Self-sabotage is when you prevent yourself from achieving goals by engaging in negative behaviors. It can rear its ugly head in many forms, from negative thinking and procrastination to drinking or using drugs excessively. It’s an unhealthy habit that forms easily and can be hard to break because most people aren’t aware they are engaging in it.
The first step in breaking this habit is recognizing that you’re doing it. Take time to think about how you talk to yourself. Do you constantly tell yourself you’re not good enough? It may not be clear at first, but when you have a thought about yourself, identify whether it’s positive or negative. If it’s negative, then decide if it was true or not.
For example, if you told yourself you shouldn’t apply for a job because you wouldn’t be good at it, ask yourself if it’s true because you don’t have the qualifications or if it’s because you are scared to get out of your comfort zone.
Another good indicator of a negative thought is to ask yourself if you’d tell a loved one the same thing. We often treat ourselves worse than we would a friend. Try to remember that when you start to think harshly of yourself. If you wouldn’t say it aloud to someone else, don’t say it to yourself.
It’s also good to dig deeper once you’ve learned to recognize a negative thought. Why did you have the thought? What will it cause you to miss out on? Why do you feel you don’t deserve to have that job? Once you realize what you’re missing out on by talking down to yourself, you may be less likely to do it.
Next, think about where that thought may have developed. Did someone in the past tell you that you aren’t smart or capable? Does that keep you from doing things like trying to advance your career?
It could simply be fear, which is a large motivator in self-sabotage. You may be scared to try because you don’t want to fail. Or maybe you don’t want to succeed because you think you don’t deserve it. It’s known as self-handicapping. You deliberately fail so you can control the outcome.
Another form of self-sabotage is procrastination. Many people put off things they don’t want to do because they don’t want to deal with being challenged. It takes them out of their comfort zone. It goes back to self-handicapping because completing the task at hand may mean failure or success, and someone with self-sabotage tendencies is scared of one or both.
The worst way to sabotage yourself is by developing an addiction. If you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, it will negatively affect other parts of your life. It will keep you from doing the things you may want to do, like being a good parent or moving up in your career. If you think you don’t deserve the things you want, then you seek out ways to feel better, even if they’re harmful. You have to take the first step in getting help by admitting that you have a problem. There are many rehabilitative options available. You can stop the cycle of self-sabotage so that you can become the person you want to be.
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