Self Sabotage: How to Overcome It

How many of us go by day after day wishing our life would change; “bad luck” just seems to be part of our whole life experience; is this true or are we simply creating that which lies in our subconscious?…

Self sabotage is to subconsciously create obstacles to stop ourselves from achieving that which we claim we want or as Alice P. Cornyn said “self sabotage is when we want something but we do everything possible to make sure it does not occur”.

There are various different ways to self sabotage and sadly most of the time we don’t even recognize we are the ones creating our own failures; as long as one does not recognize and consciously take responsibility for the act of self sabotage, then that person cannot change the outcome. Before any negative behavior can be changed one needs to recognize it is there, otherwise it’s a lost battle.

Maybe you are one of those people who needs to finish a project which upon its completion will result on you getting promoted; all of the sudden you find yourself busy with other mundane tasks which suddenly seem important until you feel you have no time to dedicate to your project.  Maybe you are expecting a very important phone call which could change your life and you forget to turn your cell phone on, or maybe you have an important meeting and you misplace the paper where you wrote the address and time.  
Perhaps you are under medical treatment or a diet program and you continuously forget to take your pills or you forget to follow your nutritionist’s advise.  All of these are examples of how easily we self sabotage day in and day out.  If any of the things I mentioned happen every now and then, it’s not considered self sabotage, however if they are a repetitive pattern, then you are certainly a victim of your own devices.

When people are used to self sabotaging, it is common to hear them say they are always having a ran of bad luck.  They see themselves as victims of circumstances, they feel the things they need to do are too hard, everyone else is to blame for their lives, people are always taking advantage of them or is just their destiny to be a failure. Because these people truly believe they are not the cause of their problems, they wholeheartedly feel their lives are out of their control, things just slip through their fingers; if they break the rules they believe is because they were given no other way out and if they procrastinate it’s because they are just way too busy with other things.  If you are reading this and you identify with what you are reading, please know this is not a criticism; I have been there myself. From experience I can tell you that changing these sabotaging patterns are not impossible to break but it will depend on how much you want your life to change; it will require of you to stop trying to rationalize why you can’t achieve your dreams.

The changes needed start with you learning to love yourself.
People sabotage themselves for various reasons such as: It’s a habit learned from watching your parents behave the same way or it may be a defense mechanism which was learned to protect yourself from the demands your parents imposed on you. Demands such as being the perfect child which unconsciously cripple you; many parents do this, so their child will become dependent and will always need to stay close to home. The other extreme is neglect and that can be even more damaging.  It may also be you are not certain of your true desires and goals in life or you may have a low self esteem which leaves you feeling unworthy and incapable of success.

Self sabotage is nothing but a reflection of your own thinking. It is the believe you are not worthy of success; so you don’t put the effort to try to achieve it.  Perhaps the goals you have set for yourself are not really yours, therefore you lack the motivation to pursue them. There are various reasons why someone may have someone else’s goals as their own: It has been imposed on you, you may want to please the person whose goals you are following, you are afraid of rejection if you speak up, you don’t know yourself and don’t know what it is you actually enjoy doing.

Self sabotage usually goes hand in hand with fear. You may feel you want to be successful at something but subconsciously you are afraid you will not be able to handle success or the changes it may bring, or you may feel if you try hard and fail you won’t know how to get up again or others will see you as a failure.
Many times the fear of change goes hand in hand with subconsciously not wanting to be rejected by those closest to you; you may feel if you achieve success your family and friends will only show contempt or jealousy.  If you fail they won’t let you forget it but you would still have them around.  The question is…are they worth you paying such a high price?   If what it takes to please is to be a failure, mediocre, with vices; then you are better off without them, for that type of “love” is anything but REAL LOVE.
There may be fear in you to show how talented you are because then others will impose more demands on you, those who are already supportive in your life may choose to simply not be there anymore or you fear your success will force you to leave them behind, so what do you do?…

The first thing to do is to observe/analyze our character traits and see if you are self sabotaging. Explore and recognize your own thoughts, habits, behavior, emotions and more importantly your own fears in order to see how they are influencing you. You will need to check your own self esteem to see if it’s the root of your problem.
Write on a piece of paper in point format what scares you, what worries you, what would happen if you were to achieve your goals, what would happen if you were to become successful, what is the one thing you are really certain of.  If your life were to change, what would happen and then finish the following sentences:

Success causes….
I’m afraid of….
I believe if I achieve what I desire, I will…

Answer the above questions without taking time to analyze/think about them. Afterwards analyze your answers to see what is causing you to self sabotage.

Work every day on your self esteem so you may discover what it is you really like, what your strengths are, what your real needs are.
After identifying the causes of your self sabotaging behavior, replace the negative phrases (example; am afraid of…) for something positive. Think about a person you really admire, impose the fears you have on that person and picture yourself seating in front of them, now tell that person all the positive things you see; you would be gentle right?  Well then do the same for you, after all the first person you should be gentle with is yourself!

Play devil’s advocate, analyze what benefits do you get from self sabotaging.
When doing the above exercise do not be hard on yourself. Do not put yourself down or blame yourself for anything; the past is the past.
Remember every moment of your life you have the opportunity to become someone new… the real you!

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By Sofia Falcone

I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges, victories, hopes and learnings, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves!

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