Today is a big topic that affects the majority of the population. Self-sabotage or self sabotaging, is the act of ruining or hurting our chances of obtaining something we long for. It could be a career goal, a relationship, personal health goal, or even the chance of daily happiness.
Often times, we don’t realize we are self sabotaging. The reason being is, it is so instinctive that it has become the norm of living. To demonstrate and explain more, I’ll use my own personal experiences when it comes to self sabotage, because after all, I was once a queen at it.
The Stories We Tell Ourselves
To understand why we self sabotage, we have to understand the different stories we tell ourselves. These stories, or messages, are usually formulate when we are younger. For me, growing up I lived in a very unstable and unhealthy environment. I survived physical, mental and sexual abuse ( you can read my fully story and my recovery story). The trauma cultivated these stories that I wasn’t good enough or worthy. It demonstrated to me that life is chaotic and unstable. These were the messages I carried with me all throughout my childhood and majority of my adulthood.
What we don’t realize on a conscious level is how these programmed messages or stories begin to alter the way we see ourselves, the world, and affect the decisions we make.
The Decision Process
Think about the messages you grew up believing about yourself. They may be positive or may be negative. It could be external messages (the world isn’t safe) or internal (I am not enough). Whatever they are, identify them.
Again, for me it was I am not worthy and life is unstable. How did this affect my decision-making process? Well, when I approached career options, relationships, or even living situations, I automatically gravitated towards low-income, abusive, and poor living. I instantly recoiled from opportunities that I deemed too good and too far out of reach. Or even too normal.
Also, I began to create chaos or worry in situations that didn’t need to be stressful. My main objective became limiting myself to small portions of love, self-care, and rest. Moving constantly and frequently changing my mind, were the norm. Basically, I didn’t give myself the chance to succeed, be happy or feel relaxed.
Sneaky Self Sabotage
What was I doing? I was self sabotaging. I could have easily gone for the better paying jobs, healthier relationships, and better living circumstances but I said no. Sadly, I couldn’t see that I was worthy of those things.
My old messages of how I viewed myself and how I viewed life held me back. And it all occurred without me consciously realizing what I was doing. I was simply doing what I knew.
How To Stop Self Sabotaging
It took many years to realize the messages I carried were inflicting pain onto my life. The moment I began to be conscious of what was going on, things began to change.
Identifying the pain, recognizing the effects, reversing the messages, and letting go of old ways of behaving is parts of how to stop self sabotage. It requires us to really be present. Here and now. Not living in past nor projecting into the future. Just being here. Realizing you are worthy just because you are breathing. It requires patience with oneself and understanding this may be an area you are still healing. It may even require some attention or help from trained professionals to guide you through those old messages and creating new healthier messages about yourself.
For me, the things that have consistently work are:
- stay present
- write down what’s coming up, the feelings and old messages
- speak with a friend or a trusted supporter
- acknowledge the self sabotage and pain
- be kind to myself and others
- reverse the message through affirmations (new messages)
Meditation is another great tool to work through any thoughts or feelings that come up regarding self sabotage. As always, seek a trained professional if you need help. There is so much courage in reaching out, and many including myself, believe in you!