stop hitting yourself

Shaylee Edwards
3 min readJan 7, 2022


Stuck in a destructive pattern?

Maybe your Identity files are to blame.

In this story, I’ll talk about consciously & subconsciously stored ideas and how they might be behind the self-destructive patterns holding you back from making sustainable life gains.

When I say ‘Identity files,’ I mean ideas about who you are, who you’ve been, & who you need to be. You have oodles of them. Some you can point out aloud, some are more operational [“This is safe to say when…,” “Use this to explain this…,” “I should be like …], and some, and these are the most life-impacting ones, are under all of those and more. We’ll call those ones the Master Game Files (MGF).

These MGF ideas and their usage are so familiar that you likely can’t consider life without them. Absurdly enough, they’re the ones that dictate HOW you consider your life, which makes it sort of impossible to see those files. It’d be like using your glasses to see your glasses.

So what’s the big deal? Who cares that there’s a lot on file or that you can’t see your glasses? You might if you’ve been having the same problem over and over again or feel a chronic lack of love, money, peace, or energy. Identity files determine what we allow into our experience and how we interpret and then interact with what’s there.

Here’s an example — if you have an Identity file that says “Having money makes you a bad person” and another that says “It’s important to be a good person” you probably will have a hard time with getting or growing money.

In this example, a money problem might not ‘register’ as an Identity file problem. You might instead think it’s something else and have a list of people or circumstances to convincingly blame. Of course, this is an oversimplification of how the subconscious mind and conscious experience work together, but you get my gist.

What is self-sabotage?

Let’s say it’s when you do things that prevent you from growing into new experiences because your attention and resources are busy with old, unproductive problems. An easy way to know if something is self-sabotage (S-S) is to imagine you saw someone else doing the same thing— would you think, “Oh man, it seems pretty simple. If you didn’t do X, you could get Y.”? Or in short, “Stop hitting yourself.”?

If yes, then it is. Patterns of S-S, which include habits of negative thinking and internal dialogue, let you know there are Identity files to clean up. Don’t worry if this is you. It was me and I know it’s a frustrating path. Maybe one of the worst. There you are with all of the tools, incredible aspirations, some idea of what you need to do, aaanddd the same friggin’ problem year after year.

Nothing quite explains how it feels not to be able to break those patterns. To me, it felt like trying to run up a steep, muddy hill to a really cool party I didn’t wanna miss but knew I might miss if I couldn’t get up that darn slope in time. You just can’t make sustainable gains despite your best efforts and gosh darn it you know there’s somewhere great for you to be.

But don’t worry, Identity files are update-able and all of your prior ( & current ❤) struggles contain gifts.

In this series, I’ll teach you how to acknowledge, accept, and forgive patterns of S-S and start to update your Identity files so you can, finally, go to your own party.

Here’s a 2-minute meditation to support you in rewriting some of the troublesome Identity Files.