Everyone wants to be successful and achieve great and wonderful goals. However, some people seem to reach those goals while others rarely do. Have you ever wondered why? Although there could be a multitude of reasons that are beyond a person’s control, I am going to discuss that of which we can control – learning how to stop self sabotaging behavior and beliefs.
Self sabotage is just that – things we do to ourselves to prevent us from reaching our goals and dreams. It may seem silly that anyone would ever do that but the truth is, most of us have done it at least one time in our lives in order to protect our own fragile ego because we fear even just the possibility of failure. We don’t want to look stupid in front of others and would forego greatness to save our pride.
It seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it? But I would like you to think of the last time an old friend asked you to come to a party and last minute you became sick. Or perhaps the time that you decided to order expensive take-out when you knew you needed the money to pay for a utility bill next week. Or maybe even the last time you began an argument with your partner for no reason at all.
These are all examples of self sabotaging behavior – we create excuses for ourselves so that JUST IN CASE we fail, we have something to blame it on.
Self sabotaging behaviours often leads to signs of anxiety surfacing and even symptoms of depression, leaving us to figure out how to manage it. Consequently, there are now more problems and issues we must face and we are deeper into the self sabotaging cycle.
Obviously successful people have habits that lead to their success and these do not include self defeating behaviors. They are filled with self-discipline and do not allow obstacles to get in their way.
Why do some of us get consumed by self sabotaging behaviors while others do not Like anything with human behavior is not simple but there are a few contributing factors we can examine.
# 1. I Am Unworthy
Thinking that you are somehow not worthy of success, love and joy often leads to behaviors that drive us even further away from those wonderful things. For instance, if you deem yourself unworthy of love from a partner, you may find that you unconsciously seek out those people that are not a great fit for you or even harmful. And if you do find yourself in a relationship with someone who shows you what you deserve, you find some way to push them away.
A feeling of unworthiness often stems from a lack of self-esteem. In the cases when you do experience true success, you would think it would boost your self-esteem when in actuality, your unconscious mind keeps telling you that you actually do not deserve to be happy.
This vicious cycle then continues to grow because somehow it feels better to be unhappy and you continue to self sabotage.
#2. I Am a Fraud
Self-doubt and an underestimation of your skills and abilities can lead to feelings of fraudulence. For example, you may not have offered your opinion at a staff meeting because you felt that you did not have anything worthwhile to contribute or that others have more valid experience. You perceive yourself as being a “counterfeit”, someone who is not really capable of achieving greatness.
This type of thinking prevents you from applying for that promotion or seeking something better. Thus, you remain stagnant and unhappy in your current position but in your head, “at least the spotlight isn’t on me and no one will notice when I am continually faltering.” The reality is you are not always faltering at all but you are giving yourself permission to think that so you do not have to venture into the unknown.
To attempt to stop self sabotaging behavior like this, begin to think of smaller goals you wish to achieve and work towards those one at a time. There may be less fear in those small steps than looking at the end goal that seems so far out of reach. Baby steps will still get you where you need to go.
#3. I Need to Be Comfortable
Being comfortable feels good. It provides you with a sense of security and familiarity that nothing else can. However, with that constant familiar territory comes a lack of progress and success. Success leads to unknown places and feelings of uncertainty and you then feel the urge to retreat back to what you know. You will do something that will bring you back to your comfort zone, negating your progress.
Perhaps you have felt success in the past and something beyond your control took that success from you. Therefore, you would rather stay in what feels familiar than experience that disappointment once again.
As I mentioned before, it is so important to stop creating events in your head that haven’t even occurred. It is time to start thinking more positively and stop playing the damaging “What if?” game. It is time to stop self sabotaging behavior.
#4. I Am Not Trustworthy
You are always questioning your own thoughts and decisions and wondering if they are the choices you should be making. Therefore, you also are questioning your trustworthiness as an individual in the eyes of others.
If you are constantly second-guessing yourself, you believe that you cannot be trusted to make proper decisions for others – whether in your relationships, family, friendships, or workplace. You rarely trust your own feelings and judgments and it is beyond your comprehension that others would trust your abilities.
It is time to dig deep and find out where this mistrust originates and begin to believe in yourself. Putting a stop to self sabotaging behavior is the beginning of this.
#5. I Must Be in Control
There are many elements of your success and happiness that are just simply out of your control. The universe may work in your favor or it may not. However, self sabotaging behaviors often originate from an incessant need to be constantly in control. The idea behind this is that if you are in control, then you are also in control of your failure and then can “know” how bad the consequences will be. The unknown terrifies you and therefore, you would rather be in command of what occurs than even facing success.
It is extremely important that you begin to be aware of this need to be in control. It is time to realize that you cannot be in charge of all that happens. In negative situations, it is easy to think negatively but there is great power in thinking more positively. Consequently, our actions also will begin to change from those that ruin our path to success to ones that can create progress.
#6. I Am Afraid of Failure
You may be thinking that the reason you sabotage yourself is that you have a fear of success. In actuality, it isn’t the fear of success that prevents you from moving forward. It is the fear of failure.
With failure, comes feelings of doubt and negative thoughts and no one wants to feel that. However, you only fail if you refuse to ever try again. Instead, change your mindset. It isn’t a failure but lessons from which you can learn and improve. Lessons that can help you get closer to your goals.
Everyone is guilty of sabotaging themselves at one point or another in their lives. However, when you allow those behaviors and negative thoughts to keep you stagnant and without progress, it is time to reevaluate their root causes.
Now is the time to begin changing your life to achieve everything you deserve. And you do deserve to be successful, and happy and loved. We all do.