To take a step back and acknowledge that the world isn’t sabotaging you, that life actually isn’t “out to get you”, and that in fact you are the only thing that can get in your way – is certainly a very hard feat to admit (I hear you), yet the most empowering. There are certain habits we each attach to which we think might be helpful, but are actually more hurtful in the long run. The good news of course is that you can easily overcome them when you are determined and committed. I’m about to uncover what these habits are exactly, and practical ways to overcome them.
Majority of the time, we don’t even realize that we’re self sabotaging. Before I get into that, I’ll explain what exactly is self sabotage, then we can get into how to get past it.
Self sabotage includes behaviours, actions, & thoughts that quite literally create problems in your life, or interfere with your personal success and growth. There are many behaviours of self sabotage that are more apparent to notice; such as procrastination, an addiction, comfort eating, frequent indulgences, etc. However, many self-sabotaging behaviours are very covert and we may not notice what it is we’re doing.
When I first realized that I myself supported my own sabotage I was quite in shock and almost in denial. I thought, why would I ever do that to myself? I really wouldn’t… would I?
YES we all do this in one way or another. We are all capable of creating our own success, or sabotaging it. However this is not a one or the other type of situation. For me personally, this fluctuates. I can have a few good days or weeks of stellar success, and there are some days where I speak to myself in an unsupportive way, or make excuses for myself. Remember you can ALWAYS bounce back, hit the reset button, and try again. Always.
5 Self Sabotaging Habits You Didn’t Know You Were Doing
1. Operating From a Place of Lack
When you operate from a place of lack, your main focus in life is what you don’t have. You frequently think things like “I would be so much happier if I only had ____” or “I can be fulfilled when I have ____” or “life would be perfect if I did/had ___”
This pattern of thinking keeps you focused on where you are lacking in life, and when you feel like you are lacking or missing something, you don’t feel fulfilled – you may start to worry or panic about this, feel that time is running out or that you just need to have that thing right now and everything would finally be okay. However, when you are operating from this mindset, you will always be searching for something that is not good enough.
You are smart. Your brain is smart. Once this pattern has established itself, it continues the loop without you even realizing it. Think back to a time when you once wanted something you now have. Did it turn you into that person you thought it would make you become? I will note here that sometimes we do need things to use as a tool to support ourselves in our own personal success, but that is coming from a different place than feeling like you need something to make you happier, more successful, a better person, etc. To best determine which is more suitable to you, ask yourself the next time you have that feeling “Is this something I can use to support myself? or am I seeking happiness in this item/thing/experience?” Just take note of your answer, don’t judge. Asking yourself this and providing yourself with a genuinely honest answer is a very important activity in best supporting yourself, as you are then able to accommodate. Similarly how doctors run tests to actually determine what’s going on, even if it’s not a ‘good’ answer as then they can best support us with the knowledge they gain from testing.
How to Overcome:
- practice gratitude; recognize that you already have everything you need in order to live a fulfilling life
- journal! this is where you can ask yourself these objectively challenging questions, and give yourself honest answers to best support you and your journey
- practice awareness; try to notice when you have these thoughts and see where they’re really coming from. to take it a step further, you can use journal prompts to further explore and discover. I have more information about reflective journaling and 10 prompts to use, here
2. Disempowering Yourself
This ones hella sneaky. Personal disempowerment pops up in our language; in the words we use to describe ourself, our life, the way we see the world. A very common example of this is thinking in terms of what if. The second you allow yourself to explore other options apart from what your heart desires, you’re going to get caught up in the stories of what these possibilities could do or bring.
Think about it this way; if we’re planning a trip somewhere new and we’re not sure what to pack, we may do some research to see what has worked/not worked for others, we will think of potential situations in which we will need certain things, or we will think of what we can do in certain situations…. this prepares our minds to keep us safe.
Similarly, if you have been longing to start a project or travel or anything really, your brain will naturally start to think of potential situations in order to keep you safe. However, this isn’t to say you won’t be safe. Trust that you will be. Your ego just certainly doesn’t want to see you get hurt, or feel rejected, or feel bad about yourself. It’s just your pal looking out for you, except its that overly worrying friend that, no matter what situation, will without a doubt always find something to worry about.
Personal disempowerment can also be very apparent when we find ourselves comparing ourselves to others, hyping them up and putting ourselves down. Continuously consuming online and not spending very much time creating on our own. Allowing ourselves to become more caught up in other people than we are with ourselves, causes so much disconnection and in turn doesn’t allow us to support ourselves because we feel that these people we’re comparing ourselves to just have it soooo much better. We’re all human, we’re all on a similar playing field here; we all have ups and downs (but remember, most don’t post their downs). Take notice in your language; does it support you? or disempower you?
How to Overcome:
- be your own biggest cheerleader!
- try to be very aware of the language you use; is it supportive language?
