The mind can be an ever-raging battlefield and self-sabotage happens when the logical conscious mind finds itself suddenly fighting against the subconscious mind. In other words; it’s the part of you that works as the anti-self – the small voice that says you can’t or you shouldn’t, or the loud voice egging us on to override the logical mind and make decisions that won’t always work out in our favour.
Where Does Self-Sabotage Come From?
While the inner critic responsible for our self-sabotage sounds like something we want to stamp out, it's important to know where it comes from so we know how not to internalize the voice and also how not to be too cruel to it.
Often our deep subconscious is working around the clock to keep us safe and protect us from pain. But this work is coming from a place of fear. Fear of not being enough, fear of being too much, fear of falling, even fear of succeeding. Instead of embracing our true selves and living out our full potential we hesitate, procrastinate, or even throw obstacles in our own way.
How Do We Self-Sabotage?
Learning to recognize self-sabotaging behaviour is one of the most important steps in learning how to curate new habits that help you to achieve your goals and to live out your best life. Whether its career orientated, tied to relationships, or just in how you engage with the world around you, it's important to understand that your subconscious is fighting against something and to try and work out why that is.
The most common examples of self-sabotaging behaviour include; procrastination, negative inner dialogue, aiming for perfectionism, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, and shutting down emotionally.
Again, many of these behaviour patterns come from a place of self-preservation; not wanting to fail, not wanting to fall short, not wanting to emotionally engage and run the risk of being hurt, and not wanting to feel too much and validate your feelings.
How Do We Break Free?
Overcoming self-sabotage starts with recognizing patterns, looking closely at your underlying fears, and using a journal or plan to re-commit to your goals every single day. Self-sabotaging behaviours are habits and the aim is to replace old habits with new healthy habits. At the beginning this is hard, but with more practice, it becomes a habit.
Commit to doing the deep inner work to face that voice of self-doubt. It’s easy to rail against a voice we consider to be one of self-hatred but try and remember that this voice is trying to protect you and give it compassion. Tapping into self-love, kindness, and positive reinforcement for the self is one of the best ways of softening the self and breaking out of rigid thinking.
Start small when it comes to replacing habits. Recognition is the key, but after that comes the alterations. If you breeze in making grandiose changes then it may become overwhelming so start small. Whether it's writing a detailed to-do list to reduce procrastination, spending an hour indulging in a creative task, or replying in the affirmative to an opportunity or get together – small changes help create big shifts.
Does self-sabotage sound familiar? Let us know how it affects you. Share stories and thoughts in the comments.