you can receive…You may find yourself thinking about radical changes, no longer ruling out your growth by making others the cause of your construction.”

It sounds like the key topic this week is self-limitation mixed with a little bit o’ self-accountability. I like it!

There are six sections in this chapter, plus a variety of exercises to work through at the end.

Anything is possible, unless we sabotage ourselves


Self sabotage is real.

How many times have you talked yourself out of a monumental idea because you didn’t think you could handle it? Sometimes just the thought of what it’s going to take to bring our ideas to fruition feels insurmountable. Most often, we get stuck in planning mode because the time is never “right” to move forward with our project.

[Raises Hand]

But are we ever going to be “ready?” Sometimes it’s hard to see other people’s success and think, “that could be me!” And in a world where everyone posts their top achievements on social media, it’s no wonder we find it hard not to compare ourselves. 

In this section, Cameron reminds us that there are no limits in the universe when it comes to creativity and abundance. When we attain success, we don’t deprive anyone else. When we reject success, we only deprive ourselves.

This article from Elle UK examines the scarcity mindset from the perspective of women and how feelings of lack lead to insecurity, jealousy, and comparison. The author, Octavia Bright writes, 

“So, instead of working together to create a new, more egalitarian society, they are kept busy bitching behind each other’s backs.”

We need to empower each other! Women, men, all of us. Also, we need to let go of our idea of how success will happen. If we’re so set on a specific path to success, we limit the potential possibilities available to us. When we’re experiencing feelings of lack, it’s hard to believe there might be something better out there for us, something we hadn’t even considered, but this section asks us to do just that, with or without God.

Finding the River

In this section, Cameron considers how we’ve (hopefully) begun to change over the past four weeks. Perhaps, our morning pages have led us to loosen our hold on some of those outdated ideas that have held us back. Maybe, we’ve welcomed the idea of saying yes to ourselves and allowing a bit of magic or fun and adventure back into our lives. Hopefully, we’ve learned to go with the flow a bit and accept some of those unexpected outcomes along our path as real possibilities.

The Virtue Trap

Don’t abandon your wants and needs to serve others if it comes at the expense of your happiness. Cameron refers to the desire to always put others first as the virtue trap. Why do we self sabotage this way? We want to be good, kind, and reliable people, so we feel like we must be available 24/7 to answer to every whim.

If you feel that putting your own needs first is selfish, I urge you to examine what led you to feel this way. Sure, we all have responsibilities to our family, friends, and bosses, but we also have an obligation to ourselves to reflect, heal, and refill our creative well. Why must we be the ones to give up everything? Carve out a couple of hours, or heck, 20 minutes this week for yourself. If not for your creativity, then do it for your mental health.

The Virtue-Trap Quiz

This section includes a quiz with ten fill-in-the-blank style questions. I have included a few of them below:

The biggest lack in my life is___concentration/focus

The greatest joy in my life is___the freedom to write

If I let myself feel it, I’m angry that I___keep letting myself down (specifically, when trying to create better habits)

Cameron also poses the following questions:

Does your life serve you or only others? My life serves both. It’s the only way to be. You must care for yourself to properly care for others.

Are you self-destructive? No, but I’m guilty of some self sabotage. I sell myself short, which is one of the reasons I’m working through this process.

Nothing is forbidden is we don't sabotage ourselves

Forbidden Joys, An Exercise

Are there activities you would love to explore, but don’t allow yourself to try? How often do you say no to yourself? In this section, Cameron asks us to list ten things we love, but don’t allow ourselves to do. One way we sabotage ourselves is by not allowing joy in our lives.

I’m having trouble coming up with anything, let alone ten things. There’s nothing and no one stopping me other than my fear, but I’m not afraid to allow myself to enjoy life. I’m ready to try anything at least once. I’m all about the pleasures. Haha.

Writing is really the only thing I love, but don’t always allow myself to do. I’ve mentioned in the past that this is mainly due to my fear. I’m so afraid to fail, but I’ve been fighting through this every day to get some piece of writing done. I’m making it a point to do that now. Some small task every day to fight through my fear, so it can’t control me.

Wish List, An Exercise

Finally, Cameron asks us to utilize a speed writing technique to aid us in dodging our inner censor. We are to respond 19 times in quick succession to the phrase, “I wish___,” but the final time, we react to a slightly changed version, “I most especially wish­­­___.”

Some of mine:

I wish my health weren’t weird right now.

I wish I had time to read all the books.

I wish I could concentrate and focus on one thing right now.

I most especially wish I could stop holding myself back and fully embrace my writing.

Week five, part two will be up shortly! Until then, you can find my previous Artist’s Way posts below:


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