Have you ever done something that you’ve immediately realised was unhelpful? Do you have habits that are bad for you? Do you feel you are your own worst enemy? Do you ask yourself “Why did I do that?” If you said yes to any of those questions, you are sabotaging yourself like so many people do. Find out more about self sabotage and how to overcome it.
I can remember when I couldn’t leave any food on my plate. My inner voice would keep nagging me until I finished everything that was put in front of me. When it was a reasonable sized meal, that was ok, but when it wasn’t I put on weight. It wasn’t until I made peace with this inner voice that I was able to control the amount of food I ate and ultimately my health.
Another area for self sabotage you may experience is in relationships. You may want to form good relationships with all sorts of people, but whenever you try to have a meaningful conversation you end up behaving inappropriately and feeling that you’ve let yourself down again.
There are many more ways you can sabotage yourself – just watch your behaviours and you will start to see them.
Why do people sabotage themselves?
One common reason is that they are driven by past conditioning. With my eating habit, my parents continually drummed into me that it was bad to leave food on my plate. Not a problem when I was younger, but I internalized that voice and it kept coming back to me when I was an adult.
Fear is also a big cause of self sabotage. You may be afraid that you are going to fail, you may even be thinking “I must not fail, I must not fail…” By focussing on failure, you ask your mind to help you achieve that failure. You may be afraid of what other people will think, you may even be afraid of success.
The fear of success is insidious – fearing the very thing you want makes it very hard to get there. But success can often mean change, leaving your comfort zone and for you that may be a terrifying prospect.
How to deal with your self sabotage
The first step is to become aware that you are sabotaging yourself. If necessary, spend a bit of time watching your behaviour, making a mental note of the times when you seem to do things that were dumb, crazy, senseless, or just unhelpful to what you were trying to achieve.
Now sit down with a piece of paper. Draw a vertical line down the middle. On the left hand side write down what it is you wanted to do. On the right hand side write down what you actually did that caused the self sabotage. Make sure you don’t make excuses or blame yourself or other people. Be objective and be honest. This is not a blame fest! Now listen to your inner voice and write down why you did the thing that caused self sabotage. You may need to close your eyes and trust the first thought that pops into your head. Trying to force this consciously can be difficult.
Congratulations! You’ve made some great progress. Resist the temptation to beat yourself up about your self sabotage – it happened, it’s in the past and it needn’t happen.
Now that you are aware of your self sabotage and what’s causing it, the next time you find yourself in a situation where it’s likely to happen, watch your thoughts, be aware of the impulse to sabotage yourself, and let pass away before you act. You may not get this right first time, but over time you will find that your self sabotage falls away, leaving you free to get on with your life!
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Kevin John has spent many years helping businesses owners, aspiring business owners, and private individuals to develop the understanding and skills needed to achieve the success that they want.