Since working as a hypnotherapist, this is something that I come across on a regular basis. So many people are not able to achieve their goals and dreams because they are afraid of failure or success. Self-sabotage is basically the conflict between the conscious and sub-conscious parts of our mind which we ourselves can be unaware of.
Why Do We Sabotage Our Own Success?
One of the major reasons that we do this is because we don’t feel good enough or we don’t believe we are deserving of success. Low self-esteem and self-confidence are often at the root of this damaging behaviour. We can feel unworthy for many reasons, some of which may come from our childhood, others from life events and the people we have been involved with along the way. Marisa Peer (a leading, world-renowned therapist) has dedicated much of her work to making people feel that they are enough and even has clients write the phrase, ‘I am enough’ on their bathroom mirror as she believes this one phrase can change their lives.
Another reason, is that we all have what is known as our ‘comfort zone’. One of the main functions of our brain is to keep us safe, and to do this it tries to keep us where we feel most comfortable. Anything that takes us out of this zone is deemed to be dangerous and harmful as initially it can involve feelings of fear, stress and uncertainty. The brain doesn’t like change and will put all sorts of things in the way to stop us from feeling this discomfort. Have you ever tried to make that business phone call, or go to the gym, when suddenly getting the ironing done seems incredibly urgent? This is your brain saying, ‘Don’t do that, you could actually get that client, or become fitter and healthier and this could lead to more change, you could get hurt. Stay as you are, its safe and we know exactly what to expect with no surprises’.
Jump out of your comfort zone
Strangely enough, self-sabotaging behaviour can also be a form of control. If we don’t go for anything then we can’t fail at anything. We want to protect our ego at all times. We have all used excuses like not having enough time or money to stop us from doing something that is in our best interest. We say things like, ‘No wonder I didn’t lose any weight, I’m just too busy with work to cook properly or go to the gym’. It’s a ready-made excuse that makes us feel better. It stops us from having to actually try at something because if we fail then, it must be because we’re just not good enough!
We all have a very powerful image of ourselves that has been created over the course of our life time, and this self-perception subconsciously dictates how we think, feel and behave. For example, someone might see themselves as working class, and therefore will behave in a way that fits in with this image. This is why, even when something drastic changes, like a lottery win, we often see winners spend and lose all their money in a short space of time, and end up in the exact situation they started from. My own perception was that I couldn’t make a lot of money and that I needed someone to look after me financially. At one point, it seemed ridiculous that I could start my own business and be successful, and it has taken a lot of deliberate work to change these deeply rooted beliefs and ideas – but it can be done.
Signs That You Are Sabotaging Yourself
- You give up when things get challenging
- You get overwhelmed by all the options
- You allow yourself to be easily distracted
- You rarely take action
- You beat yourself up on a regular basis
- You procrastinate
- You worry about what others will say
- You make excuses
- You ignore your intuition
Do something today that takes you out of your comfort zone. Don’t over think it – just do it.