What is Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotage exists for a reason. It keeps us perceivably safe – from failure, from rejection, from putting ourselves out there. Its purpose is to not push us outside our comfort-zone, even if our comfort zone is loneliness, angst, depression, being overweight, in a job we hate, not living in our purpose, afraid to pursue our dreams, desperately wanting to be loved…and so on. The subconscious creates ways in which we sabotage so that we don’t get hurt again. Self-sabotage tends to come up a lot as soon as we start to heal and grow.
A possible root cause for your personal brand of self-sabotaging behaviour might have come from an experience you had as a little kid. Maybe you saw that when you opened up, when you were curious and dreaming and sharing your heart, you got squashed. Your light got dimmed. And now you have a story that says something like: “Don’t be too bright and/or share your vulnerability, because you’ll get hurt and rejected.”
So, the genius of your subconscious created a template that recognizes certain patterns, behaviours, and/or situations. When your subconscious recognizes those patterns in the world around you, it sends out a major distress signal to the rest of your psyche and causes you to shrink away from possible success. In essence, every time you get to the edge of where those triggering situations might happen, you mess it up. (I was a master at this too – and still catch myself.)
The intention of self-sabotage is survival. Does it serve you today? HELL NO. Self-sabotage creates an interesting conundrum: the fear of failure or rejection, or even the possibility that we might love ourselves, and then that be taken away, is what we create within ourselves when we self-sabotage. For example, if we’re afraid of failing, we quit and fail ourselves. We’re afraid of rejection, so we don’t speak up. We reject ourselves, our own voices, and our worthiness of being seen. And so on.
What’s beyond self-sabotage is self-worth. The belief that “If I fail then I’m not worthy” gets transformed to, “Regardless of the outcome, I’m worthy because I have honoured and chosen myself.” The reason growth and expansion of any kind are terrifying, is because when you are constantly growing, you are living in the unknown. You are literally creating
moments, thoughts and feelings you’ve never lived in. Expansion and uncertainty, when combined with boundaries and self-trust, become home.
Let’s look are your specific self-sabotage techniques so we can call them out and catch them as (or before) they arrive.
Possible Areas We Self-Sabotage:
● Dating and flirting
● Public appearances
● Health and body
● Showing your talents
● Dealing with family members
● Dealing with authority figures like doctors and lawyers
● Facing bureaucracies and clerks
● Doing a job you hate
And whatever else your genius mind comes up with.
Popular methods of self-sabotage:
● Running away
● Not acting
● Being “busy”
● Acting to your disadvantage
● Not asking
● Performing below your capabilities
● Picking fights you shouldn’t
● Injuries (not all of them)
● “Accidents” (not all of them)
● Getting sick
● Not showing up
● Sleeping in
● Being late
● Suffering from internal conflicts
● Drowning in self-pity
● Not standing up for yourself
● Temper issues
● Excessive worrying
● Negative habits
● Emotional eating
● Impulsive spending
Becoming aware of these patterns and the emotions that drive these behaviors in
your life is the first step to changing them. Every single time you interrupt a pattern of self-sabotage and name it in your experience you create a new neural pathway out of it. You build a new mind muscle, a new pattern, and a new comfort level beyond what you had before.
1. The area(s) of my life I tend to self-sabotage most are (list all that apply):
2. The way(s) in which I tend to self-sabotage are:
3. The outcomes (both positive and negative) that I’m most afraid of are:
4. This pattern holds me back from feeling ________, and ultimately from becoming (insert positive desired outcome in the future you hope for)
5. The next time I start to sabotage myself, what I can do to lovingly turn back towards my expansion is _______.
6. One thing I can do to remind myself that it’s safe to grow and change and give birth to all of me is _______.
7. A habit/ritual that nurtures me when things get uncertain are _______.
8. A person I can depend on to hold me accountable is _______.
Repeat after me:
“I am committed to my growth and expansion. I am proud of myself for
completing this worksheet.”