This is the one question most people ask me, why do I self sabotage and how can I stop it?
As most of us are already aware it is inbuilt in us to have a defense mechanism to protect ourselves from potential dangers. Only trouble is we don’t actually have many potential threats to protect ourselves from anymore, so instead we spend our time over thinking.
This time for thinking was used on potential risks and how to ensure our safety and wellbeing, but has been carried forward into protecting ourselves in every area of our lives. Our relationships, work, parenting, what we did wrong, what we did right, what we should be eating. The list goes on…
Once we become an over thinker, we have stepped into the role of self sabotager. We will now over think to such an extent that we will start telling ourselves where we went wrong, what we should have done differently, why it is not worth doing it and how to protect ourselves from this situation happening again. Before we know it we have wrapped ourselves into a protective blanket of self sabotage and no longer want to communicate with the World.
Why self sabotage? It is a protective response to ensure we are prepared for the worst case scenario.
We forget that it is actually through talking and sharing that we grow, that we flourish and that self sabotage takes a backwards step.
Sometimes just an old photo can bring up so many old emotions and before you know it you’ve told yourself what a waste of space you are and gone back into a personal attack. It’s great if you are reading this and thinking, “I do that!” To have awareness that your doing it is definitely the first step to overcoming it.
I used to self sabotage about everything, I would come away from an hour in my head feeling like a worthless individual that was heading for failure! When I started working with slowing down and using mindfulness techniques I became so much more aware of what was going on in my head. I could hear the things I was telling myself and I had the opportunity to stop them in their track. I would take a moment to listen to the voice and think to myself, is this true? Why am I thinking this? What am I protecting myself from?
You have to remember your self sabotage is coming from a place of fear. You are protecting yourself by going into situations feeling negative to start with, that way you are set for rejection, for failure, or for some sort of bad news. We can only turn this around, by turning around our expectations! When we are going into an interview, on a date, applying for a business loan, having our first child, climbing that huge hill in front of us. We have to let go of our expectations and say to ourselves, I am going to give it my all, I am going to enjoy the process and find the positive in every step of the way. This way you have no expectations to judge yourself against.
I know it sounds simple and catching ourselves in the midst of a panicked mindset is not easy, so make time to practice slowing down, using breathing techniques or learning just to relax and switch off. Everything is a practice and the more often you do it, the better you will become.
Self sabotage also stems from our younger years. If we were bullied or had judgmental people in our lives telling us we were worthless, or that we couldn’t be the person we thought we might become, we are going to struggle to release that voice inside our heads. When you get used to hearing it all the time, it is hard to change your mindset.
Don’t give up! It is possible to change this voice and free yourself of self sabotage, but you have to make a promise to yourself. The same way you would if you gave up smoking or eating chocolate, self sabotage has become an addiction, its your familiarity and comfort zone to beat yourself up now. So make a promise to yourself that this is going to change! Write a sign and stick it on your fridge or by your bed, something along the lines of “I love and value myself.” Anything that makes you feel empowered and changes that negative voice inside your head.
Practice stillness, surround yourself in positive quotes and then make sure you are spending your time with the right people! Easier said than done I know, but where possible try and make time for the people that inspire you, push you, support you and make you smile. Limit the time with anyone that does the opposite to these things.
It wont happen over night, but keep working on these things and I promise you that negative voice inside your head will soon change and be pushing you in unimaginable places. Yes you will feel vulnerable and nervous, but you will love the new sense of self and how these experiences become lessons and stepping stones to your next chapter.
Keep believing, you have the potential of greatness, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.