Why do we do it…? Self-sabotage is when we make progress with something that we are striving to work towards but then we do something (or don’t do something) to either stop us to continue moving forward or we do something that sets us back, sometimes back to where we started.
Self-sabotage is a form of self-harm and we do this for only 1 reason:
We don’t believe in ourselves.
This can be anything from being afraid of failure or somewhere deep down inside of us not believing that we are good enough for the happiness that achieving our goal may bring us.
We self-sabotage because we are scared or we don’t feel good enough.
The limiting beliefs that we carry about ourselves usually hinder us from ever reaching our fullest and truest potential. A limiting belief is a lie that we keep telling ourselves over and over again until we believe it in our core. This could be anything from someone at school saying that you have a big awful nose and that nobody will ever want you as a girlfriend, to your parents saying that you’re not smart enough to start your own business. Before we are adults and before we become wise enough to know that we can make our own decisions on whether to reject or to accept something that someone says to us, we have no choice but to take it as the truth. But the truth is anything that you want to believe… The whole world is an illusion because 10000 people can look at the same life situation but each person can feel immensely different about it and have totally different views and attitudes towards the same thing. So who decides the truth of a situation…? Are you still with me? .. Good!
Example: A woman could be looking at herself in the mirror and feel sadness and frustration because she doesn’t like the look of herself. Another woman could be looking at her and thinking about how wonderfully beautiful she is! They are both looking at the same thing but each has different views and opinions towards it. What you think about yourself and the world dictates how you see everything.
The worst thing about self-sabotage is that most of the time we are not aware that we are even doing it. Our inner B (inner bitch, ya know that annoying self-sabotaging voice inside our head that tells us mean things- she’s best mates with your core beliefs) likes to keep us in our comfort zone. Nothing great ever happens inside a comfort zone. The problem is, we have a built-in thermostat inside of us which dictates the temperature of our lives. Let me explain…
You have one of those awesome air conditioning units that keep the temperature at wherever you have set it. Let’s say you have set it at a comfortable 20c (your beliefs). Someone leaves the door open and so the temperature drops (something not so great happens in your life… let’s say you’ve not earned enough money in your sales job to meet your usual sales target.) Then your heating turns on to bring the temperature back up to 20c (you manage somehow to claw it back and just scrape your target.) It works the other way too… Someones is cooking and so the temperature rises (you get an awesome month of sales and earn more than you think you ever could.) The air conditioning kicks in and brings the temperature back down to 20c again (your success of extra sales never lasts long and before you know it your back achieving your average again).
Can you relate to that?
Even if our comfort zone isn’t exactly the life we had imagined, at least we know it. We know the best parts and the worst parts of it. I was in a physically and mentally abusive relationship for 6 years and in the middle of that relationship I managed to leave but then I still went back to him…?! Why? Because my comfort zone was calling and I was scared to be so happy and free so my inner B pulled me back there. It’s crazy but it’s true. Familiarity feels safe even if it’s not! The unknown is the scariest of all.
So what do we do to stop self-sabotaging?
To stop our inner B ruling the roost and keeping us in our comfort zone we need to change our beliefs and our identity. This shit is hard!
We need to get comfortable at being uncomfortable in order to grow and live a life of fulfilment and happiness.
Alongside challenging and replacing our beliefs, we need to learn how to believe in ourselves again and have faith that something else out there is helping and supporting us to reach our full potential. The law of attraction is a real thing and even for the non-believers out there, this is backed by quantum physics. Take a read of my previous article here. So whether you believe in God, the Universe, Allah, Buddha, fate or yourself you must believe in order to have faith that everything will become alright. (Because it will.)
We are born as beautiful babies loving the hell out of ourselves, being fearless and not having a care in the world. People say babies are little miracles. When did we stop being a miracle…? We didn’t. We are all miracles! We can have, do and be anything we want. As we grew up we unlearned how to love ourselves and be fearless and instead we started to judge ourselves and other people and become cautious and fearful of others. We learnt to believe that our thighs are too fat to ever be truly loved so we lie in bed alone at night miserable never believing that we will meet our true love. We learnt that we aren’t clever enough to start our own business so we don’t even try. We learnt that we can’t trust anybody because everyone is out to get you and so we attract exactly that into our lives.
It’s time we got some new beliefs that serve us.
As adults, we have a choice. Whatever beliefs we have gathered up about ourselves along the way, if they are not serving us then we can replace them with ones that do. We need to change our identity so that our thermostat is set at a higher temperature continuously. Below are some examples of my previous beliefs and the steps that I took to overcome these and make new ones that serve me:
I’m scared of failing so I don’t believe in myself.
I’m scared of someone not liking me so I people, please.
I’m scared of making the wrong decision so I second guess.
I’m scared of not being enough so I seek external validation.
Clearly writing out exactly HOW my self sabotaging behaviours were protecting me, allowed me to then analyze if it’s actually in my benefit to continue. Which of course they are not!!!
So if you’re following along & want to experience personal growth & overcome this, here are the 3 ways to do so:
- Write down the behaviours or patterns you’re not happy with, and then identify HOW they are ultimately keeping you safe. (Like I did above)… the reason is that we can not change what we are not aware of.
- Reframe each sentence into an I am/I have a statement that is POSITIVE in your daily journaling, so, for example, I have been writing:
- I have a strong self-belief
- I am accepted and loved
- I have a strong intuition to rely on
- I am enough, always
- Pick one of your positive mantras a week, write an action statement about it & then commit to DOING IT.
- For example, taking the first one “I have strong self-belief” > how would a person with strong self-belief act? Well, they would speak their mind & they would take risks! So I commit to speaking my mind and taking a risk that I would have previously been scared to take.
- Practice this for a whole week before moving on to the next one.
YOU HAVE TO WALK THE WALK, NOT JUST TALK THE TALK! Positive statements are great but they mean nothing if you don’t actually put it into action.
Now it’s your turn… write down like I did how your beliefs are stopping you from progressing towards your dreams and goals. Another example:
You want to start the gym and you plan to go 4 days a week after work. You take your gym stuff with you to work and you have all the good intentions of going. But as the day goes on you find yourself saying yes to extra workload or doing everything you can to make yourself finish late so that it will be too late to go to the gym. This is self-sabotage and you’re doing this secretly on purpose so that you don’t have to go to the gym… I see ya… ;)!
Ok, your turn, go go go!
Become a child again
Remember a time when you were a child and you were totally relentless at getting what you wanted…?! Whether it was a new bike or a dog or even some sweets (me, haha!) My bet is that you did absolutely everything in your power to get what you wanted and I bet that most of the time you did this, you succeeded! As adults, we stop doing this. We listen to other people’s opinions and put them before our own gut feeling. We agree that our brilliant idea is probably too unrealistic. Stop doubting yourself and start believing because like I keep saying, anything is possible if you want it enough!
If you are still struggling to move forward after doing the exercise above and implementing what I have talked about here into your life then you may need help! I certainly needed help. I even knew I was self-sabotaging but I still did it anyway. So I hired a coach that would hold me accountable and help me to dig deeper as to what was really stopping me. It’s totally worth the investment because your whole life changes for good! I’m here for you if you need me, I would love to help you, have a nosey through my coaching options.
AND REMEMBER, GO OUT THERE AND SHINE BECAUSE YOU ARE ENOUGH AND YOU CAN HAVE, BE AND DO ANYTHING YOU WANT, SO GO GET IT BEAUTIFUL!