How Self-sabotage is Ruining Your Life (and 3 Ways to Defeat It)

I’ve often wondered what drives people to behave in ways that aim to mask vulnerability. A lot of times I see people projecting an image of success when overall life satisfaction is low. When I see that, I look for the self-sabotage behind it.

I love listening to people and I do it with an open heart. Connecting with authentic people has always given me positive energy because it allows my soul to blossom. I’ve learned things from both rich and poor people. I’ve learned things from children and adults. Oftentimes children can teach us so much, because they’re not caught up in this rat-race called life. Adulthood can transform the best of us into our own worst enemies.

We’ve created this rather unhealthy habit of focusing on what’s missing and consuming our energy. That solidifies our negative views of the world we live in. We’re never happy and there is always room for more. And when we come to have more, we want even more, without taking the time to really appreciate what we have.

Most of the time we think about how we can get even better, be more or have more. And this race turns us into runners and hoarders. That’s not to say that growth or having more is bad. On the contrary, developing yourself as a person and striving to have a rich life is a noble pursuit.

The real problem is when we start “enriching” our lives with problems, fears, frustrations and negative thoughts. We tend to cling to these negative habits for several reasons. The main reason is that it keeps us within the comfort zone.

A lot of times, self-sabotage can be “the easy way out” of a problem that you genuinely want to solve. Other times, it can occur because the people around you are toxic. They can influence your behavior without you even knowing it. Also, you might sabotage yourself because you want to grow, but you make unwise decisions in the process.

Let’s explore some methods to help you put an end to self-sabotage:

Focus on your accomplishments rather than your failures

It’s easy to put yourself down when you’ve failed in your endeavors. However, if you’ve learned from it, then the experience is a lesson, rather than a failure. Nobody was born an expert, and everyone had to go through failure and rejection before achieving success. Often, we get caught up in our own frustrations so much that it becomes hard to learn what life has been trying to teach us.

What can you do in such a situation?

Try to understand that there is no perfection and learn to accept that fact. Rather than looking back at your mistakes, try acknowledging your achievements. That will make you more conscious of your own value as a human being and it will help you see your strengths more clearly, so that you can use them to achieve more.

Mind your thoughts and avoid getting stuck

Really, how conscious do you think you are with your own internal dialogue? How many times have you found yourself in the middle of a negative internal monologue? Most of the times we don’t even realize just how cruel we can be with ourselves.

Negative thoughts are easy to hold on to, especially when life satisfaction is low. Unfortunately, positive thoughts don’t come if you don’t let them in and let negative vibes dictate your life.

What can you do to replace negative thoughts with positive ones?

Try to be more conscious of your own internal monologue. Maybe you will come to realize just how much of your time and energy you spend on self-loathing and self-criticism. The best thing that you can do is to look for the positive in any situation.

The car broke down?

Great! That way you can bike to work and get some exercise.

You’re sick this weekend? That’s OK. You can stay at home and focus on your hobbies.

You get the picture. It will be difficult to do so. At first, it might seem like total nonsense to be overly optimistic about a situation. Nevertheless, you won’t change if you’re doing the same things over and over again without focusing on results.

Learn to love…yourself

Dr. Kristin Neff is a strong advocate of “self-love,” describing it as a healthier way to relate to yourself. That is indeed true. Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is useful for your overall well-being. However, denying who you are deep down can lead to buried feelings and unresolved issues.

What actions should you take in dealing with negative emotions so that you come to love yourself?

Know that the feelings are there and simply take them as they are. Understand that it’s perfectly fine to experience negative emotions because they are part of human nature. If you ignore them, you will simply postpone the frustrations, which tend to surface when you least need them in your life.

It’s healthy to remind yourself that everyone goes through moments when the light at the end of the tunnel seems non-existent. That is just how you are feeling in the moment. Amanda Cole said something interesting which could be a mantra to live by when facing tough times: “I’ll be OK, just not today.”

Try to look for happiness within yourself. Search for experiences that make you feel fulfilled and that bring color to your life. Try to live in the present because that will help you build your future.

Author bio

Michael Schoeff is an entrepreneur with an affinity for human psychology and personal development. Follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter.

Feature photo by nick beswick on Unsplash

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