It can be frustrating when we are finding it difficult to achieve our goals or the lifestyle we want, but how often is the biggest obstacle to success ourselves? Many of us our guilty of self-sabotaging behaviour, whether it’s mental blocks we place on ourselves, refusal to break bad habits or making poor decisions which counter our happiness. Why do we self-sabotage and how can we stop being our worst enemy?
Most often when we think about why our careers, relationships and lives aren’t what we want them to be it can be easier to blame external factors such as other people or unexpected events as the reasons. Whilst you certainly can’t control every factor the most important one, and the one that probably requires a bit of reflection is ourselves.
Self sabotage can be a mental war between our desire to achieve and feel happy and feelings of unworthiness, fear of failure or change, or a need for the excitement of drama and chaos. It can take place in your work or studies through procrastination or shying away from taking the lead or applying for promotions.
It can be particularly damaging in relationships when people cheat, withdraw emotionally or physically, or pursue arguments out of fear of emotional investment and the possibility of getting hurt.
Often sabotage can come in the form of bad habits such as alcohol, drugs, smoking, gambling habits, uncontrolled anger or poor financial management. Consequences such as damaging your health, inability to work due to hangovers, frequently regretting your actions, financial debt and getting into arguments with employers, co-workers or loved ones can heavily compromise your happiness and ability to achieve.
Belief in popular myths such as “having it all” and “the one” can often leave us with unrealistic goals that ultimately blind us to the good things we do have and the opportunities around us. Disregarding a good relationship or a job we enjoy in the belief we can always one-up our lifestyle or they don’t fit our ideal plan can ultimately harm our potential happiness .
So how do we overcome self-sabotaging behaviours? First of all observe your behaviour and thought processes and notice where you may be acting out or shrinking away. Reflect on the reasons and the means through which you create roadblocks or make poor decisions then set about finding ways to counter these behaviours such as:
- Practising self love; feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth are often at the root of self-sabotage, learn to love the person you are and believe that you deserve happiness, love and success.
- Accept change and occasional failures are inevitable and not the enemy, use setbacks as an opportunity to re-evaluate your strategy or goals and successes as new adventures.
- Try not to think of success as one big end goal or a perfect life. Learn gratitude, appreciate the baby-steps on your journey and open yourself up to possibilities which may not fit into the plan you’ve created for yourself.
- Let go of your fears of intimacy. Don’t let the past hold you back from finding love and happiness, you can’t control or predict how things will work out, but realise that you are taking the risk together and the rewards often out way the possible negatives.