First, let's start with the definition of Sabotage. Dictionary.com defines it as: any underhand interference with production, work, etc. To injure or attack. So self sabotage is a form of underhand interference or passive aggressive, purposeful derailment of productivity done to one's self. Why would we we do this to ourselves? Don't we wish the best for ourselves, to be happy, healthy and successful?!?
Let's discuss what stands behind self sabotage.
Let's not kid ourselves, the unknown, the big dark empty wide open unknown can be so scary! Asking ourselves to go off of blind faith or belief in ourselves can bring up some intense emotions or cause some pretty consuming anxiety. Let me tell you first hand, that anxiety is a mother f'er and in the past I would do just about anything to avoid it. I happily gave up on dreams just to get anxiety off my case. It's reassuring to do things we know we're good at, things we've been praised for or that don't cause us any extra pressure or stress in our lives. Maybe in the past we failed, or didn't really try, so we learned that failure hurts... much like when we learned touching a hot stove hurts, and we sure as heck didn't do that again, so why would we dare TRY again?? Although, the definition at the top of this post makes you sound like a jerk if you self sabotage, it's not really that cut and dry. It's actually a form of SELF PROTECTION. You know how it feels to fail, or maybe you saw someone else fail and saw how hard it was on them, so let's avoid those experiences PLEASE! If you are a parent and you are trying to keep your child safe, you would certainly advise them to stay away from things that could leave scars. SO, looking out for yourself is actually kind and caring and a very beautiful and nurturing trait. However, we need to learn when to protect and when to push. We don't want to be acting like scared children for the rest of our lives and never feel the adventure and true excitement that there is in riding the rollercoaster of life!
what other feelings might be behind your self sabotaging efforts?
This may be a bit hard to admit or even a little emotional, so take some time to sit quietly and allow yourself to take an honest look at where the self sabotage is coming from. Maybe deep down in your most vulnerable places you believe one or more of the following things.
YOU DON'T DESERVE IT. why would a person like you deserve to be successful, to lose 20 lbs, to be appreciated for your talents or to earn a good wage?
YOU AREN'T SMART ENOUGH. you don't have a fancy education to back you up or the know how to do it?
I DON'T WANT TO MAKE OTHERS FEEL NOT GOOD ENOUGH. maybe you're afraid that if you succeed it will make others feel sad, alienated, or unworthy. maybe you're afraid that you won't have anything in common with your friends or partner?
I WON'T BE ABLE TO DO THAT MUCH WORK. ok yes, trying something new, pushing towards a goal or asking something new of ourselves can be hella scary. TRUST ME, I KNOW! But, just like Rome wasn't build in a day, neither was creating a life you love or accomplishing anything of real value.
FAILURE = HEARTACHE. maybe you're afraid that after all of the hard work and dedication you will fail and then be heart broken. i can't promise you that you will become president just because you had a kick-ass campaign, or worked 100 hours a week... but i can promise you that you will be so much closer to your goal than when you started.
I DON'T WANT TO BE SEEN AS OBSESSIVE. are you afraid that if you go after what you want and show dedication, people around you will think you're obsessive or too intense? honestly, i think dedication and hard work are so sexy.
I DON'T WANT TO BRING ATTENTION TO MYSELF. are you afraid of stepping out of the box or making waves? i get it, it can be scary. grab on to your 12 year old self, hug her tight, tell her it's cool to be an individual and let go of the need to be like everyone else.
Now, let's evaluate what's really suffering when we self sabotage?
Let's be honest, when we self sabotage, when we get in the way of our dreams and potential, who are we really hurting? It may be upsetting to your family and close friends to see you suffer and not reach your goals, but the sad truth is the person who gets hurt the most is OURSELVES. Each time we decide to give up on a dream or something we have asked of ourselves, we secretly tell ourselves to not have faith or trust in what we have said. OUCH. If your partner continuously failed on every promise they made to you, as your good friend, I would advise you to pack up and leave. When we allow ourselves to believe that failure is inevitable and disappointment is a commonality when we are involved, that can be really disheartening and a hard cycle to break.
So what do we do to break the cycle?
For starters, we have to change the way we think and feel about ourselves. As they say in AA, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. So, lovingly, without judgement, only acknowledgement, allow yourself to recognize this pattern in your behavior. While you're at it, STOP SUPPRESSING YOUR EMOTIONS! Feel the fear, lust, confusion, pride, creativity, excitement, vulnerability, etc. These emotions are an incredible part of what it means to be alive and feel! FEEL THEM ALL, take a deep breath and move on.
Then, begin to challenge and change the beliefs you have about yourself and your abilities. You are smart enough, and good enough and your talents are special and you CAN commit to the work it requires. Start with tiny goals that you can accomplish. Make promises to yourself as if you are making a promise to the most important person in your life. For instance, when I don't feel like working out, I say to myself "but you promised", when I want to eat cookies because they are on a table in front of me I say "but you promised to eat food that makes you feel amazing", etc. Once you have managed to prioritize mini goals, you will build the muscles required to stick to larger goals and following through won't seem so scary and impossible. Through this you can redefine yourself. Who do you WANT to see yourself as, what do you WANT to be capable of, what do know your strengths ARE, etc. Speak to yourself, look at yourself, as if you are your best friend. I'm sure you would never allow her to think she is worthless or not exceptionally special. Do the same for yourself.
Now, what will you accomplish??
For one of my clients I gave her the daily task of repeating "I WILL ACCOMPLISH THE THINGS I HAVE SAID." Just a simple positive reinforcement of your ability and your dedication can make all the difference. Try this phrase out any time you doubt yourself or your ability to follow through or succeed. So at this point I want you to, again, state your goals and this time BELIEVE them and believe in yourself.
NOW GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY AND KICK SOME ASS!
UNTIL NEXT TIME, CHASE YOUR DREAMS AND EAT SOME GREENS
If you are carrying around old memories, hurtful stories or negativity, that is preventing you from feeling truly happy and loving yourself, IT IS TIME to let that go. It's time for you to LOVE YOURSELF. Download my FREE 26 page workbook to end the negativity that is holding you back so you can feel TRULY HAPPY & finally LOVE YOURSELF.