Self-sabotage is the worst enemy to success and happiness. But why do we get in our own way? What can we do to break free? This article provides insights into the mechanisms behind self-sabotage and offers practical solutions to break free from self-destructive patterns.
What is Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotage can happen in a lot of ways, but a lot of the time it’s subtle and sneaky. Here are some examples:
Not taking any action even if you have all the required information about how to be successful. Not networking with people that could help you advance your career. Worrying or ruminating obsessively about the same problem. Making complete fools of yourself in front of your crush/in public, etc.
The reason why people sabotage themselves is simple: they are afraid of some sort of pain or suffering that usually manifests itself as fear.
Fearing… Losing what you already have (such as losing a job if you quit). Appearing incompetent. Being rejected or judged by others. Not being able to attain a certain goal, etc.
The root of self-sabotage is the fear of not being good enough – if you think yourself not deserving or strong enough to be loved and accepted for who you are, you will either consciously or unconsciously sabotage your chances of getting what you want.
Why Do We Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotage is a defense mechanism of the ego to protect us from some sort of pain or suffering – it’s our own survival instinct working against us.
The reasons for self-sabotaging behaviors and thoughts differ from person to person and can involve a number of psychological factors. From the perspective of the ego, it represents an obstacle that is preventing you from getting what you want –including love, success, happiness, or anything else. When we self-sabotage we underestimate our own potential because we’re relying on others to feel good about ourselves.
Doing so results in bad thoughts such as this: “I’m not qualified enough because I didn’t finish college yet.” “I never should have quit my job because now I’m unemployed.” We also do crazy things like go a week without eating a vegetable when trying a new eating plan, swear off going to the gym because we broke a bone in our foot, or avoid socializing with positive people because they might have an impact on our happiness.
Self-sabotaging behaviors are often subconscious decisions that come from feelings of unworthiness. We underestimate our competency level by focusing solely on all the areas where we doubt ourselves.
What Causes Us to Self-Sabotage?
1. Fear of Success: Failure, incompetence, and general self-doubt are the root causes of self-sabotage.
2. Fear of Rejection: Some people have been so badly hurt in the past that they fear being rejected by other people at all costs, even if it means sabotaging their own lives or embracing self-pity.
3. Fear of Abandonment: Also known as separation anxiety, this self-sabotaging behavior manifests itself in the form of clinging to relationships out of fear that the partner will eventually leave you for someone else.
4. Fear of Loss: This one comes hand-in-hand with fear of abandonment, self-sabotage is a defense mechanism designed to protect you from loss and self-destruction.
5. Fear of Change: People who self-sabotage can be very afraid of progress or personal development. The more aware they become the harder it is for them to continue living their life.
How Can We Stop Self-Sabotage?
Here are some suggestions on how to overcome self-sabotage:
1. Get in touch with your fear. Identify what is it that you are afraid of and why.
2. Fear makes us lose perspective – take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Have you really thought about all the possible consequences of whatever you are afraid of?
3. Do the thing that terrifies you, so long as it is not dangerous and does not harm anyone.
4. Repeat step three until you finally feel less and less fear.
5. Commit to your decisions – do what scares and challenges you, and be persistent even if you make mistakes or fail.
6. Stop listening to your inner nagging doubts – they are most likely not true and they serve no real purpose but to hold you back.
7. You can also try boosting your self-confidence through affirmations, visualization exercises, positive thinking, etc.
8. Change your environment so that it reinforces the new behaviors you want to adopt instead of the old ones you are trying to break.
9. Seek professional help when needed. Self-sabotage can be very serious and there might be some underlying issues that will need a proper diagnosis in order to find an effective solution.
Breaking free from self-sabotage is definitely possible, but it takes commitment, time, and energy.
How to Beat Self-Sabotage by Learning to Live Fearlessly
Imagine your self-sabotage is a monster in your closet. Each time you self-sabotage, this monster gets stronger. The monster feeds on self-doubt, self-criticism, self-abuse, and more.
And the more strength it gains over time, the less power you have to defeat it. So what are you waiting for? Make up your mind that you will take action, every single day until self-sabotage no longer has any power over you! Here are some actions you can take today:
1. Identify self-sabotage.
2. Turn self-sabotage into a study.
3. Use self-sabotage as a growth opportunity.
4. Stop self-sabotaging by developing greater self-awareness and being genuine towards yourself. You can also try affirmations, visualization exercises, positive self self-talk, hypnosis, and self-compassion.
5. Accept that you are a work in progress.
6. Take one step at a time in order to overcome it.
7. Change self-sabotaging environments to supportive ones.
8. Seek self-care and self-love. Stop putting yourself last and treat yourself as a friend would! You can go out, try new things that make you feel energized and alive instead of feeling defeated and exhausted all the time.
9. Accept self-sabotage as a self-esteem issue and make it your mission to deal with it.
If you’re stuck in a self-sabotaging pattern, it’s time to break free. This post has provided some insightful ways on how to stop the cycle of self-destruction and find your way back into success.
Breaking free from self-sabotage is a process and will take time. But it’s worth the effort, as you’ll be able to change your life for the better in so many ways.