- talk to yourself as you would your child; hype yourself up; treat yourself with gentle love
- again, journaling. write it alllll out, make room for the good stuff
3. Not Setting Clear Boundaries
Where my people pleasers at? At the time, you think it feels sooo rewarding to always be bending over backwards for other people, because you just genuinely love helping people out and making others feel happy. However, this behaviour is so self-damaging as you will be constantly pouring from a cup that you are emptying on your own. You might feel like you’re always available, you might feel like you have to step in and always help others with their life, their emotions, their situations; which please note, you don’t have to. When this comes from a place of “I have to make them happy or I feel bad or guilty”, you become stressed, you feel like you’re constantly giving with minimal to no return. On the flip side, when you approach this from a place of authentic love, your cup is genuinely full and you are actually happy to be of support and hold space for others. You don’t feel like it’s something you have to do, but you genuinely want to.
When you don’t have clear boundaries, you might feel like a doormat. You might say yes often, when deep down you really mean no. You might go against your own personal values in order to make others happy. You find yourself continually compromising. You hesitate to speak up about your personal needs. You allow others to distract or interrupt you. You adopt other’s beliefs in order to get along. You might become overly involved in someone else’s life. You might sacrifice your own personal health and/or wellness to meet someone else’s needs. You may feel overwhelmed, alone, depleted.
So, as expected it’s very challenging to be supportive of your own success when your boundaries are flexible and allow for these types of experiences.
When you create firm, healthy boundaries you commit to the decision to no longer make yourself a victim as you choose to be responsible for yourself and your personal success. This creates space to build self love and confidence. When you stay true to you, it’s much easier to grow and remain in tunnel vision where you are your number 1 priority.
How to Overcome:
- discover yourself; start from scratch! what are your personal values, beliefs, priorities, etc?
- stay true, even when it’s hard. stay supportive of yourself.
- learn how to respectfully say no, practice this often.
- trust your intuition. If you’re invited to do something and your first instinct says no, but you feel guilty.. take that as a great opportunity to remain trusting and practice saying no.
- stay strong in your boundaries. do not water down your needs – be very firm and clear in what you are communicating.
- reinforce your boundaries often – people may continually try to cross these; choose to become the model for what clear boundaries look like.
Always remember: if you don’t respect your own boundaries, other people will not respect them either.
4. Not Taking Responsibility/Accountability
When you are constantly waiting on other people, when you believe that things in life happen to you, when you believe that you have no control over your life, or are in a place of constant following – you likely aren’t taking responsibility. This means for your choices, your actions, your words, and behaviours.
Not taking responsibility or holding yourself accountable for your life is basically stepping our of the drivers seat but leaving the car in drive, and hoping something good will happen to it. Keep your power in your hands, you are in control of your choices, actions, words, and behaviours. You have a say in the direction of your life – YOU are in the drivers seat!
This is a hard pill to swallow. At least, it was for me. Let me tell you it was soooo much easier thinking that “it’s just how it is” or “it has to be this way” or “I have no control over my life”. Until I presented myself the opportunity of observing the lesson in everything. And I mean everything. This made me realize that life happens for me, not to me. If everything I’m presented with is a lesson, I’m bound to learn something that will help me move forward, or take on the next challenge. And this, THIS is so much easier. It’s peaceful, there’s nothing really to worry about. Just hear to learn and grow – and it’s all up to me.
How to Overcome:
- find the lesson in each obstacle or challenge you are faced with
- owning up to your power
- journal (again, see prompts)
5. Searching Externally
Looking outside of ourselves is indeed a self-sabotaging behaviour. When we’re on the constant search for the next new thing that once we have we’ll feel happy, we’ll feel better. This can happen in a variety of forms, often times not even noticing. It’s often a mindless agreement that is made. Thinking way back to seventh grade when MSN was a thing and it was sooo cool to be able to log on after school and talk with all your friends. My issue was I had some strict computer time at the age of 12, which preteen me was not quite happy about, and I remember thinking that once I can buy myself a laptop, I’ll feel like I fit in. I thought I’d feel cool. 1 year and $800 later ya girl bought herself a laptop and was still not as cool as I thought I’d be. Although that lovely purchase created my love of blogging so thank you 12 year old me.
Point being, everything we will ever need to feel happy, at peace, content; is within us. Less and less do you feel the need to ask others what is best for you, less and less will you let other people think that they know more about you than you do. This shift in mindset allows you to remain focused on all that you do have, instead of what you dont. And like I mentioned above, it’s certainly okay and resourceful to need things as a tool, but always check with yourself from what place the desire is coming from. Either a place of content, or a place of wanting/wishing.
How to Overcome:
- practice gratitude
- ask yourself for advice first
- be confident in your personal decisions
- trust that you know whats best for you
- ask yourself what you need
- give yourself what you need (love, care, etc)
The biggest key to overcoming each of these self sabotaging behaviours is self awareness, and self love. Forgive yourself, you’re probably always going to “mess up” or be forgetful in your routine or in your awareness and thats okay, it’s never too late to hit the reset button and start again. This awareness to overcome these isn’t a one and done type of scenario, it’s something you must remain consistent with in order to truly be able to move past them, and allow yourself to fall off the wagon every now and again without beating yourself up.
Turn your self sabotaging behaviours into self supportive behaviours – let me know which one is hardest for you to work through. I’d love to chat!
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