Self Sabotage: Why we do it and what we can do about it

Not again! How many times have you self-sabotaged your way out of something you thought you wanted? Here’s why you do that and how to get out of it.

If you’re human, you’ve probably, at times, sabotaged your own success in an area of your life. Some of us do this once in awhile and learn to stop doing it, and then there are some of us who do it over and over, preventing ourselves from ever achieving what we think we want.

Learning to manage our self-sabotaging ways is crucial to creating a life that we love.

Not sure if you’re prone to self-sabotage? Do any of these scenarios sound or feel familiar?

  • You’ve blown up a perfectly good relationship for no good reason
  • You’ve bombed a job interview by purposely avoiding preparing for it
  • You decide to “get healthy” finally this year and after a few good weeks of consistent exercise, you skip a few days and now you can’t seem to get going again
  • You find yourself eating when you’re not hungry and even though you know the reasons you’re doing that, you consciously choose to reach for food instead of the tools that you know would help
  • You say no to opportunities that you want (out of fear)
  • You tell yourself that you need more time to analyze the situation before making a decision and end up forced into the only choice left because time ran out. Not deciding becomes your decision.
  • You regularly do things that you say you don’t want to do but you do them anyway

I believe self sabotage is a form of rebellion. We do it to make ourselves feel free. On some level we don’t feel we have the right to have, the ability to get or access to something. We have told ourselves the thing we want is “not for us”. Or someone else told us that we couldn’t do something or have something and we believed them.

We limit ourselves and feel trapped by those limitations.

If there are places in our life where we’ve been held back (by ourselves or by someone else), restricted, stifled, or overburdened we’ll act out with self-sabotage. It might be with food, or maybe it’s by making decisions that feel irresponsible or dangerous. The reason we do it with things we seemingly don’t want is because it’s the only way we give that freedom back to ourselves.

We overeat, eat foods that make us feel rotten, and stop moving our bodies. We hurt the feelings of people we care about. We destroy progress at work, at home and in our relationships.

It feels like a release of sorts to “act out” like this. The thinking is “if I can’t have what I want, then I can at least do this thing that feels like a choice of my own doing.”

It doesn’t even matter that we are blowing up things that we actually want. If we’re someone who doesn’t believe we have a lot of potential or choices in life, we’re after that delicious moment of freedom, even if it causes us pain and regret afterwards.

Where in your life do you not feel free?

Where in your life have you been held back, restricted or stifled?

Maybe you had a strict upbringing or were told to be a certain way all your life, so you stuffed down a part of yourself that is only being expressed now through your self-sabotaging actions.

One of the ways we stop self sabotage is to figure out where we don’t feel free and begin taking actions that do make us feel free.  Is there a dream that you’ve always want that you won’t let yourself have? Have you gone after what you wanted? Have you taken risks towards something you desire in your life?

What dreams did you once have that you didn’t allow yourself to chase? Or were told you couldn’t have?

Give yourself total permission to go after what you want. The actual getting probably isn’t as important as your belief that you deserve to try to go for it. Allow yourself to feel free to choose in your life. When it comes to taking action towards this thing that you want, start small if you have to. The most important thing it to give yourself permission to have it and to believe it. Believe that you have the ability, right and can access whatever it is that you want.

You can do anything. You can be anything. You can have anything. This is all true.

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