We already work in an environment where foes may out number friends, but the evolution into an actual enemy is one of our least desired goals. And yet, many times an actual enemy is within, and we don’t even know it!
One of the most informative books on the subject, Your Own Worst Enemy, by Doctors Berglas and Baumeister contains many insights that are not only applicable to peace officers, but thankfully explores some of the successful solutions directed toward
prevention, as well as resolution.
Remember, self defeat is an equal opportunity destroyer. More often than not, it remains undetected long before the severity of damage occurs. Sadly, what tends to draw us into the practice of self sabotage is that we live by mottos; being “always faithful”, believing that “practice makes perfect”, and learning to “be prepared” appears to be a root of a defeatist rationale.
The process of overcoming the phenomenon of a self defeating personality is by far more complex than can be comprehensively addressed in this short selection, but the doctor’s research still has relevance.
First, they have found that many times the process begins with a series of misjudgments. Long term risks, costs, conclusions, etc. are seldom considered. The ego we have created over the years is a result of our occupation. We consider it our duty rather than our job. By seeing the plight and peril of others on a daily basis we tend to consider ourselves superior. It is difficult to admit to frailties and flaws since it seems to jeopardize our safety and security.
Second, is the acceptance of what’s termed “secondary gains”. Not achieving the goal once sought, but being satisfied with the pursuit and/or a portion of the prize may still be assessed as success. We may need to learn to live without the very best, or
highest ever, finest forever, etc. This is not to deny motivation, drive, or incentive . . .but we must strive for achievable goals and at times be accepting of substitution as a form of satisfaction.
Third, imperfections that we face directly in others or indirectly in ourselves must not exert stress related pressures that create our demise. This destruction of self is stress related. Stress is just another form of energy, but when it produces distress, it is
destructive. Once we resign ourselves to the imperfections we face or facilitate, we can engineer our own conclusions.
Finally, is the patterned practice of how we go about accepting criticism. Just because someone else wins, doesn’t mean you have to lose. Developing a tolerance for the opinions, observations, and assessments of others many times begins with self-
deprecation. Absolute perfection and its pursuit can be pathological. Just because something isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean it isn’t good or has no worth. Looking in the mirror is the best monitor for that premise. Tempering the tribulations of others may
best be achieved by allowing ourselves to be the truthful and accurate origin of the subjective source.
This opponent can and must be addressed before it evolves from being a messenger to that of a master. We must create the method and the means to negate the adversarial role it plays in all of us before it results in the destruction us or those who we
contact and destroy in our surroundings.
It’s simply survival . . . beginning with self!