Someone said this about self-sabotage:
Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.
Are you forgetting about the important meetings even though your career is important to you? Do you shut down when your significant other wants to talk, to be close – or do you yell at them for no reason although you do love this person and don’t want to lose them?
Are you doing almost everything you can to sabotage your success and your happiness?
Why People Sabotage Themselves
Your excuse is that you’re too nervous, too tired, that you have too much on your head… but have you ever stopped to investigate the true reasons behind your behavior?
Most common reasons why people engage in self-sabotage:
- They got used to failure, to things not working the way they’re supposed to and to dysfunctional people. As counter intuitive as this may seem, choosing the “familiar” path, although it’s destructive, is one of the first reasons why people engage in the behavior that can easily worsen or destroy something potentially promising.
- They feel unworthy. People with low self esteem often feel that they don’t deserve happiness or success.
- They fear what’s coming next. This often happens when people get very conscious of something negative – for example, when a country is in an economic crisis, although your job is safe you can start fearing what might happen as you see companies falling apart and others losing their jobs.
All these situations can also be described as “this is too good to last so I may as well kill it before it grows” – you start subconsciously spoiling things either to keep some level of control, or to shorten your suffering.
If you are prone to this kind of behavior, let’s see what you can do to break the enchanted circle and to start leading a productive life again.
What You Can Do
This kind of behavior comes from your subconscious – it’s trying to make you aware of something, and you better start listening to it.
The first step is to stop justifying what you did (or didn’t) do. Start observing yourself instead. Take a step back and ask yourself what was behind your reaction, what was driving it.
In most cases it’s some kind of fear – fear that you might lose something or fear that you might actually win something, but you need to listen and to observe yourself very carefully in order to get to the bottom of it. Ask yourself what’s the worse case scenario, and try to imagine it as if it has already happened. If it’s work-related, imagine that you’ve lost your job. If it’s about romance, imagine that it ended.
Stop turning your head away from your fears – allow yourself to recognize them and to experience them. You might just find out that they’re not as bad as they sound, but either way you’ll be able to approach it in a much more constructive way.
In other cases however it’s not fear that’s holding you back – it’s some limiting belief that you may not even be aware of. Perhaps you feel that you’d somehow “betray” your hard-working father if you were earning more than he does/did, so you’re imposing limits to your earning potential; perhaps you’ve imposed to yourself an image of a “perfect wife” who needs to subject herself to her husband, although he doesn’t ask you to – so you’re trying to live up to that image and to justify it, but you simply can’t.
The answer is always within you – so take a deep look inside and accept what you will find, that’s the only way to break free.
The second step is to understand that your behavior is just an attempt to end the torture of anticipating further torture and to stop anticipating further torture! There’s no reason to expect things to turn bad, no reason to feel guilty for not living up to something that no one else expects from you – clear the clutter and walk through it!
This is not an easy process, but it’s the only way to move on with your life and to allow yourself to be happy and successful!