Self-sabotage is deliberately putting yourself in disadvantageous positions and stems from frustration with yourself, as well as with others. This could be at your job, your family, your personal relationships etc. It could be taking medications without completing the prescribed course. Or quitting an anxiety reduction strategy when it doesn’t work right away. You could be overworking yourself without adequate breaks. Whatever the case may be – you can’t punish yourself to manage your stress which is self-sabotage, and expect success. Believe me I’ve tried that myself. Don’t mistake tension for action and results. It’s just wasting time denying you from harnessing your deep talent and retarding your success. What benefit is gained from that?
“If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat
yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…”
― Cheri Huber
This form of self-sabotage not only prevents you from performing at your full potential, but also gives co-workers and customers an opportunity to think less of you, as an individual and professional.
All forms of self-hatred arise out of comparison, and the only way to stop self-hatred is to acknowledge your uniqueness and avoid trying to live to someone else’s judgement. Of course you should also be observant of societal norms with regards to interacting with others.
“There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see
when they are shown, those who do not see.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
It’s usually the people who have a highly unique outlook towards life, the pioneers of new thinking, who feel the most “out of place” because they don’t seem to fit in with the “herd mentality”.
This means that when you are on the cusp of a breakthrough, or being inspired towards following your dreams, not everyone around you will see the opportunity. In fact, be prepared to have no one around you see it, including friends and acquaintances. A pioneer by definition does something not yet done before. Accept this and follow your beliefs and convictions. How can you expect others to believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself? Start small and soldier on. If we all agreed with each other there’d be little to no room for growth for lack of an alternative point of view. Your greatest triumph could be waiting in the wings if only you’d persevere a little longer.
No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good.
Like gold or emerald or purple repeating to itself,
“No matter what anyone says or does, my task is
to be emerald, my color undiminished.””
— Marcus Aurelius
Fear may be useful in the short-term protecting you from dangers but it rarely makes allowances for your ability to grow and become stronger. For instance, our childhood fears often remain with us long after any there’s any reason to such as fear of clowns, creepy insects, rodents etc. To be sure there specific phobia associated with specific fears but these are rare in the general population. I learnt to desensitise myself from fear of clowns I first got from watching Stephen King’s horror movie “IT” by forcing myself to watch it alone a few times. It actually felt liberating feeling my fear dissipate every time.
In Robert Frost’s famous poem “The Road Not Taken” the narrative concerns a choice between two paths to take, resulting in two remarkably different outcomes in life. Mediocrity versus a life lived to fulfilment. So doubting and undervaluing yourself can keep you in relationships that constrain you, jobs that undervalue and exploit you rather than maximising your growth.
What different results could you expect if you took calculated risks and dared to push towards the edges of your present abilities as opposed to taking a timid approach? What feats could you achieve, what relationships would you have, and what wealth could you create? Inter-generationally, what inheritance would you leave for your children and grandchildren?
Ask better questions. Get better answers
– Tony Robbins
This is an area where your obsessive mind can be redirected to get you massive leverage and growth, rather than bemoaning your dissatisfaction with yourself. Approaching any challenge with an inquisitive mind will quickly yield options toward solutions.
Rather than dwelling on problems, aim at the outcomes you want. Remember, clarity of purpose is critical.
We can readily combine the concepts in this chapter with the strategies already identified earlier in this book. Implemented together with effort and commitment, these are extremely powerful and go a long way to conquering your self-sabotaging behaviours.
“When you need encouragement, think of the qualities the people around
you have: this one’s energy, that one’s modesty, another’s generosity,
and so on. Nothing is as encouraging as when virtues are visibly
embodied in the people around us, when we’re practically showered with
them.” – Marcus Aurelius
Be alert to and monitor, your internal dialogue. This is the internal self-talk such as “that’s too scary…” “this is too hard!!” Rather than continuing such a hopeless approach try rephrasing your internal dialogue. For example, “what can I do to master this skill?” and “This person got excellent results, how can I get a similar outcome?”. Rephrasing your internal dialogue will harness the power of your subconscious and conscious mind synergistically so they aren’t causing internal friction. Using the above approach will turn the tables and works to lock in on your preferred outcome like a guided missile.
I promise, if you do this right it can be literally life-changing!!
- Not everyone will understand your goals at the outset – and you’ll be cool with that
- Rephrase your internal dialogue eg “how can I achieve that….?”
- Clarity of purpose