Does any of this sound familiar:
You want to lose weight yet eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
You want to be in a relationship but cheat on your partner.
You want to make more money but get fired.
You want to go on vacation but get sick.
You want to start running but injure yourself.
You want a new job but lose your voice.
Over the years I have heard people talking about this thing called “self-sabotage”. It wasn’t until I started personal development and working as a coach when I really saw it in action in situations like above.
Self-sabotage is basically when you are just about to reach a goal and somehow it gets ruined.
Well, you have most likely heard that you are your own worst enemy. Self-sabotage comes in many forms and it can be extremely frustrating, especially if you have big dreams and goals. It is said to stem from our critical inner voice, which is usually created during childhood. This inner voice may be your mom telling you you are lazy. It could be your father saying you are worthless and will always be alone. It could be another child telling you you're ugly. It could be your brother telling you that you are dumb. It could be an ex telling you you’re fat. It could be a teacher comparing you to another child.
Some of these may even be totally made up scenarios as you observed others and what you assumed about yourself. But right when we think we are past those limiting beliefs and deserving of more goodness, we somehow get knocked backwards.
Whatever it is, it can be hurtful and still make us feel like a little kid. These thoughts continually hold us back until we learn how to deal with them.
Most of our self-sabotaging ways can go back to love, safety, and belonging:
Will your family still love you if you make this change?
Will you lose your sense of security with this decision?
Will you no longer fit in with your friends if you reach this goal?
Let’s break this down a bit more to explain how self-sabotage occurs:
1. You are in a relationship and it seems to be going really well. He could even be the one…
But then the thoughts creep in: “What if he doesn’t like me as much as I like him?” “What if my parents don’t approve because he’s not the same religion?” “Do I really have to commit to him forever?” “Maybe my ex was right, I am never going to be happy”.
Then just like that, you start to freak out. You stir up a big argument or do something else which negatively impacts the relationship, because you just don’t know how to handle being happy in a relationship.
2. You keep getting into relationships with the same type of person.
Maybe they are verbally abusive, cheaters, liars, or irresponsible. It seems like the same pattern repeating over and over… You don’t know how to get away from this type of relationship for something more fulfilling. You feel maybe this is all you deserve.
3. You are ready to make a big move or career change.
But you feel like your parents are going to disown you if you do. You choose to stay stuck because you don’t want to risk losing your parents' love. You stay miserable even though you know there is something better for you out there.
We get so caught up in the fear of not being loved. We close ourselves off and make choices that don’t really make us happy. This fear may stem from childhood, past relationships, and other experiences throughout life.
1. You love to be creative and your dream is to start your own business.
You believe in your ideas and you start planning. You feel so positive and believe this is your true purpose.
As you share your excitement with friends and family, you hear things like “You’re crazy to leave such a stable job!” “What about your retirement plan?” “How are you going to pay your rent?” “Can you really make money doing that?” The thoughts become so suffocating that you decide to not take the risk. Instead you sit at your 9-5 desk job hating every minute. You suffer from migraines, panic attacks, insomnia, weight gain and even depression.
2. You dream about taking a trip around the world next year.
You want to pack up your backpack and yoga mat and see as much as possible! You want to eat delicious food, meet new people and experience other cultures. You start thinking about your plan yet you hear your father’s voice saying “You can’t travel alone. No girl should be out by herself in those places.” Or your mother saying, “Isn’t it time you settle down? We’re not getting any younger and you should find a nice husband and make us some grandbabies.”
So you get anxious about making this fantasy trip. Maybe you think you were crazy to even consider it. “Who does that anyway? I’m not confident or able enough to do something like that. I could get kidnapped like they show on the news.”
So you stay where you are, still dreaming about getting out of your bubble but it's too scary.
1. You are feeling ready to lose weight and start making healthier choices.
You are sick and tired of being sick and tired. So you start working out and drinking green smoothies. You're feeling good but your friends start calling wondering where you’ve been. They want to meet up at the bar Friday night for some margaritas and pizza. You try to explain your healthier path but they just don’t understand. You decide to go meet up with them because you don’t want to feel like you no longer fit in. But then the weight you just worked so hard to lose starts to creep back up. So you give up and decide you’d rather have friends than be healthy.
2. You want to make more money.
Your family struggled with money growing up. There never seemed to be enough and there were a lot of arguments. You are now up for a big raise at work. A raise that is going to put you at an income level you have never seen before. It feels so exciting to know you can finally break-free from the money worries. But then you notice thoughts of how you will no longer fit in with your family. You won’t be able to relate to the “I’m broke” excuse anymore. Somehow you make a big mistake at work and someone else gets your raise.
Many of the above examples are scenarios from my personal life and also what I have seen friends and clients experience. This is happening to people all day, every day.
It all goes back to our childhood and our thoughts.
Was there a time in your childhood when you didn’t feel loved, safe or like you fit in?
Are those thoughts still on repeat in your head?
Do any of these sound familiar?
I’m not worthy.
He’ll never love me.
I don’t deserve that raise.
I’ll never fit into that outfit.
I can’t save my money.
I will never own a home.
I’ll never get to go on vacation.
Why am I so ugly?
Why do I have such wide hips?
I’m going to be a lonely old cat lady.
I’m too old to switch careers.
I’m too young to be a manager.
She’s a better mom than me.
I don’t deserve to be happy.
There is never enough money.
I hate myself for eating those nachos.
I can’t tell them I’m gay.
I can’t leave this job.
I can’t speak up to him.
I’m too shy to reach for my dreams.
I’m not smart enough to write that book.
I don’t know enough to start my own business.
Being aware of these thoughts is the first step in putting a stop to your self-sabotaging ways. Once you are aware of the areas where you are holding yourself back, then you can decide what you want to do. Trying to change your thoughts and push through will help to reduce your self-sabotaging situations.
However, it can be difficult and may take time since these thoughts have probably been engrained in your mind for many years. It may take deeper work to release your negative thoughts from childhood.
There have been many times when I almost held myself back. But I worked with coaches on my mindset to finally release those negative patterns. I'm here to help you do the same.
You can certainly work with a mastery coach (like me) or therapist who is trained in this area. For example, I am trained in a certain technique to help my clients step into their childhood experience and change their perspective so they can come back to adulthood with an upgraded mindset.
I am all about helping women shift their negative beliefs into confidence, hope, energy and happiness.
I am currently offering complimentary Heartache to Hope Breakthrough Sessions. This session is meant to give you hope for the life you dream of.
It's time to let go of the self-sabotaging ways and live your desired life...
Book your Hope Session now.
Share below how you have experienced self-sabotage in your life and if you are ready to change that.