“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E. E. Cummings
We unknowingly sabotage our path to grow into who are were made to be when we worry about what others think when we grow and change. Self-limiting beliefs and self-sabotage are closely related.
I don’t know about you, but I think I might have an issue with self-sabotage. Partly this comes from the thought, “I don’t deserve more. I’m good where I am.” I am a huge fan of grateful contentment, but there are times when that contentment is used as an excuse to “be safe”. We really need discernment to know how God is working in us to grow us into something bigger.
As a recovering workaholic, I am super careful about not doing too much work that I don’t have time for the kids. And it has been great in these years when they are dependent on my husband and myself for almost every need. Absolutely no regrets.
But now that I look to the next 5 years (when 2/3 kids will be away for university and the third enters his teens), I am seeing a path that God is preparing my heart to be able to let go of any self-sabotaging thoughts that would limit my business and ministry.We unknowingly sabotage our path to grow into who are were made to be when we worry about what others think when we grow and change. #selfsabotage #selflimiting Click To Tweet
It’s actually been surprising how God has shed light on this in my mind and I know He preparing me for the years to come, whatever that brings.
When the word “self-sabotage” came into my mind, I also reflected on how a few of my health coaching clients in the past were not able to be consistent with their process goals even with all the tools at their disposal. I wonder if some self-sabotage played excuses in their minds and stopped them from continuing on their health journey.
If you sense that you may have patterns of self-sabotage, read on and I pray it will be helpful for you.
Here are some symptoms of self-sabotaging behavior:
- You don’t think you deserve good things in your life right now. You settle for good, not great.
- You immediately ponder about what could go wrong more than what could go right when offered a new opportunity.
- When things are going well, you agree with the voice in your head that says, “This is too good to be true. Something will go wrong soon.”
- You replay past mistakes in your mind and still feel bad in your stomach about it. You use that replay as a red light to stop yourself from trying anything new.
- You feel content but bored at the same time. You would rather remain bored and not try something new for fear of failure.
- You distract yourself with over-indulgence in food, shopping, entertainment, political news to avoid doing something that will add to get you closer to your goal.
- You distance yourself from healthy and nourishing relationships that can keep you accountable in reaching your goals.
Do you relate to any of the above – in any area of your life? In your walk with Jesus, fellowship with other believers, business, health, studies? We can be our worst critic and stumbling block, can’t we? What you say to yourself about yourself matters.
Why Do We Do this to Ourselves?
- You have not yet forgiven yourself for your past failures. When you cringe inside at the thought of a mistake you had made in the past, it may signal that you have not yet forgiven yourself or fully learned from your mistake.
- Closely related to the fear of failure is your need for control. New things will naturally introduce unknowns to your life. Some unknowns can be planned for, but most can catch us off guard while we are unprepared. And that is where you feel like you lose your sense of control. You then avoid any potential opportunities for progress and success.
- You somehow enjoy fulfilling your own doom-and-gloom prophecies about your life. When you apply to the principle of Murphy’s Law (i.e., everything that could go wrong will go wrong) to everything in your life, you will be anticipating that failure is just around the corner. When you do this, you cannot fully be grateful for the moment and be fully present in relationships. And so your personal and professional relationships suffer. Now because you are already convinced that you will mess up, when you are given feedback about your behavior, you would rather take a quick exit on a project or relationship than fix the problem.
- Past betrayals. You recall past relationships where you had sense of security, safety and trust, but suddenly were hit in the face with betrayal. You will find it hard to trust people and form new relationships. You convince yourself subconsciously that you will inevitably get hurt again and so avoid investing in authentic friendships altogether.
How to Overcome Self-Sabotage
- First and foremost, you need to identify if you are behaving in some form of self-sabotaging behavior as listed above. Think through and reflect on the possible causes.
- Learn from your past mistakes. Take time to review what went wrong and why with an objective perspective. Write down lessons you can learn from that experience. Highlight actions and thoughts that you will commit to not do again.
- Identify the heart of the problem: healing the hurts. What relationships hurt you in the past? Have you truly healed? What mistakes are chaining you to your past failures? Have you forgiven yourself? If not, what help do you need to help you process the past and move towards forgiveness?
- Reach out for help. This is the hardest one. When we self-sabotage, we never admit we need help and actually sabotage ourselves from getting help. We don’t think we deserve help and may even think it’s selfish. This derailing behavior will be the toughest to overcome, I want to encourage you that when you are able to go against habit of derail yourself, you will be on your way to finding your way to becoming who you were made to be. How exciting is that! You know you were made for more. Trust that instinct and tell someone that you recognize a pattern of self-sabotage. Whose face comes up? Why not message them right now.
I hope you will find the freedom from being a slave to self-sabotaging habits. May you have the courage to be your own encourager and if you believe in God, have the faith to believe what God says about you and what He can do through you. Surround yourself with those who believe the same.
- 10 steps to detect and stop secret self-sabotage. (2002).
- Boyes A. (2018). How to stop sabotaging yourself.