6 Ways You Might Be Self-Sabotaging.

Get out of your own way.

Save yourself from yourself.

Self-sabotaging occurs when we come in the way of our own dreams and goals, whether consciously or otherwise. The problem with self-sabotaging however is not just the act in itself, but the fact that we are often unaware that it is occurring.

It’s basic human nature to constantly look out for one’s self. The fact is most of the time, you are your very own best friend. However, at the same time, and often without even realizing it, you can be your own nemesis. We sometimes unconsciously get in the way of achieving the very goals we set for ourselves. This simply put is self-sabotage.

Why you self-sabotage?

There are several reasons why we self-sabotage, from a lack of self-worth to the fear of change or of failing, in the same manner, we might have failed before. Self-sabotaging often occurs when we are faced with a change or a new challenge in our lives.

We often chalk off some of our quirks as harmless bad habits, like biting your nails when you are nervous or afraid for example. But these 6 seemingly harmless habits, might be signs that you are self-sabotaging. Recognizing these habits, and learning how to curb them will help you save yourself from yourself.

  1. Being overly self-critical.
    Self-criticism in healthy doses is necessary for your personal growth. However, the problem arises when you cross over the rather thin line of simply being self-critical to self-loathing. While self-criticism encourages healthy and positive mental and personal growth, self-loathing stunts this growth. It pulls you into a deep dark hole of depression that is often hard to crawl out from.
  2. Self-Isolation.
    A strong and reliable support system, whether it’s family or friends is the backbone of every successful person. Self-isolation can easily be confused with introversion. While the introvert cherishes their alone time, they don’t completely do away with the people in their lives. Self-isolation, on the other hand, involves you consistently hacking away at the strings that connect you to the family and friends that make up your support system.
  3. The inability to let go.
    The ability to let go and move on, especially of negative feelings and past failures is often taken for granted. Failing to let go of these emotions, anchor you down, stunting your personal growth.
  4. Procrastination.
    The Nike slogan ‘just do it’, is the most suitable advice one can give procrastinators. Putting off what may seem like little tasks, over a period of time usually ends with you letting go of a bigger goal, those little tasks were unknowingly leading up to.
  5. Getting stuck in your comfort zone.
    Although there is nothing wrong with playing it safe, and colouring carefully within the lines of your life, you find that it often leaves little room for real growth. Failing to leave your comfort zone often leaves you stuck in a rut, that sometimes take several years to become aware of. It’s the reason you stick with a job you hate for several years or fail to cut off ties with your partner in a bad relationship.
  6. The obsessive need to take control. 
    Having a strong personality, can sometimes drive an obsessive impulse that makes you feel the need to have to take charge of everything in your life. Including the things, you can’t possibly have any control over or things best handled by someone else. Knowing when to let go of the reigns of control and delegate the power to someone else who is most likely to handle it better is very important in saving yourself from self-sabotage.

Saving Yourself

Now that you recognize some of the harmful habits than cause you to self-sabotage. The real question remains, what can you do about it?

Take a step back and observe yourself through the eyes of a stranger. How many of these habits and other negative habits which might be related to them resound a little too well with you? Why do you think they do so? It could be the failure of a past business venture or the aftermath of an abusive relationship or just a low sense of self-worth. Whatever it is, what you must first realize, is that you are not beyond saving yourself from yourself.

The first step in doing this is deciding what you want. Sit down for a minute or two with a paper and a pen and truly give this some thought. Note down the goals, dreams, and aspirations you’ve always wanted to pursue. Even the ones you scoff at whenever they pop in your head like learning how to play an electric guitar. In your journey of saving yourself, you’ll find yourself, constantly bringing out this piece of paper, to remind yourself of the need to curb the habits which cause you to self-sabotage.

The second and probably the most important step is mastering the art of letting go.Even before you think about ways in which you can build positive habits, like learning to stop procrastinating or being able to give up control when the need arises.

Letting go of whatever negative emotions you may have built up as a result of past failures or horrible relationships is the key to putting an end to your self-sabotaging habits. You can only begin to move on, once you let go of the things that have kept you rooted to one spot.

Learning to let go can be challenging, and might take what seems like forever but the moment you do so is the moment you begin to grow.

The next is to rid yourself of the negative habits that outline your tendency to self-sabotage. Sometimes it takes months and even years to break a habit so don’t beat yourself up if your find yourself slipping back into these habits.

Start small, make little lifestyle changes that will build up to you completely ridding yourself of these habits. Curbing seemingly harmless habits like putting off doing your laundry until your laundry basket is overflowing, or starting a project a day before it’s due to be turned in, are the perfect places to start.

As you work on building on these small new positive habits, and your self-sabotaging habits diminish, you’ll find yourself growing in ways your self-sabotage will never have allowed.

Originally published at medium.com

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