This week’s topic is one I am intimately familiar with. I used to be the master of self sabotage.
For me, the main way I would undermine myself was procrastination. Full disclosure: I’m still really good at it. Add in executive function issues because I’m neurodiverse, and it can still be an uphill battle some days to get things done. But now it’s almost always the executive dysfunction and not me trying to cut my own legs out from under myself.
Let’s talk about what self sabotage can look like. It’s a pretty straightforward concept, but it’s surprising to me how many people are unaware they do it.
It looks like not writing an important essay for a class until the night before. Sacrificing your precious sleep, and not doing as great of a job on it as you could have if you’d given yourself more time. All the while stress is flowing through your veins, causing anxiety and actual health repercussions down the road.
It looks like talking yourself out of applying for a job you would love and be perfect for, because you’re sure you’d bomb the interview anyway.
It looks like turning down a promotion because “it would be too stressful”, when in reality you don’t think you deserve the recognition.
It looks like not talking to your crush because they’re too good for you.
It looks like starting fights with your partner, because deep down you don’t feel worthy of their love and you’re trying to make them break things off.
It looks like all this and more. I’m sure you can find examples in your own life that fit the bill.
All this comes back to feeling unworthy. Unworthy of the “A” you could get on your paper, or the dream job, or the dream partner.
Without addressing those feelings of unworthiness, you will never conquer self sabotage.
I know I know, never is one of those definitive words I tell you not to use. But in this case, it’s appropriate.
You’ve got to do the work to overcome self sabotage or it will continue.
Sit down with yourself. Find a quiet, peaceful time to do this. Turn on some soothing music if you like and really sit with the question “Why?”
Why do you not want that easy “A”? Are you afraid of what your peers will think? Are you afraid you won’t be able to do it every time, so it’s best to keep expectations low so as to not disappoint?
Why do you think you would bomb the interview? Do you get really stressed out in interviews and don’t know what to say? What if you had a friend practice with you? Would that help alleviate some of your performance anxiety?
Why do you think you’re not deserving of recognition at work? Do you find the work really easy, and feel like a fraud because it comes so naturally? Do you have a work friend that also wanted the promotion and you’re afraid to rock that boat? Do you think you’d fail in front of everyone? Why would you fail instead of succeed?
Why wouldn’t you be worthy of your crush’s affections? Are you afraid they’d reject you and you don’t think you could handle that? Why is rejection so difficult for you?
Why do you want your partner to leave you? Would that fulfill a personal narrative of everyone abandons you, and in a perverse way, that feels safer than being loved?
Get out that trusty journal and freewrite. Write down anything and everything that comes through. Write until there’s nothing left to write.
Then read through and contemplate what you had to say. Where can you rewrite the stories you tell yourself? Where can you show yourself some love and compassion?
Once is not enough. You need to make this work a regular practice. Healing takes time and effort.
But you can do this.
If you’re ready to do the work, but don’t know where to start, my Reset Your Mindset program is perfect for you! In this program, I introduce you to the fundamental steps of Shadow Work and Mindset shifting – from catching your inner critic in the act to reprogramming your limiting beliefs.
Click here to schedule a time talk!