I have been debating for the past few days if I was going to write about this topic because it is something that I am dealing with a lot lately. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it or not. I have been at war with myself. Trying to be my authentic self and less of who I used to be. As a result I have been doing a lot of self-sabotaging behaviors. I know it has to do with the fear of living differently. Sabotaging myself is not something I am proud of, but I am learning how to recognize when I am doing it. I decided to write about this topic because I know I can not be the only one that experiences self-sabotage.
According to Healthline, self-sabotage is “behavior or thought patterns that hold you back or prevent you from doing what you want to do.” We all have goals and dreams that we want to accomplish, but sometimes life experiences cause us to think that we are not good enough for the dreams and goals we have. Often, we revert to old behaviors that were helpful at one point but no longer served the new level you are at in life.
Some of the types of self-sabotage:
- Trouble Stating Your Needs
- Learned as a Child
These are some of the types of self-sabotage and some of the most common.
At some point, most of us have procrastinated, but it becomes a problem when it is used extensively for the avoidance of life. Procrastination, coupled with a fear of failure and putting yourself down, is when it becomes self-sabotage. Sometimes the reason someone procrastinates on the things that they need to do is that they have been told they are not good enough and over time may have believed what someone said about them.
“Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they are going to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”
— Will Smith
I know for me, I was told so many times in school from my friends and family that I am not going to amount to anything. I heard it so much that I begin to believe it. Even though it happened a long time ago, I am still dealing with the effects. I find it hard to do certain things that I have a passion for because if I do and fail, everyone was right, so I have way try.
Trouble Stating Your Needs
I know that stating needs may not sound like it is a form of self-sabotage, but when I thought about it, I can see how it can be. I see it as a way to take away from your growth. When you are working on yourself, and you are making progress, it is a great thing, but if you are not able to state your needs, then it will cause you to start eating away at your progress, and you start falling back into old non-helpful coping skills.
I know for me, stating my needs is a battle, and it is rare that I express my needs. I prefer to deflect. My whole life, I have been told to be strong, not to show weakness, and don’t talk about your personal life. It becomes self-sabotage when I can’t admit that I need help. It starts to create conflict with the old me and who I am trying to become. It leads to self-sabotage because my working on myself takes a back seat, and then I am led to the bumpy road of depression that could have been avoided by saying what I need.
Learned as a Child
Reverting back to negative coping skills is an easy way to fall back into self-sabotaging behavior, in my opinion. It requires you to stay present to recognize the behavior. When you are growing as a person, it can be challenging to not self-sabotage because the old actions can feel like they are hard-wired to who you are, but the truth is behaviors are soft-wired. The more that you challenge the behavior by making positive steps, it will allow you to change. It is important to remember that we are an ever-changing people that evolve.
Control is not one that I like to admit to being a problem for me, but it is. I have spent most of my life feeling like people are controlling me. I had people in my life tell me who I was so much that I learned to hold myself to meet other people’s expectations. For example, if someone says you always do this I go back to the behavior because I feel like I need to be that person no matter how much I change. Giving up my control of who I am trying to become to the others is self sabotage.
I was in Bible study, and one passage I thought related to self-sabotaging was Proverbs 6:6-11 were some of the verses we were studying, and it made me think about the lesson we are supposed to learn from the ants. I realized that the ant doesn’t let anything rule its life. When it comes to life, we don’t have to let the experiences in the past dominate our present and future. The second half of the verses are a reminder that anything that you allow to have power over you will end up robbing you of where you are supposed to be and the person that you are meant to be. We can’t let old behaviors stop us from being the amazing person we’re growing into.