“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” -Alyce Cornyn-Selby
We often consciously or unconsciously sabotage ourselves because we do not think that we deserve to be successful in life. We may have made mistakes in the past that we have been unable or unwilling to forgive.
We may self-sabotage by habitually selling ourselves short, thinking that our goals and dreams are unreachable. We may discount our own internal resources and deny our own personal strengths. We may unconsciously sabotage situations and relationships that are really good for us.
There are many different ways in which we can self-sabotage. ADDICTION… CODEPENDENCY… ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS… PROCRASTINATION.. .EXCUSES… COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS…DEFEATING SELF-TALK… PASSIVITY… AGGRESSION… RATIONALIZATION… RISKY IMPULSIVE BEHAVIORS… RESISTANCE TO CHANGE… and the list goes on.
Self-sabotaging behaviors are at the tip of an iceberg- an iceberg of shame. Internal shame is at the root of these self-defeating behaviors. We think we are undeserving, and therefore act in ways that create more shame, making us feel more unworthy.
Shame leads to sabotaging ourselves and sabotaging ourselves leads to more shame.
To break free of this vicious cycle, we must act as though we are worthy. We can start by asking ourselves, “What would a confident person who knows their value do in this situation?”
Stay in an abusive relationship? Not likely.
Numb out life with alcohol? Guess again.
Starve self? Nope.
Get upset and eat an entire box of doughnuts? Probably not.
Blame others for personal unhappiness? No.
Stay in a dead-end miserable job without even exploring other options? I think not.
Verbally abuse self? (I am such a loser!) Not even close.
Bully others? Not a chance.
Get professional help and treat an addiction? Now- that is more like it.
Stop blaming everyone else and work on improving self? Most likely.
Form relationships with emotionally healthy people? Yes.
Stop and challenge negative self-talk? For sure.
Work on changing self rather than changing others? Yes.
Exercise? Most definitely.
Turn apathy into action? Yep.
View self as a survivor and thriver rather than a life long victim? Absolutely.
There is something to be said for the cliché, FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT. By acting as if we are already where we want to be, we create our own reality. We puncture the shame that binds us.
If you have a habit of sabotaging yourself, you do not have to stay in this self-imposed prison.
Action Tip: Start by educating yourself.
The following books will help you move past the shame and the self-defeating behaviors that hold you back from being the person that you were meant to be.
The Snowball Effect: How to Build Positive Momentum in Your Life by Kristin Barton Cuthriell (That’s me. This book is full of some of my best research.)
Healing the Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw
I Thought It Was Just Me by Brene Brown
Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie
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