Here's how to stop all that self-sabotage
Do you repeatedly find yourself in situations that you could have avoided, or trapped in patterns that end up creating problems for you? An assignment you should have completed a week ago but you kept pushing because “there was still time”, or a business you didn’t start because you thought you couldn’t run it only to realise way later that you actually can do it?
If this sounds relatable, you could be sabotaging yourself. This means that there are behaviours or thought patterns that hold you back and prevent you from doing what you had intended to do. Self-sabotage can either be conscious or unconscious. Here are some ways you could be doing it.
Blaming Others When Things Go Wrong
If you tend to find fault anywhere and from anyone else but yourself when something bad happens, you are letting the opportunity to learn and grow from your own mistakes slip by.
Putting Yourself Down
Do you set higher standards for yourself than you do for others? Are you always willing to support and encourage your friends but neglect or give yourself harsh feedback? This negative monologue can become your biggest obstacle.
“I’ll do it later” is the common mantra for procrastinators. Recent studies suggest that people often regret the things they didn’t do more than those that they actually did. When you procrastinate, you waste precious time that you could have used to do something meaningful.
Trouble Speaking up for yourself
If you have a hard time stating your needs or cannot stand up for yourself, you might be self-sabotaging. Imagine yourself on a queue to board a matatu to work and you’re running late. Someone walks from behind and cuts in front of you. Out of fear, you don’t speak up so they board the bus and you have to wait for another one. As a result, you get to work late.
Here is how you can stop the sabotage:
Understand the need your self-sabotage fills
This is the first step to taking full control of your life. For instance, if you want to stop procrastinating, you need to compassionately understand that it helps you avoid fear of failure. Therefore, do not be too tough on yourself because that in itself is another form of self- sabotage. You need to be compassionate.
Identify Alternative Behaviours
After you understand what needs the self-sabotage fills, the next step is to develop alternative healthy behaviours. You could find alternative behaviours through research, preferably with individuals who were once in your situation but have since conquered the negative habit.
Tolerate uncomfortable feelings
In order to form any new habit or set of behaviours, you have to be able to tolerate discomfort—especially emotional discomfort that you feel when trying to let go a certain behaviour. For instance, if you feel sad that you cannot have your regular serving of junk food, practice going without it for small blocks of time as you build tolerance.