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 DO NOT get it. Does this sound familiar? Although self-sabotage is a subconscious behavior, you can get a better handle on it.
There are many reasons that you might sabotage yourself. It is an all too common behavior, that is rooted in a fear of the unknown. If you have immersed yourself in mediocrity, the idea of greatness may seem frightening. Ask yourself if you are truly satisfied with where your life is right now.
The Root Causes of Self-Sabotage:
1. Control. You might self-sabotage because you have a deep-seated need to be in control of your circumstances. The easiest and most certain way to stay in control is to maintain the status quo, never change, never venture out of yore comfort zone.
If you put your all into something, you run the very real risk of becoming vulnerable. Then, fear gets the best of you and you self-sabotage.
2. Low self-esteem. Do you feel unworthy of greatness?
For whatever reason, you may have decided that happiness ought to be forever just beyond your grasp. This is a self-limiting idea, and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What is a self-fulfilling prophecy? An example might be that you have found a significant other that you have strong feelings for. Perhaps even love them. But, you begin to worry that you are not good enough / strong enough/ smart enough/ attractive enough for them, and how could they love you, anyway. So then you start to pick on them about these qualities. You begin to berate how they do a few things. Things they do wrong, and even things they do right. Then this escalates into finding some fault with how they do almost everything. And, if they have any self-esteem, they will take it quietly for a while. Then they will begin to fight back. Then they will leave. And, now you tell yourself that you knew they would leave you all along. You could have predicted this from the start. The problem, however, is that you never, ever take any ownership as to being the author of the difficulties. You are exonerated because you should have never trusted them from the beginning. Sound familiar?
3. Excitement. Perhaps you undermine your efforts because you are seeking excitement. You feel the need to remain in a constant state of turmoil to distract yourself from some painful memories or to alleviate boredom.
If you see yourself in any of these descriptions, fear not: there are strategies you can take to put yourself on the path toward self-mastery.
A process for defeating your self-sabotage:
1. Observe your own behavior. First off, it is vital 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 have 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; what they actually do, not what they say.
- Strive to be an impersonal observer in your journal. Eventually, you will gain a better understanding of your motives in certain situations.
2. Envision success. Keep in mind that success is neither black nor white. Cultivate the habit of envisioning what success means to you, specifically, 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. Just like everyone else, you will still have to pay taxes and have relationship issues.
3. Let go of the notion of perfection. As you visualize success, are may be still thinking that success equals perfection? If so, it is time to grow up and 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 will allow you to achieve success if you associate success with the impossible task of being perfect.
- Think of your subconscious as a computer. It does not know how to execute a command called “do the impossible.”
- If you associate success with fear, your subconscious will fight you tooth and nail 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 have been sending your subconscious the message, “Don’t give me success!” So, let us begin to put your self-sabotaging behaviors in the past!
Embrace a better life.
Embrace the life you feel you deserve by picturing yourself as successful, and then refuse to talk yourself out of going for it!