Have a look at the following scenario:
You have an important meeting coming up. You know you need to do some additional research to impress the clients. But, simultaneously, you have a nagging belief that there’s no way you’ll do well in the meeting. And so, you don’t put in the effort. Finally, as the day of the meeting arrives, you are underprepared, and your boss notices it. In the hearts of hearts, you tell yourself, ‘I knew this would happen’.
When you get in the way of your success in a repeated fashion, it can be a sign of self-sabotage. Unfortunately, we are unaware of our self-sabotaging behaviors, which happen in many life situations. As a result, it can harm/ affect our mental health in numerous ways.
Well, the good news is that we can overcome our self-sabotaging behaviors and even prevent them from happening in the first place!
In this blog, we will discuss self-sabotage, how to identify it, and the tips to overcome it. Self-sabotaging is a grave concern, especially for today’s generation. So, without further ado, let’s commence our discussion!
What is Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotage can either happen consciously or unconsciously, therefore negatively impacting your goals and well-being. At its core, self-sabotage involves any behavior and attitude that doesn’t align with your personal values and interferes with your capability to achieve your life goals.
We all do specific things and commit mistakes that come in the way of our success, but self-sabotage is a pattern of behaviors, actions, and thoughts that creates ongoing problems, preventing you from moving forward in life.
So, self-sabotaging behaviors are self-defeating, like procrastination, negative self-talk, avoidance of people or situations, etc. As a result, people experiencing it tend to undermine their efforts to create the life they want.
Thus, self-sabotage turns problematic when their behavior becomes a habit that they don’t even realize that they are being negatively affected.
What Is Self-Sabotaging Behavior?
Self-sabotage is the consequence of faulty conditioning of your subconscious mind. This programming creates self-sabotaging thoughts and gives rise to negative beliefs and behaviors.
So, here is a list of self-sabotaging behaviors that you must know!
- Poor Work Life
- Lack of clarity
- Poor performance
- Blocked creativity
- Chronic stress
- Burnout at work
- People Pleasing Attitude
- Being too nice
- Going along with other person’s agenda
- Rarely expressing your feelings
- Feeling to give an explanation for every action
- Avoiding criticism & feedback
- Seeking approval from everyone
- Fear of rejection
- Inner Passivity
- Avoiding responsibility
- Feeling oppressed
- Being financially dependent on others
- Relying on others to make you happy
- Having no purpose in life
- Low Self-Esteem
- Having limiting beliefs
- Envying others
- Feeling unworthy
- Lying/ cheating
- Lack of self-respect
- Having insecurities
Causes Of Self-Sabotaging Behavior
Where does self-sabotage come from? Here are the causes of the same!
- Faulty Thinking
Our brains are wired to cling to familiar risks and to avoid trying new methods. This tendency leads us to overvalue the things we know and undervalue unfamiliar things. This is the fault in the perception.
It can be challenging to tell your brain whether it’s thinking right or wrong. In such a scenario, it is best to make crucial decisions when you are not stressed and consider the pros and cons of every choice. This will give you mental clarity, and you will be able to make better decisions.
- Fear of Rejection
If the fear of rejection is intense in an individual, it is better to mindfully allow your insecure feelings to be there while actively working to find healthy and mature ways of discussing them instead of avoiding people.
You need to remind yourself that you are mature and have the ability to tolerate stress and rejection. Moreover, it is also recommended to be self-aware and to notice the effects of behavioral patterns on your happiness.
- Procrastination & Avoidance
Procrastination & avoidance is the third leading cause of self-sabotage. You might not have the skills to break the tasks into smaller pieces, or maybe you are just too tired to try.
You may also procrastinate because you are a perfectionist, overthink things, and may not know where to begin. To overcome this situation, having a growth mindset is essential.
A growth mindset makes the possibility of failure less scary. In contrast, if you see your ability as fixed, you are more likely to avoid performance situations or sabotage yourself so your shortcomings won’t be exposed. Thus, having a growth mindset helps you avoid procrastination and do things better!
Tips To Stop Self-Sabotage
Self-sabotage isn’t an inherent part of your life, nor does it define who you are. Thus, it is possible to stop self-sabotage with self-improvement. Here are some tips for the same!
- Boost Your Self-Awareness
Spend time in self-observation to increase your self-awareness. For instance, you can try journaling regularly to document your behavioral patterns and see if you can recognize where they are coming from. Pause at times throughout the day to check in with yourself. As you begin knowing yourself, you can become more intentional & deliberate about where you need to make certain changes.
- Make Minor Changes
Positive action beats self-defeating action, but remember that habits can be effectively changed in small steps. Think in terms of making incremental change. For instance, replace one thought of behavior every day and give yourself some time that can help you change a habit.
- Befriend Yourself
The inner critic is a main factor underlying self-sabotage; thus, replacing self-critical thoughts with more nurturing ones is a vital step in self-sabotage. So, developing a gentle, accepting attitude towards yourself by acknowledging your emotions & accepting your mistakes is critical to prevent yourself from self-sabotage.
- Know & Embrace Your Strengths
Everyone has several strengths and shortcomings. But to stop self-sabotage, one should focus on their strengths rather than weaknesses.
So, ask yourself:
When do you feel confident, happy, and satisfied? Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and finding ways to use them can help you inculcate self-love, which is highly crucial in the present times.
- Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness involves being wholly present and grounded in the moment. It will help you separate the past from the present and thoughts from reality. As a result, you will be able to respond better to a stressful situation or person.
- Seek Professional Help
A therapist can guide you toward a more profound self-consciousness. They also offer tips and strategies for facing down self-sabotaging thoughts and finding ways to boost self-love and self-care. Thus, seeking professional help will make you feel comfortable and begin the process of transforming your life. Here are some types of self-sabotage therapies:
- Behavior and motivational therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Mindfulness-based therapies
- Strength-based therapies
Self-sabotage isn’t a character flaw. It is nothing more than a set of behavioral patterns arising out of fear and negative beliefs that are preventing you from accomplishing your goals in specific areas of life.
To prevent the negative effect of self-sabotaging behaviors, it is vital to be patient with yourself and reach out for professional help if you think the situations are out of control. Remember – the life you envision is within your reach!