Self Sabotage & How to Stop It
Self sabotage can lead to depression and anxiety, loss of friends, can affect our self esteem and leave us feeling guilty. Have you ever been working towards a goal and in the last minute everything has fallen apart? Maybe you got an injury right before a race? Have you gotten sick right before a big presentation? Did you forgot to read the book you had to study? Maybe you went on a spending spree right before needing to show finances to the bank for a home loan? Have you eaten a huge unhealthy meal right before your weigh in day? Possibly you yelled at your perfect partner for no real reason?
Self sabotage is anything we do in life that prevents us from achieving our goals. It is something we do that protects our ego IN CASE we fail. We fear failure, so we self sabotage to save face to ourselves and the public eye, we self sabotage so we have an excuse for our failure and if we do succeed, we did so despite an obstacle, so go us!
Self defeating patterns tend to come from any traumatic experiences in our life and from our core beliefs ingrained through our early years by family and friends.
“The only reason I can’t jump in and engage life is that I’ve told myself I can’t. Yet I can’t help wondering what would happen if I told myself I could?” – Craig D. Lounsbrough
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I AM NOT WORTHY
Our unconscious mind can question whether we are worthy of success. For example, we often feel we are not good enough for our partner so we act in a way that drives a partner away, or we choose someone who is toxic to us as we do not feel worthy of someone who treats us well.
If at our core we believe we are not worthy of success, it can actually increase our levels of unworthiness if we succeed. Our inner critic tells us we do not deserve this. It feels better to fail than to succeed so we sabotage ourselves. This stems from a low self esteem, for ways to boost your self esteem read this article.
I MUST STAY IN CONTROL
When our success is not within our control , it is easier to digest failing on our terms rather than allowing the universe or someone else being in control of our failure. If the world is going to come crushing down around us, we prefer to be in control of how bad the fallout is. We are terrified of the unknown that success could bring so ‘better the devil you know.’
Become mindful of your self sabotage and recognize your behaviors and thought patterns, it is only by fully bringing our attention to what we are doing, that we become aware of whether we are doing an action that is going to destroy our journey towards success, or an action that is continuing us along the path to success.
I AM A FRAUD
Sometimes we do not apply for that job promotion because we feel unqualified. We feel like a fraud and that our peers will judge us because we are inadequately educated.
It seems easier to not be the successful one at work because if you’re not at the top then no-one will notice if you are failing in your work, because you are not in the limelight.
To combat this perceived fraudulence, maybe altering the career related goal is the answer, instead of setting our sights only on the end goal, what are the smaller, achievable steps to get there, that once we are on those steps we may feel more truthful on our path. Alter the goal from point A to point Z, to point A to point B.
“The barrier to our future is often the very plans that we’ve created to get there.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough
We are naturally driven to strive towards goals and success in life but when we reach the finish line we realize that our surroundings are unfamiliar, we become uncertain of our path and subconsciously want to return to the place we feel comfortable in, so we do something that sends us back to the place we feel safe.
It may also feel familiar to be so close to achieving something, and then have it ripped from our hands at the last second in the past, so we self sabotage because we are familiar with the situation and do not want a reoccurence.
We create absurd stories in our head of, ‘what will happen when..’, that tend to involve negative endings, however, what if we change the endings and the story we create is profound? It may be unfamiliar, but it could be incredible. It’s time to stop negative thought patterns.
I AM UNTRUSTWORTHY
We spend so much time questioning thoughts and decisions and whether they are actually the best choices, how could we ever be in a position where we had to make decisions for other people or a company?
This distrust of our emotions, perceptions and judgements, are negative core beliefs we have about ourselves. It’s time to go digging into those core beliefs and why they exist. Taking the time to mindfully discover our core beliefs enables us to rewrite those beliefs to align with values we consciously choose.
FEAR OF FAILURE
Yes, I said failure. We do not fear success, we fear the opposite. The thing is, failing is only failure, if we give up completely, and never try again. Failure is a good thing. We should embrace it and learn from its lessons for the next time we are striving towards that same goal.
It is very natural to fear failure, it has so many negative connotations surrounding it, but without failure the world would not look how it does today. The most successful people we recognize around the world, failed multiple times to get where they are. The difference is, they didn’t give up and they didn’t allow their self sabotaging ways to stop them succeeding. Read more on embracing failure.
Our daily habits and behavior really do shape our lives, if we have a tendency to procrastinate, that is only a habit we have created and we are capable of breaking that habit if we choose to. Procrastination is one of the main types of self sabotage, we can work so hard towards something then we stop the inertia and procrastinate and it all falls apart. We could have allowed the inertia to bring the success.
Destructive lifestyle habits such as excessive drinking, use of drugs, gambling, and unhealthy eating are all forms of self sabotage, they encourage us to procrastinate, and we use these habits as a scapegoat for our shortcomings. To create more positive habits in your life read this.
“Why is it that we don’t worry about a compass until we’re lost in a wilderness of our own making?” – Craig D. Lounsbrough
We all self sabotage at some point in our lives, we are only human after all. By simplifying our goals, practicing self compassion, being mindful of our thoughts and actions, creating positive constructive habits, and by spending some time on getting to know ourselves and our core beliefs, hopefully we can all stop shooting ourselves in the foot, and achieve our goals together.
If you are really struggling with self sabotage, you do not have to do this alone. There are professionals available that could help you find tools that work for you as an individual. To help you create more positive thoughts and beliefs about our own worthiness to succeed. I also recommend further reading with this book by a fellow self- saboteur.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below about any of your own destructive behaviors. As well as how you conquered your self sabotage. If you like what you have read, be sure to subscribe to our fortnightly email full of free inspirational content on wellness, yoga, nutrition and more!
Love & Light