If you google the words ‘self sabotage’ you will see there’s nearly two million results for this term.
Two million? If that’s anything to go by, I’d say self sabotage is a pretty common human behaviour – even if it doesn’t always make sense on paper.
When I first heard the term, I snorted: why would I want to sabotage MYSELF? I’m all I’ve got! I want me to win! At the very least, I want to keep myself safe.
Then I found out that it’s a lot more sneaky a behaviour than we might expect. In fact, it’s so sneaky it still amazes me that we can be capable of doing this to ourselves – usually, without even knowing it.
Self sabotage isn’t this overt, masochistic urge to touch a hot stove or throw ourselves in front of moving vehicles – it’s way more subtle than that.
It shows itself in behaviours like:
- over drinking
- over eating
- extreme guilt
- extreme modesty
It shows itself often when we’re trying to achieve something for our greater good or higher self – like losing excess weight, maintaining a healthy relationship, getting a promotion at work or starting a new business venture.
Let’s look at some self sabotaging behaviour patterns.
Take a work situation. You hate your job. You work too many hours, you allow yourself to be treated like shit by your boss, and you make no time for doing what you really love – painting.
Yet you don’t look for a new job. You tell yourself you don’t have the time. You tell yourself your art isn’t good enough to make any money from anyway, so you’ve stopped that altogether. You don’t know what you want to do with your life – and have stopped asking yourself or researching possible career paths.
You’re stuck. Why?
Here are some possible thought patterns:
“If I fail in a new career or creative project, everyone will judge me as stupid and inadequate.”
“I’ve always been pushed to succeed by parents and teachers – I want to rebel because I don’t want to feel controlled by them”
“I only deserve to be at the top, I won’t start something new if it means starting at the bottom”
“If I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll eventually work something out. Something will come up. It will just fall into my lap (even though it hasn’t and i’ve been doing the same thing for years)”
Do you see how we can rationalise our behaviours? Even if we’re not expressing these to ourselves, on some level we’re using these beliefs as a way to keep ourselves safe and ultimately self sabotage.
You’ll hear me talk about…
- What causes self-sabotaging behaviour
- How to identify self sabotaging behaviour
- Four steps to stop self sabotage
- And much more