By Michele Knight
This article requires reading with a big dose of personal honesty and courage because I am going to ask you a very confronting question: Have you ever been guilty of self-sabotaging behaviour in either a relationship or your career – or maybe even both? If you’re now in the process of sticking your hand up – well done. Admitting that you may have done something to deliberately derail the happiness train when everything was going in the right direction is the first step towards freeing yourself from the trap of self-sabotage forever.
Recognising what we are doing is only half the solution however. To really break the pattern of self-sabotaging behaviour we need to get to the bottom of why we are doing this in the first place. And here comes the shocking truth: we self-sabotage to protect ourselves! There’s a part of ourselves that is pre-programmed to kick into action when we fear we may be hurt and this part of ourselves is very primal. It’s like the ‘fight or flight’ instinct that has helped the human race survive until now. There’s no logic to it which is why when we self-sabotage we end up doing things that hurt ourselves and often other people in the process. Thousands of years ago, this part of us would kick-in when we felt we were in a situation where we could be physically hurt or killed. Nowadays however, it is more likely to surface when we subconsciously believe we are in a situation we can’t cope with on an emotional level. Yes, we have gone to the trouble to consciously attract that perfect partner or that dream job, but right when we do, our faulty protective instinct surfaces with messages such as ‘You know you can’t handle emotional pain. What will you do if s/he leaves you?’ or ‘You know you’re not really qualified to do this job. It was a fluke they hired you and it won’t be long until they see that or you crack under the pressure’. This is the point where we sabotage ourselves so we don’t ever have to face that particular scenario – we get ourselves out and away, pushing away the other person so they leave us or else resigning from the job before they discover how ‘useless’ we are, so we don’t have to face the pain of rejection.
These kinds of fears stop us from taking the loving action we need to take to ensure our happiness in the long term. The key to understanding why we are sabotaging lies in seeing the thoughts we have as false beliefs about ourselves. Judging ourselves as unworthy or ‘not good enough’ is usually the main one. To break this pattern – when you find yourself judging yourself, ask your higher self for the soul-truth about you. Chances are it will give you another, more positive definition.
Let go of outcomes. Very often we jump too far ahead imagining things that we fear will happen but probably never will. If you find yourself doing this stop and bring yourself back to the moment. Then be grateful for things the way they are right now.
Re-frame past mistakes and failures as learning experiences. Look at what you learned from the situation then congratulate yourself on having learned the lesson on a soul level. Know that you have grown and are unlikely to make the same mistake again. Therefore, you will have a different outcome this time.
Hunt down your roles and pattern. If you have been hurt a lot you might have survival techniques that unwittingly keep you in your past. If you feel or act like a victim the ‘pay off’ is usually a lot of support and comfort from friends and family. Be careful if you find yourself constantly finding comfort in friendships which encourage this role as it will only keep you dis-empowered. It is easy to put ourselves and others into roles in relationships like a victim, persecutor but relationships are usually much more complex. EMBRACE your creator self and know that you can create any life you choose.
Be kind and compassionate towards yourself and what you are feeling. If you are feeling fear that you will lose someone or be unable to cope with the demands of a successful career, acknowledge this and be gentle with yourself. Step back a moment and ask yourself how you would act and what you would say if a friend was confessing the same fears and insecurities? Chances are you would be supportive and then talk them through it, giving them examples of their strengths and all they’ve got going for them. You need to practice doing this for yourself.
When it comes to relationships, very often we can fear losing our identity or being engulfed by the other person as well as the fear that when they get to know the ‘real’ us they won’t want us. By becoming our own best supporter we affirm we are lovable just the way we are. Also, if fear of losing the person is behind the sabotaging behaviour, you need to remind yourself not only of your lovability but the fact you have got this far without them! When your relationship with yourself becomes the most important one, you will always act in your own best interests and no longer fear losing someone as you can’t lose your most important connection – the one you have to YOU.
Just by being aware of what it is that triggers the self-sabotaging behaviour and applying these simple soul-saving tips, you can move out for the self-sabotage trap and into the happiness and success you deserve.