When upset or angry, there is often a temptation to become self-destructive in some way. We downplay things to justify our behavior. Whether we do it with intention or not, is not what this discussion is about. Should anyone care enough to call us out on our behavior, they are likely to receive a snippy answer. “What do you care, I’m only hurting myself ,” were the words I once heard, basically telling me to mind my own business.
It is easy to fool ourselves into thinking that the only harm will come to us. When contemplating cause and effect, there seems to be an infinite number of ways things could turn out. Every new variable added, adds a degree of complexity to any equation. To declare with absolute certainty a specific thing will happen is sometimes hard to prove. A common example of this is what people do with their bodies. Many people are quick to judge another by how they treat their bodies. Without getting into the different vices that affect our health, any and all of them have possible side effects eventually. In the short run, it may be true that you are not affecting anyone but yourself. However, if given long enough, something is guaranteed to happen that will affect another person or even many people.
Our health or the lack thereof affects our families, friends, and employers. They are the ones who visit us in the hospital. They are the ones who care for us when we cannot do it on our own. They too, pay a price for our decisions. When we aren’t feeling good, our productivity goes down. Our employers pay us the same wages yet get less output from us. We would never want to pay someone less when they are not working as hard, yet we expect employers to all the time. The list doesn’t stop there. It simply goes on in the unseen realm where any combination of things could happen.
It is a long chain of actions and reactions, linked together. When you actually care about someone’s wellbeing, it’s hard to accept that they sabotage themselves. But each person was given free will, who are we to take that choice away from them? We can pray for them and try to encourage them. Outside of these things, there is little we can do, since they may or may not accept what we want for them.
When it is you committing self-sabotage, recognize that others may suffer as a result of your action or failure to act. Neglecting what we ought to do in the name of self-sabotage is wrong and, in many cases, selfish. I’ve been there, done that and would be a hypocrite to say otherwise. Nonetheless, we should always strive to do the right thing, not just for ourselves but for others who may have to live with our decisions too.