Why Do We Self Sabotage?
We want something and we say we are clear on where we want out life to be. Yet we find ourselves not acting in line with this vision.
This then leads us to blame ourselves, beat ourselves up and feel baffled. We aren’t doing what we know we need to do or making choices in line with our goal.
Why do we do this when we know it keeps what we really want at bay?!
What this is showing us when we act this way is there is some resistance.
We have conflicting reasons that we haven’t addressed.
When you think of your goal/vision/what you want- if it doesn’t feel safe or good to you…or you get afraid….you will sabotage it.
We need to be congruent with the image otherwise we MUST sabotage it- because we know we will always be struggling, feeling stressed, trying to survive and feeling unsafe if we don’t.
Self sabotage is a solution otherwise we wouldn’t do it.
It gives us something we want like safety, protection- we don’t want to stand out, we are scared of criticism, we are scared of being alone etc.
So how do we know we are self sabotaging?
What are the ways we do this?
PROCRASTINATION- this is a big one. We procrastinate because it usually protects us from the possibility of criticism. It allows us to feel safe and not take any risks Ie. If I finish this project or this assignment then it’s out there for others to provide judgement- so it’s better it stays in draft.
PLAYING IT SMALL- is another common way we self sabotage. If I don’t do anything too big or risky I will be safe. If I stay under the radar I won’t be noticed and I can stay out of the spot light and be safe. I won’t take risks to create my dreams as I’m scared I’ll loose what I already have; be that personally with change or professionally with a work goal. But by doing this you also never step into your full potential. You never get to see what you are fully capable of and let the world see your light.
BLOWING OPPORTUNITIES- how do we blow opportunities I hear you ask? I don’t intentionally do this? They just never seem to come along or work out as I planned. That’s not my fault! But we do do this. For example if you have a job interview and you show up late or unprepared for what the job is, you are self sabotaging your chances of being employed. Blowing opportunities involves you not being prepared for something OR not showing up with ALL of you there. This is a big one in relationships. If you don’t show up fully in your relationship then it was never going to work out anyway, so why get invested? It’s safer to not even try, that way you save yourself the heartache and it doesn’t matter if it fails.
NOT ROCKING THE BOAT- this is a common one women tend to demonstrate. Being so afraid of change that you won’t do anything. So you keep the patterns the same. You do the same thing repeating cycles because you don’t want the equilibrium upset. You are so afraid someone will notice something is wrong or different in your life so you try and avoid doing anything that people will see. You may do this in relationships- trying to appease the other person, scared if you say what you are feeling they may leave. Or running back to a partner again and again even though you know they aren’t good for you. Or trying to make sure you don’t say anything that may offend your friends, as you don’t want to upset them or loose them-if you spoke from your heart with how you really felt they may. But when you are trying so hard not to rock the boat, as you can see from the above examples, you can’t really be your true self. You are trying so hard to appease those around you the real you doesn’t get a chance to have the spot light. This can then build up to self loathing or a feeling of insecurity as you are always having a front/wall up and don’t value yourself enough to stand out or the self worth to stand alone.
OVER-DOING- this is the last one I’m going to talk about. One way we over-do is by over spending. You feel deprived because you are in debt and have been working so hard to pay it off so you splurge “treat-yo self” & you buy something that you can’t afford. You are then left with credit card debt and feeling guilty. Part of you feels like you deserve to feel guilty, that you don’t deserve to have nice things, you are not worthy of them and can never be a success to achieve them and by doing this you confirm that. Other types of overdoing including drinking alcohol, smoking, taking drugs and….. workaholism… yes workaholism.
When you are a workaholic you are self sabotaging but it is disguised as something legitimate. But what happens when you work so much? You end up being exhausted, burnt out, not being as good at the work you’re doing because you have taken on too much. The reason we do this is to keep so busy that we keep ourselves away from our feelings. But by running away and trying to hide from them like this we block ourselves from moving forwards and really making progress on them.
To understand why you are doing these behaviours ask yourself:
What is the downside of your success- what do you imagine or picture that is unsafe?
What is the upside of staying where you are?
How does it serve you to self sabotage?
What are you protecting yourself from?
Fears are part of your truth
If you try to change a behaviour without addressing the emotions underneath it. It won’t work for very long. Just like when you try to rely on willpower instead of inspiration. It just doesn’t remain sustained.
There are more ways we self sabotage but these are the most common ones you see. Self sabotage is not you lacking willpower or being stupid, it is a safety mechanism. Your mind and body will always try and keep you safe. That’s their jobs! These patterns are often occurring in our subconscious mind and what we need to do is bring to the surface so we understand what we are doing and why, so then we can make some more conscious choices. Choices that serve what we want better.
So if you find yourself running back to an old boyfriend, not turning up on time to an interview, not wanting to move or change things even if it will get you what you want or putting off what needs to be done- Ask yourself those questions to find out how this sabotaging is serving you. You will be amazed at what little truth bombs come up.
We will hold onto things in our life if we perceive that we cannot get it anywhere else…it must be serving a need for us to be unwilling to let go, to stay paralysed. Once you know what it is giving you, you can then move through it. Tapping is one way to do this, but I will talk about tapping or “emotional freedom techniques” another day.