Self-sabotage is a term that is commonly used to describe someone who is standing in their own way. While this is an accurate definition, let me give you a more specific one. According to NickWignall (https://nickwignall.com/self-sabotage/), “self sabotage is when you undermine your own goals and values.” Does that definition sound a little familiar? For some, no would be an accurate answer, but sadly that is not the case for many. If you’re not sure if there is some self sabotaging going on in your life, I want you to try something: look at all of your relationships, habits, and thoughts that frequently occupy your mind and document any negative feelings or outcomes that result from them. I’ll even give you some examples of self sabotaging behaviors so that you can have more of an idea what you’re looking for, to help you out.
If when you’re in a romantic relationship with someone, you pull away because you are “getting too attached”, you are self sabotaging. Unless it was already established when the relationship started that things were not to get too serious, you actually wanted to be in an intimate and long lasting relationship. When you shut down because you feel yourself catching real feelings, not only are you hurting the other person, but you’re also hurting yourself.
When you enter into a romantic relationship with someone that has belittled you as a person, showed you that they do not care about you, or just lives a lifestyle that you in no way agree with, you’re self sabotaging. In settling for these things, you are making the informed decision to introduce negativity and pain into your life. If you are someone who wants the best for yourself, allowing someone into your life that you know is not good for you should go against the value and goals.
Being in a friendship where you have to shrink yourself to fit is self sabotage. The only way that you can grow and prosper is if you have the space and support to do so. It is okay to outgrow friends! Holding on to someone who has a negative impact on your growth as a person is not a good decision.
Feeling the need to please everyone is self sabotaging. I’m sure this is not a news flash but there are some people out there who are never going to like or be satisfied by the things you do. When letting the opinion of others dictate you, you are only putting stress on yourself. Pleasing everyone is an impossible task, and putting that task on yourself can make you go outside of yourself making you do things you don’t like or agree with.
Beating yourself up all of the time over mistakes or things that are just out of your control is (you guessed it) self sabotage. It is okay to set a high bar for yourself, but not an impossible one. Literally everyone makes mistakes, so why are you not allowed to? Part of life is messing up and going through unknown experiences; they make you wiser. You can’t punish yourself for being human; this is not conducive to a happy or successful life.
Constantly associating the word “can’t” with your ability to do things and the possibility of good things happening is a form of self sabotage. Everyone should be familiar with the saying that “closed mouths don’t get fed”. This is not something that people say for fun (well maybe some people). If you keep telling yourself it can’t happen or it can’t be done, then eventually you will be right. By automatically resorting to negative thoughts, you are closing yourself off to a world of possibilities you could have had if you just thought of them as possible.
These are just a few examples of all of the ways that people self sabotage. Many people don’t even think about their negative actions as self sabotage. This is because many people use it as a shield from reality.
Oftentimes, self sabotage happens when you are insecure or attempting to control things in your life that you are not meant to. Sometimes, in the moment, it feels like it is easier to deal with an unfavorable outcome when you had total control rather than an unfavorable outcome that was completely out of your control. Sabotaging your chance to have healthy relationships, peace of mind or just a happy life undermines the goals and values of anyone who truly cares for themselves, and when you realize you are doing these things you should attempt to do better for yourself.
After being set in your self sabotaging ways for so long, it can be hard to make a change or even know where to start. A good first step would be being intentional about affirming yourself and not trying to have such a tight grip on everything that happens in your life. Remember that it is okay for things not to go the way that you planned because that is just how life goes, sometimes. Assuming the worst is going to happen and beating, for lack of better words, fate to the punch will not make your life any better, but instead it will eventually fill your mind with a lot of what- ifs. You deserve the privilege of seeing all of the blessings and lessons life has to offer, and you have the power to give yourself this privilege.