Self-sabotage is a uniquely human behavior. Many of us sabotage ourselves when we decide we want something by doing everything we can to ensure we don’t get it. Sound familiar? (I talk about it in my first TEDx: Stop Sabotaging Yourself.) Although self-sabotage is a subconscious behavior, we can get a handle on it.
There are many reasons that you might sabotage yourself and while it’s common, it’s rooted in a fear of the unknown.
Find out why you may self-sabotage:
- You might self-sabotage because you have a need to be in control of your circumstances. The easiest and most certain way to stay in control is to maintain the status quo.
- If you put your all into something, you run the risk of becoming vulnerable. Fear gets the best of you and you self-sabotage.
- Low self-esteem. Do you feel unworthy of greatness?
- For whatever reason, you may have decided that happiness is beyond your reach. I see this all the time after someone experiences betrayal. It’s common to assume we must have done something, we may have caused it, or some other disempowering idea that has us questioning our value and worth. This is a self-limiting idea, and if we don’t watch it, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Perhaps you undermine your efforts because you’re seeking excitement. You feel the need to remain in a constant state of turmoil to distract yourself from painful memories or alleviate boredom.
- If you were to go down that new path, pursue that new interest ,or begin that new health journey for example, who would be impacted? Sometimes, we figure it’s best to stay the same than to create a “shake-up” that our changes may create in others.
If you see yourself in any of these descriptions, don’t worry: there are steps you can take to put yourself on the path toward self-mastery.
Consider this process for defeating your self-sabotage:
- Observe your behavior. First of all, it’s essential that you begin to observe yourself. You can effectively do this by creating a self-sabotage journal. Make a journal entry every time you realize that you’ve sabotaged yourself. Describe the setting, circumstances, and end result. Avoid over-analyzing.
- Most often, a person’s true intentions are most evident in their actions, rather than their words.
- Strive to be an impersonal observer in your journal. Eventually, you’ll gain a better understanding of your motives in certain situations.
- Envision success. Keep in mind that success isn’t all or nothing or linear. Cultivate the habit of envisioning what success means to you and remember how it feels to achieve it. If you do this consistently, you may find that what you envision changes over time.
- Begin to see success as an integral part of your future, but realize there will still be challenges.
- Let go of the notion of perfection. As you visualize success, are you still thinking that success equals perfection? If so, it’s time to realize that nobody is perfect.
- This is what George Bernard Shaw would refer to as “doublethink.” Perfection and life are mutually exclusive because perfection is unattainable. Your subconscious won’t allow you to achieve success if you associate success with the impossible task of being perfect.
- Think of your subconscious as a computer. It doesn’t know how to execute a command called “do the impossible.”
- If you associate success with fear, your subconscious will fight you the entire way. Why? Because its primary function is to protect you from perceived threats.
Give yourself permission to anticipate success with excitement. Perhaps you’ve been sending your subconscious the message, “Don’t give me success!” So, let’s put your self-sabotaging behaviors in the past. Maybe you’ve been telling yourself that something new is scary. Switching “scary” to “unfamiliar” may help.
Embrace the life you deserve by picturing yourself as successful, moving towards what it is you want, and then refuse to talk yourself out of going for it. The journey to your ideal life starts now.
What changes are you ready to make? Comment and share!
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute