What is self sabotage?
Self sabotage is the program that kicks in every time we’re trying to do something to change our life. For example losing weight or getting into a relationship. We don’t understand why we do that to ourselves. Oftentimes we blame ourselves for doing this dance of one step forward, three steps back. We really do want that relationship, we really do want to lose weight. So then why do things to undermine our progress? We hate this self-sabotage behavior because we think it is preventing us from getting what we want. Therefore most people fight it!
If you have done that yourself, I want to ask you: how successful have you been at fighting it?
Chances are not very successful right? That is because if you use willpower to fight it, willpower resides in your conscious mind, which represents about 10% of your mind, and you are fighting against a mechanism that resides in your subconscious mind, the other 90%. So you have 10% of your mind fighting against 90%. Well we know who wins this battle, don’t we?
What we resist, persist. What we fight we give more energy to. Behind self sabotage there is in reality a protection mechanism that is trying to protect you from experiencing a pain based on projection of the past.
Typical example is: you have been deeply hurt in a past relationship and that hasn’t been healed, you may consciously want to go into a new relationship but unconsciously you don’t because of fear of being hurt again. So you may do things to sabotage yourself, even without realizing it. You may keep yourself so busy with work/life that you don’t have time for dates.
Another example with weight loss with the story of Stephanie (her name was changed to protect her privacy). Stephanie desperately wanted to lose weight. It wasn’t for vanity reasons but more so for health reason as the excess weight was causing pain in her body. She tried every diets and exercise programs possible but the weight would always come back. After some self-discovery work, she remembered something her mother had said to her a while back. Her mother once said to her “Don’t change. I like you like that. You remind me of when I was your age.” The part of her that was craving mom’s love associated the weight with having mom’s love. Losing the weight would equal losing mom’s love. And that wasn’t an acceptable outcome!! Therefore the part of her that was craving mom’s love sabotaged her every time she attempted to lose weight.
From the outside it doesn’t make sense why she would do that. But remember those parts are not as mature as our rational adult self. They are powerful though because they reside in our subconscious. When they get triggered they highjack us and take the wheel.
So now what do we do about this?
The first step to change is awareness. The second is understand of the program that creates the behavior.
Below are 6 powerful questions that will help you identify your specific program of self sabotage. You may choose to journal your answers.
1/ What would happen if I were to have that?
Identify any subconscious fears you may have. Once it becomes conscious you can deal with them more easily.
2/ What would I lose if I were to have that?
The change you want to create may involve giving up something. For example, if you put yourself out there and share your message, you have to give up being being “safe” by being invisible.
3/ Who would I become if I were to have that?
If you want to become wealthy but have negative beliefs about wealthy people – for example, wealthy people are crooks – the self-sabotage program will undermine your effort in order to prevent you from becoming a crook.
4/ Whose love will I lose if I were to have that?
As in the example of Stephanie, we are so used to playing certain roles in our relationship dynamics that we fear being rejected if we stop playing those roles.
5/ What do I gain from not achieving that or not having that?
What’s the secondary gain or hidden benefit of not achieving our goals? Really be honest with yourself about what you’re gaining from not achieving your goal 🙂
6/ What would I avoid by staying where I’m at?
Maybe you will avoid having to face certain aspects of you or having to learn certain skills you need in order to achieve what you want to achieve…
Once you have identified the positive intention of the self sabotage mechanism, then you can elicit it’s cooperation in helping you achieve what you want. Maybe there is some forgiveness for past actions (either self or others) and some stuck emotions to release.
I would love to hear about the insights you gained about your specific self sabotage program. Please leave me a comment down below to share your answers with me.