Updated: Feb 16, 2022
We all self-sabotage from time to time, and it often strikes when we least expect it. Self-sabotage is a way of thinking or behaving that is destructive and undermines our own success, and stops us from achieving our goals.
What Causes Self-Sabotaging Behaviour?
Believe it or not, you are not your enemy. The negative things you are thinking and doing are not serving you now, but they may have once seemed like they were essential to your survival.
You formed certain beliefs and strategies to cope with life. The beliefs may be grossly distorted and out of whack with reality, but they served a purpose once: they kept you safe.
You may have experienced disappointment and instability in past relationships and circumstances that your subconscious decided to avoid at all costs in the future. The best way that it sees achieving that goal is by protecting you from the familiar pain before you have even the remotest chance of experiencing it again.
How Do You Self-Sabotage?
1. Negative Thinking:
"Complaining becomes a habit. Focusing on the negative also becomes a habit. It's one of the most detrimental habits you can possibly have. It can negatively impact you socially, affecting your personal happiness, but it can also subconsciously sabotage your money and success." – T. Harv Eker
2. People Pleasing:
"No matter how well-meaning your intention, doing too much is not always an act of love but of sabotage." – Judith Orloff
Dragging your feet, stalling, and avoiding things until you miss deadlines or lose opportunities is a classic self-sabotage strategy.
There is no perfect, and so by shooting for it, you will always miss the mark. You leave yourself with the excuse, "why bother since nothing is ever going to be good enough."
4. Putting Yourself Down:
Often, people use humour to do this and slap a smile on their face as they say self-deprecating things. Your mind believes what you tell it, whether you say it with a smile or not.
As long as you can claim the status "undecided", you avoid the need to take action. You use logic and thinking as a "get out of life" card.
6. Rigid Rules:
"This too shall pass" there is nothing about life that is carved in stone. Neither the difficulties nor the joys will stay forever, and you can't expect things to remain the same. Flexibility and flow are essential to happiness and success.
"La, la, la, la, la, I don't see you." Pretending that problems don't exist does not make them go away. Debt continues to grow, health continues to deteriorate, relationships disintegrate and life passes you by unless you pay attention.
8. Fantastic Expectations:
Life is not a Hollywood movie, and you are not living on Instagram. Comparing yourself to others leads to unrealistic expectations that you think you don't measure up to.
9. Push People Away:
"I'm rubber, and your glue, stuff bounces off me and sticks to you." Do you remember that childish chant? Many people live out their relationships with this "you can't hurt me" mentality.
Expecting to be hurt and preparing for impact doesn't lead to a healthy, intimate connection.
10. External Focus:
"Do you think I'm smart, pretty, thin enough?" When you give your power to anyone else for approval and validation, you are self-sabotaging. You are the only person who gets to decide your worth. It's nice to share time with another, but don't give your power away.
11. Reverse Achievement:
When you actively violate your own code of values and act out of alignment, you sabotage yourself. If you believe in honesty and integrity, for example, and lie in a job interview, you will never feel as if you earned it even if you get the job.
How Do I Stop Self-Sabotaging:
"Stop standing in your own way. Stop making excuses. Stop talking about why you can't. Stop sabotaging yourself. Decide which direction you are going in and take action. One decision at a time, one moment at a time." – Akiroq Brost
It is time to make a change, and the first place to start is at the beginning. You need to heal the belief that it is necessary to sabotage yourself. Connect the dots and become conscious of the root cause so you can heal, clear the old distorted beliefs up and create new ones that support you to be successful.
This takes desire, and consistent effort to:
Mindfulness practices help you tune in to the present moment, so you are conscious of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Meditation and journaling are excellent tools to gain insight into the triggers you noticed through your mindfulness practice. They help you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Use breathwork to stay calm, centred and grounded as you apply new thoughts, and take the actions that will propel you forward. I help people develop mindfulness, meditation, visualization and breathing techniques as part of our work together.
Be sure that what you are trying to do aligns with your values. If not, you are fighting against your higher self, not self-sabotaging.
Set Realistic Goals:
Don't try and eat the whole elephant in one bite. Set small, reachable goals and celebrate your small successes along the way every day. Remember, learning and growing are worth celebrating!
You aren't an island. I needed a guide to help me navigate my journey, and you probably do too. Ask for the help of a coach or therapist to do the deep work, so you get the rewarding results.
Go to my website to get a FREE downloadable pdf Stop Self Sabotage Worksheet
Healing can feel like a lonely journey but you don't have to make it alone. If you are willing to heal and are looking for a guide to living your best life then schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation. Together we look at where you are now, where you want to be, what is stopping you from getting there and create a plan that works for you. I'm excited to hear your story.