The Unfortunate Art of Self Sabotage

There is a fine line between timing and sabotage.  Sometimes things have not worked out in my life because the timing was just not right, and other times because I have full on prevented things from happening by sabotaging them and blaming it on timing.

Sabotage can be a lot more subtle than you’d think.  According to an article in the Scientific American some of the “most common forms of self sabotage are procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol or interpersonal conflict.”

Before I dissect these a wee bit, I encourage you to think about something that you want in life.  Maybe it’s even something that you’ve wanted for awhile.  What has prevented you from getting there?  Be honest with yourself.  This is not an exercise in beating yourself up, but getting to the root of what holds you back.

Procrastination is an obvious one for many of us.  But it’s not enough to just say we procrastinate.  Start paying attention to what you do when you procrastinate.  This will allow you to redirect yourself when you are starting to veer off course again.  For instance, do you take a break and go into the fridge and/or pantry and eat it’s entire contents, and then need a nap from carb overload, and then realize your afternoon was gone?  No?  Just me?  If you find yourself saying, “where did the day go?”  really look at where it went, by examining what you did.  For other folks it’s TV or Netflix, or cleaning the house top to bottom etc.

If you are tempted to glaze over the alcohol and drugs suggestion, don’t overlook it just because you aren’t an addict.  While limiting yourself to one or two drinks may seem responsible, is it the best idea when you are trying to work towards a goal? When you have one or two drinks, it can initially act as a stimulant but before long turns into a sedative.  Rumor has it, it’s hard to get stuff done when you are asleep.

Interpersonal conflict is an interesting one.  It’s a great scape goat.  You can start a ridiculous argument or allow yourself to enter one, which becomes a distraction, verbal shots get fired, and then you can blame the other person from preventing you from a achieving your dream.  Scape goat.

So what is self sabotage all about?  I think it’s about fear.  Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being discovered as a fraud.

When I was asked to give the presentation about self care to my entire organization, a lot went through my head, but mostly “who do I think I am?!?”  I don’t have copious degrees, I’m not “published,” and I’m certainly not an expert.

My self sabotaging language was mostly centered around fear that people would realize I’m a “fraud.” So, now I have discovered if that if I start going down the “I’m a fraud” rabbit hole, I am simply self sabotaging my dreams instead of working towards them.  I hope that in the future I will be able to gently redirect myself.

Remember fear is actually a good thing, (as long as you are not in any actual danger).  It means you are daring to push yourself and step outside of your comfort zone and EVOLVE.

There’s an oldie but goodie book out there called, “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers.  I HIGHLY recommend this book if you need a PUSH.  I want to end with something she writes about fear because they are excellent reminders as you work towards your goal(s):

Five Truths About Fear

1.) The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow

2.)The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.

3.) The only way to feel better about myself is to go out…and do it.

4.) Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I am in unfamiliar territory, so is everyone else.

5.) Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

You’ve got this.

Take care of YOU.




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