March 6, 2015

Toxic Behaviors: Are They Holding You Back?

jennyA couple months ago, my business partner Allison and I had a very special speaker at our monthly women’s event, Gather n’ Glow. Jenny Schatzle of The Jenny Schatzle Program is a dynamic, motivating and authentic woman who has created an amazing life and career for herself, but not without struggle.

After sharing her story of overcoming addiction and food issues that have plagued her most of her life, she then asked the participants, “What toxic behavior is holding you back and keeping you from becoming all that you can be?” And then she claimed, “We all have one, so get honest with yourself.”

This gave rise to a lot of emotion for me because I knew exactly what mine was immediately, but it wasn’t something that was outside of myself, or even easy to admit. Most people’s toxic behaviors usually consist of drinking, drugs, gossiping, eating bad food, over eating, mindless eating, watching too much TV, getting involved in other people’s dramas, meaningless sex, etc. For me, it was none of those.

Now you may be thinking I am some Mother Teresa, or that I am bragging, but the truth is giving up some of those toxic behaviors I listed above took time and commitment to myself. I have been very intentional about the way I live my life, and living as cleanly as possible, because it feels better than living the other way, and believe me, I did the other way for years and it never felt good at the end of the day. I always came up feeling empty.

But what I did come to realize as I felt the sting of her question, and if I was really honest with myself, that my most toxic behavior is my own self-doubt and thoughts of unworthiness that creep into my day on a regular basis and keep me from really showing up fully in my business and life in general.

You may not know this about me because you only see my highlight reel on social media, and we all know that social media is not the real truth of anyone’s life,  but self-doubt has been something I’ve struggled with my whole life.

I think on some level we all have feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and that is what can drive us to these toxic behaviors. It’s hard to look at ourselves, and uncover those dark shadows that live within. It’s easier to wear the mask and pretend everything is A-ok. But what I have come to realize is that, if we don’t look within and address what is driving these toxic behaviors, and get honest with ourselves, our life will never be as full and rich as it could be.

Jenny shared how she felt completely out of integrity with herself each day and even though she knew it,  she didn’t do anything about it because her ego had better ideas. She is a very well-known fitness trainer in Santa Barbara and one that many people respect and look up to. She would work out intensely every day and train people while preaching that they need to be healthy, eat healthy, etc., yet she was engaging in toxic behaviors on the weekends to an extreme of drinking, partying and over-eating. She would justify it by stating that she was being social and having fun with her friends, but she started to realize how out of alignment she was with her words and her actions. She wasn’t walking her talk. Once she got truly honest with herself, and started to take different actions, her whole life changed and her career exploded and she met her amazing husband.

Cleaning up my external life has been the key to a lot of wonderful things opening up for me, and I have to say, that unless I check myself regularly from an internal perspective when I have feelings of self-doubt, I recognize that I could let them ruin and run my life. But I don’t.

What I find super helpful is engaging in a daily practice of cultivating self-compassion, acceptance and turning toward myself, versus turning to an external behavior that wouldn’t support me and would only make me feel worse.

I listen to what my self-doubt really is telling me and ask myself if it’s really true, or if there is a deeper message to be heard, because sometimes there is.  I am not saying this is easy. The inside work is always the scariest, but to me, there is no other way. I want to live life full out and really be able to embrace all parts of me, not just the “good stuff.”

So, I ask you; where can you get honest with yourself and truly identify those things that you are engaging in that hold you back? Whether it’s drinking every night, over eating, justifying eating bad food, sabotaging negative thoughts etc, how can you take action to start to acknowledge and change those behaviors? Just one small step makes all the difference in the world. So take one!

Know that I am rooting for you and loving you on your journey, whatever it is!


Melissa Costello

Author, Speaker, Culinary Plant-Based Nutrition & Health Empowerment Coach | Cleanse Expert

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