There is someone secretly plotting against you. This is happening daily from someone you think you trust, should love you and have your long term interest at heart. This person has been right under your nose this entire time while you’ve deliberated about who could possibly be to blame for your stalling career, failed relationships, constant procrastination and overall feelings of unworthiness. Take a glance at the nearest mirror and look your culprit directly in the eyes; you are looking at (potentially) your worst nightmare.
"We are so used to disguising ourselves from others that we end up disguising ourselves from ourselves."
– François La Rochefoucauld
This shouldn’t be news to me and it is an incredibly sad thing but some people hate themselves. Some people don’t like the direction their lives have taken, decisions they’ve made, how they look, feel or act in general. I just read that 7 out of 10 young girls don’t feel good enough and I’m sure the number isn’t far off from how boys feel. I somewhat recently stumbled upon this idea of self-sabotage: subconsciously getting in your own way to stop you from success, happiness, productivity or love.
We sabotage our own lives for a bunch of reasons but a main factor is that we don’t feel worthy of whatever joy is brought into our lives. Things going well at work? Probably time to show up late and hungover for the big presentation. Finally getting on the right track financially? Probably time to buy a sea-doo. Starting to feel healthy? Best to skip a few workouts and hit up that Thai/Chinese all you can eat buffet. Finally met someone you dig? Best to start fights early to make sure that doesn’t have the potential to turn into the real thing.
Common self-sabotaging behaviours:
Over eating, drinking or spending
Eating poorly/less physical activity
Overly critical of others or ourselves
Not starting or finishing projects
Not taking steps to stop something that is bad for us
Leaving jobs or people before they can leave you
There is a long list of other self-sabotaging behaviours but these are some key ones. While these are technically self-sabotaging behaviours, they are also incredibly human behaviours. I think the majority of people do a certain number of these to a certain extent which is completely understandable and predictable. The problem is when the consequences and frequency increase without us becoming mindful of it. If we are aware that we don’t feel like we deserve love, we can catch our brains trying to self-sabotage a relationship before it starts and correct course. If we know we tend to blow everything up once we are close to reaching our desired outcome, we need to be extra vigilant during those times, have a close friend to monitor any new or potentially damaging behaviour to stay on track. Taking the time to at least be aware that this could be happening in some area of your life is a great start. I am guilty of more of these behaviours than I care to admit but I have found a few recommendations to keep the positive vibes flowing.
Shift your definition of your worth, from outcomes to effort. Decide that you will define your worth by the loving actions you take for yourself and others, rather than by the outcome of the actions.
Consciously see mistakes and failure as steppingstones to success, rather than as definitions of your worth. Make it okay to fail. Allow failure and mistakes to inform you that you need to learn more, rather than being indicators of your intelligence or worth, or lack thereof.
Make a decision that you are willing to lose another person rather than lose yourself. You will not fear rejection or engulfment when you learn to be true to yourself, and you are willing to take loving action in your own behalf — even if another person doesn’t like it.
It’s much easier to face your fears and “fail” than it is to continuously quit before trying.
Can you get clear on what you actually want; what is the benefit to you, the reason for doing what you want to do in the first place? Once you’ve figured that out, what would be the smallest commitment you could make to yourself that would represent a step in the right direction?
Be kind to yourself. Monitor self-talk.
Figure out 2-3 ways you consistently self-sabotage. What are some ways you can combat those behaviours every day?
Ex: I eat unhealthy food.
Resolution: Only have healthy food at home. Eat fruit and vegetables every day.
Have a food diary you show a friend at the end of each week.
Finally, I think we get too much into our own heads at times so focus on helping others which will help them and ultimately you.
As long as we are aware how we get in our own way, we can at least attempt to limit the damage we inflict on ourselves.
Checklist to stop self-sabotaging behaviour
"I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have."
– Leonardo da Vinci