If so, it is time to stop! Try treating yourself with kindness and see what happens.
We often consciously (or unconsciously) sabotage ourselves because we do not think that we deserve to be successful in life. We may have made mistakes in the past that we have been unable (or unwilling) to forgive. We may self-sabotage by habitually selling ourselves short, thinking that our goals and dreams are unreachable. We may discount our own internal resources – and deny our own personal strengths. We may unconsciously sabotage situations and relationships that are really good for us.
There are many different ways in which we self-sabotage. Some ways are much more overt than others. For example: We may have an addiction. We may get ourselves into abusive or codependent relationships. We may procrastinate. We may make excuses not to do things that are in our best interest. We may engage in defeating self-talk. We may even verbally abuse ourselves. We may rationalize our negative actions. We may defend our unacceptable behaviors. We may act out in an overly aggressive way. We may engage in people-pleasing to the extent of neglecting our own needs. We may participate in risky behaviors. We may purposely injure our bodies.
Self-sabotaging behaviors are at the tip of an iceberg of shame. Internal shame is at the root of these self-defeating behaviors. We think that we are undeserving. We then act in ways that create more shame – which further reinforces our feelings of unworthiness.
It’s a cycle. Shame leads to our sabotaging ourselves. Sabotaging ourselves leads to more shame. An effective way to break this vicious cycle, is to act as though we are worthy. We can start by asking ourselves, “What would a confident person who is full of self-compassion do in this situation?” Offer yourself a range of relevant-to-you responses. For example: Would they they get upset and eat an entire box of doughnuts? Stay in an abusive relationship? Numb out with alcohol? Refuse to eat? Blame others for one’s own unhappiness? Stay in a dead-end miserable job without exploring other options? Bully others? Verbally abuse oneself?
I’m sure you will agree that the answer is: “No. I don’t think so!”
There are a range of effective ways to break this vicious cycle of self-sabotage. Here are some ideas which people with a strong sense of self-worth might choose – so you should insist to yourself that you consider as options: You can consider getting professional help and treat an addiction. Stop blaming everyone else, and work on improving yourself! Form relationships with emotionally healthy people. Stop and challenge negative self-talk. Work on changing yourself rather than changing others. Exercise. Turn apathy into action. View yourself as a survivor and a thriver rather than as a lifelong victim.
Here again, we see the power of the cliché “Fake it until you make it.” By acting as if we are already where we want to be, we create our own reality. We puncture the shame that binds us. If you have been sabotaging yourself, you do not have to stay in this self-imposed prison. You can start by reflecting on your behaviors and identifying the patterns in your life that are not working for you. You cannot change what you will not acknowledge. Identifying the problem is the first step toward resolution. You get the snowball started.
When you treat yourself as worthy, you will make yourself feel more worthy. And the truth is …you really are worthy! You always have been!
(This blog post is an excerpt from the book, The Snowball Effect: How to Build Positive Momentum in Your Life by Kristin Barton Cuthriell, MEd, MSW, LCSW. Kristin has spent the last twenty-three years working as an educator and licensed psychotherapist helping people who suffer from anxiety, depression, relationship issues, low self-esteem, and difficult life transitions. She is the author of the book, The Snowball Effect: How to Build Positive Momentum in Your Life and the founder of the inspirational and educational website, www.thesnowballeffect.com. Click to find out more!
I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read this essay. Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these inspirational essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! xo Karen
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.