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Overcoming Self-Sabotage

"I can't get out of my own way!"
"I want to live large, but something inside me keeps me small!"
"I don't mean to do things that hold me back, but it keeps happening! Why?"

In order for us to move forward in our lives, toward the big goals we've set for ourselves, we need every facet of our being in good alignment. Our hearts, minds, and spirits need to work together to harness the energy required to manifest positive change.

But that's not always what happens, is it? Many of us carry limiting beliefs and doubts deep within us that work at cross purposes to our growth and development. These beliefs interfere with our acting in a clear direction, hijacking our behavior in moments of choice.

This is self-sabotage, and it's a common denominator in almost every person, including those who seek out a personal development coach. It's an insidious adversary, because it hides within us, and injects itself into our decision-making at the worst moments.

Close-up of pink and orange hibiscus flower. We aspire to nature's perfection by identifying and clearing self-sabotaging behavior

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Self-Sabotage : Some Examples

Self-sabotage patterns are subconscious, so we're often not aware when they act out. Yet we know something is amiss, so we make up excuses. Here are some ways that self-sabotage plays out:

  • Playing the "blame game": When something doesn't go well, and we fail to take responsibility for our part, we deny ourselves a chance to grow and learn. We also damage our relationships with others by blaming them unfairly.
  • Procrastination: When we put off until later what needs to be done today we're caving in to limiting beliefs about our abilities and worthiness. It's a self-perpetuating behavior born of fear: Fear of being judged harshly if we fall short, fear of the pain involved to address the issue at hand.
  • Difficulty speaking up for yourself and articulating your needs: "Go along to get along" is a useful strategy at times, but if it's your default response then it adds fuel to the (false) belief that you're not worthy. In time, this builds resentment and adds to our feelings of unworthiness.
Nature doesn't "do" self-sabotage!

Self-Sabotage: are there benefits?

Does self-sabotage have anything positive to teach us? Yes, absolutely! Self-sabotage defines and highlights the things we need to work on to grow and learn. Stopping self-sabotage requires a confrontation with inner demons that may torment us for years if we ignore them.

Clearing self-defeating beliefs creates a clean slate, and the space to replace it with courage and confidence. Moving forward toward our goals becomes easier. Let's send a bit of gratitude to our self-sabotage, because defeating it leads us into a better, healthier, and happier place.

Stopping Self-Sabotage

A typical reaction to self-sabotage is to resist it emotionally. Resistance, however, feeds the negativity so the key is not to resist but to disassociate from the emotional charge. That means creating a gap between the event (recognizing self-defeating behavior) and the negative feeling it generates.

Feelings expressed freely or welcomed dissolve the resistance that keeps them firmly stuck inside us. This helps us deal with self-sabotage symptoms in the short term, and with the root causes over the longer term.

Stopping Self-Sabotage: Treating the Symptoms with Ho'oponopono

Ho'oponopono, meaning "to make right", is a four-word mantra borrowed from indigenous Hawaiian culture: "I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you", recited to yourself or out loud in any order that resonates with you. Do this with feeling whenever the emotions of self-sabotage rise up, or when we recognize a self-defeating behavior.

Ho'oponopono feeds the positive emotions of humility, forgiveness, gratitude, and love. In this environment, negativity has no chance!

Self-sabotage does not occur in nature. Let's aspire to that ideal!

Stopping Self-Sabotage: Treating the Causes in Three Steps

This three-step process requires but a small commitment, and will work if practiced faithfully for at least 21 days. All that's needed is some kind of reminder (like a reminder app on your phone) that sparks a quick check-in, ten times a day.

At each check-in, identify the feeling, locate it in your body, and tag it as a mere program that's running inside of you:

  1. Ask yourself "on a scale of 1-10, with one being very low and ten being ecstatic, how am I feeling emotionally right now?" Because we all choose to feel good, let's use "8" as our benchmark.
  2. If you're feeling less than 8, then say to yourself "There it is. That's not me. That's a program." Localize where you feel it and how it feels: "I feel it *here*, and it feels like *this*".
  3. Then say: "Thank you for releasing that! I love you, I love you, I love you!"

If we're feeling equal to our better than 8, then say: "Thank you for expressing this! I love you, I love you, I love you!"

Why does this process work? It works because we are normally not aware of self-sabotage when we're doing it. The regular check-ins create, one small step by small step, a gap between what we're feeling and our reaction to the feeling. It promotes a sense of equanimity, which is the ability to observe our emotions without reacting to them, and increases our awareness and presence in the moment.

This allows us to move on from self-sabotage with courage and confidence!

Thanks to Achieve Today for devising this three-step process!

Rainbows symbolize growth and a return to happiness, free from worry and self-sabotaging patterns

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