Understanding Self-Sabotage and How to Overcome It

Self-sabotage is a behavior that goes against our own goals and values, despite our own desires, dreams or values. It is often caused by low self-esteem, negative self-talk and related negative emotions, which are continually reinforced by the resulting failure. Procrastination is a common form of self-sabotage, as it is a way of showing others that we are never ready and we postpone a good result. This is because people fear disappointing others, failing or succeeding.

Self-sabotage can affect almost every aspect of our lives, whether it's a relationship, a professional goal, or a personal goal such as weight loss. It is an incredibly frustrating cycle of behavior that reduces our self-confidence and makes us feel trapped. The root cause of self-sabotage is often a lack of faith in oneself. We may choose to self-sabotage because we want something, but then fear that we will actually get it, that we can't handle it, and we ruin everything.

This could be getting a promotion, finding the perfect relationship, or starting a business. We may think that by sabotaging ourselves we can save ourselves from pain, shame, and disappointment. Self-sabotage can take many forms. For example, procrastination is often driven by fear of failure or success.

Maybe you're postponing that research paper because you're worried you won't write it as well as you expected. You know that writing it at the last minute won't help the quality, but it will give you control of that result because you chose to write it at the last minute. Stress eating after work is another example of self-sabotage behavior. If your alternative behavior to stress eating is eating a small, healthy snack instead of eating junk food, what could stand in the way of that new behavior? That's why Vision Boards can be so helpful in overcoming self-sabotage.

A vision board appeals to the right side of the brain that is more connected to its artistic and less rational side. Using images, sounds, scents, tactile material, etc., can help us communicate with our amygdala-driven selves. Recent research has confirmed that self-sabotage in the form of procrastination is emotional in nature. We may feel instant pleasure when we see ourselves in the trash and imagine another worse self-sabotage we could do and can't wait to do it. When we become aware that we are self-sabotaging, the critic's voice starts to hit us and shame takes hold of us and our thinking is distorted.

Our self-sabotage creates feelings of aversion towards ourselves, reinforces our low self-esteem and how we deserve the poor results of it. The reasons for sabotaging relationships are complex, but understanding the origins of sabotage is key to change. For some people, self-sabotage may have been learned in childhood due to being constantly criticized and belittled by parents or guardians. This can lead to subconsciously sabotaging relationships with people they really want to be with. Self-sabotage can also take more extreme forms such as eliminating a career or vice president position through self-sabotage. The key to overcoming self-sabotage is understanding its origins and developing strategies to counter it.

This could include developing healthier coping mechanisms for stress such as eating a small healthy snack instead of junk food or engaging in activities such as yoga or meditation. It's also important to practice positive self-talk and build up your self-confidence so you don't feel like you need to sabotage yourself in order to protect yourself from pain or disappointment.