How To Bypass Your Self-Destructive Tendencies

When I watch the tele, I often think, I’d love to rubbish these wankers.

When I have a good thing going in real life, I sometimes think, how can I screw this up?

When I’m having a proper social engagement, I might think, what’s the most inappropriate thing I can say right now?

When a beautiful woman confides in me, a little voice in my head sometimes says, what can I say that would cause this person the most pain?

I have an incredible array of nasty impulses. Over the course of my life, I’ve found various ways of dealing with them. Having good friends tends to calm down my self-destructive side. Having passionate interests tends to distract me from my bad side. Having a strong schedule and a code of behavior helps. Believing in something transcendent and passionately following that path often allows me to transcend my darkness. Living a life where all parts of it work together and I’m no longer trying to hide stuff generally keeps me on the straight and narrow. A state of ease with myself reduces my need to lash out at others. When I’m singing, the whole world feels like it is singing with me. People rarely do evil from a happy place. But all of these techniques were only temporary. They only worked for so long and then I’d start bollixing things up again. In the end, I needed a system that could address my need to burn up everything I held sacred.

I found this system in 12-step work (but I could only open myself up to this work after I studied the Alexander Technique and let go of unnecessary compression and compulsion). It’s only a day at a time, but when I practice it, I often don’t hear the evil voices at all. For example, I have days with zero conflict with myself and others. Many days, I feel good about everything I have said and done that day.

When the bad voices come back these days, I can spot them and name them. I can call them my museum states (such as the Less Thaner, Crumbaholic, Superman). I can call the voices different names such as Mr. Guilty or the Judge or the Prosecutor. When I hear these voices, they are a flashing yellow light that I need to re-align myself. When I am in the correct disposition, meaning an attitude towards life of wanting to be of love and service to myself, to others, and to God, the voices disappear. When I ignore the voices, they get louder and more persistent until I get into trouble. Then, I no longer beat myself down for my frailties. I take my lumps and use them as incentives to work my program.

Bud: “If these voices correspond to tension in the body, I focus on the tension and try to relax the tension and ignore the content of the voices. If there is no tension in the body associated with the “voice” then it’s a surface level disturbance that will pass quite quickly.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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