What is the deal with self sabotage?
Why would anyone “sabotage” their own success? It doesn’t make sense that we would ever do such a strange thing. Yet we do it all the time.
Not only do we do it all the time, most of the time we don’t even know we are doing it. We can struggle for years trying to breakthrough in a particular area of life and not even notice that we are making the same mistakes over and over. People around us can see it but we don’t always notice it ourselves.
To better understand self sabotage lets answer these three questions:
- What is self sabotage and does it exist?
- Why do we do it?
- What does it cost us?
1. What is self sabotage and does it exist?
One way to explain it would be to reach out for something with one hand and push it away with the other. It is when we desire something for our life but something in us creates barriers and obstacles along our path to the point where we cannot follow through and receive the object of our desire. Therefore with one hand we are reaching out for our desire but our other hand pushes it away.
Its when we say we want a loving relationship but create all sorts of drama to destroy it. Or we say we want financial success but never put ourselves in the right environment to receive it. We want close relationships with our children but we can’t stop criticising them. Or we want to create a healthy body but make multiple excuses for why we can’t make the changes necessary.
Self sabotage is 100% real. I know because I do it to myself all the time. I have learned to watch out for it and identify it when it takes over. It is where comments like “why does this always happen to me?” and “I don’t deserve it, God doesn’t like me much”, come from. It is where victim mentality comes from. Where everything is someone else’s fault.
The truth is, that it is our own fault. We are responsible for the quality of our lives and if we want to take our lives higher then we better start making the changes necessary to do it. Identifying the areas where we are sabotaging our own success is a great place to start.
2. Why do we do it?
We create self sabotage when our conscious thinking doesn’t line up with our subconscious beliefs. It is like being double minded. Having two minds operating and fighting against each other.
Our mind works in two parts, the conscious and subconscious. The conscious mind is the creative thinking we develop in the present moment. This is where we find inspiration and creativity. Where we come up with new ideas and learn new things.
The subconscious mind is where our core programs exist. These programs have been developed over the course of our lives by all of the experiences we have been exposed to. Especially from birth to around seven years old. This time of development is when the brain is forming its beliefs about the environment you live in. It is downloading information from your parents, friends, extended family, school, television etc. Whatever we are interacting with has an impact on our mind.
From all of this input we develop our core belief systems. These are the beliefs we have about who we are and what the world is around us. We all form our own unique set of beliefs that stay with us for most of our lives. A lot of what we believe comes straight from other people, like our parents or the government. If we search our own beliefs we will find that there are beliefs in there that we never really thought through. We just accepted the dominant cultural beliefs around this topic.
We can see that working with racism. Where children of racist parents don’t even know why they hate another culture, they just do. Its because thats the environmental norm for where they grew up so they adopted that thinking.
We don’t all become robotic followers of our environment either. Many people grow up to despise the beliefs of their culture and move their lives in a different direction. It is an amazing system that we have going on in our brain. One that we must learn to utilise much better.
Can you see how our core beliefs work like programs? These are our habitual programs that have created the lifestyle we are each living now in the present moment. The challenge comes when we try to change that lifestyle. Because if the subconscious belief does not support the conscious desire for change then there will be self sabotage.
3. What does it cost us?
Which leads us to this question. What does it cost us. Self sabotage costs us many of our conscious desires. Sometimes it is a good thing and saves us from trouble. Other times it is keeping us in trouble.
Self sabotage keeps us locked into our comfort zones. Even when our comfort zone is not very comfortable. Self sabotage is our subconscious minds way of keeping the status quo in our lives. Keeping us safe and operating in predictable ways that are familiar. We are creatures of habit and these habits come from our subconscious mind.
Without it the human race probably would not have survived this long. Imagine life without our subconscious operating programs for walking, hunting, building things, language, driving, playing music, writing etc. Life would be very different if we had to relearn these things all the time. The challenge is, that we create negative programs too and the subconscious mind will fight to keep these operating until we learn to override them.
Therefore, self sabotage costs us much of our progress and creativity. Much of the modern society we live in is being driven by this sort of thinking. Notice how we all get up each morning and follow the same old routine, drive the same way to work, talk to the same people, eat the same food, complain about the same things, enjoy the same things, drive home the same way and follow the same old night routine then get up the next morning and do it all over again.
It is this boring existence that is driving many of us to depression and anxiety as we look into a future with not much to look forward to. Life doesn’t have to be like this. We have the ability to reprogram our habitual thinking. We have the ability to create the life we dream of living. Even though it feels impossible to change, it is not impossible. It takes a lot of effort and focus but it can be done. We just have to develop the skills to make it happen.
Three Points of Power to overcome self sabotage.
Now, lets look at three points of power to overcome self sabotage.
- Self Awareness
- Remove Resistance
- Stand In Your Power
1. Self awareness: Step one in overcoming self sabotage is to be aware that we are doing it. This can be tricky because self sabotage occurs in our subconscious thinking. The good news is that if we spend time and energy focusing our conscious mind on watching out for self sabotage then our Reticular Activating System will begin to look out for this behaviour.
By reading articles like this one, listening to podcasts and reading books on this topic will cause your RAS to be on the look out for anything related to this topic. You will begin to see sabotage happening in other people and you will become aware of when your doing it to yourself.
Becoming aware of how you are operating in the various departments of your life will set you on an exciting journey towards mastering the flow of your life. Make no mistake, it is not easy and it takes humility to admit that your doing things wrong. But if we can develop this skill of watching ourselves then we have the opportunity to take our lives forward to exactly where we want to go.
2. Remove resistance: Once we expose our limiting thinking and the patterns of behaviour we have around these areas of life, then we can make conscious choices to think differently. We will be confronted by a situation where we usually pull back and retreat and now because we are aware of our behaviour we can stop ourselves from making those limiting decisions. We can choose to move in a different direction.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is not always so easy. Remember we are dealing with the subconscious mind. So many of our decisions will happen automatically. The important thing to remember is that it takes time and just because we fail doesn’t mean we are failures. We become aware of the mistake and start moving forward again.
We fall short in life because we have resistance to achieving success in these areas. When we can consciously make different choices around this resistance then we can move forward. If we don’t then we will continue to make the same decisions and therefore continue to live the same lifestyle.
3. Stand in your power: Finally we learn to stand in our power. We stay focused and relaxed in the new version of ourselves. Even when we fall and make mistakes we pull ourselves back to our power. We develop a clear vision of who and what we are and stand in that vision. Focusing the mind on what we want to be not what we have been in the past.
By doing this we are continuing to reprogram or renew the mind. We are consciously overriding old programs and creating new beliefs about who and what we are. To have these beliefs grow deep roots in our subconscious we need to stand in that power, stand in that version of ourselves.
In the past we have stood in the version of ourselves we didn’t want to be. We stood in fear, in anxiety and in stress. We stood in weakness to the point where it became the dominant force in many areas of our life. We operated in fear so long that it became our standard program. Then it started to operate subconsciously beyond our conscious control. It became a permanent part of our lives.
To overcome and breakthrough into the lifestyle we desire we just have to do the opposite. Choose new thoughts and surround ourselves with the energy that will take us to where we want to be. This will slowly overcome our self sabotage and we will see our lives moving towards better things.
It all happens in the mind. Our thinking is driving our lives. If we want to drive our lives along a better journey then we must learn to deal with self sabotage.