Right now we’re knee deep in election mayhem. Propaganda, defensive responses, ridiculously un-costed and over delivered promises… It’s difficult to switch on the TV without some element of general election news. And what comes part and parcel with election season? Election sabotage. Parties looking to throw shade at the opposition, rumours and provocative scare mongering. Particularly on social media. So of course it’s in the interest of Theresa May (etc.) to be strong, eloquent and the best they can be to not obstruct their own opportunity.
It got me thinking about the way in which we as a society let our own personal problems interfere with our goals (both long and short term). Might I have a tendency to self sabotage? Am I sometimes my biggest problem? It got me wondering about my behaviour and the occasions where I’ve let myself get in the way of my ambitions.
What Is Self Sabotage?
Essentially, it’s not just a list of bad personality traits but more along the lines of what we do with our mind without realising. It can often be a deep rooted belief (“I can’t do that” or “I’ll never get the opportunity to…”) or even something as simple as procrastinating, our relationship with food, our reactions during stressful times.
Why Is It Important To Recognise?
Who wants to live life to the full? Hands up if you want to be happy? How many of you want to reach their full potential? Tricky if you’re self sabotaging, right? A common trait of people who self sabotage is repeated behaviour. As my husband (ah I can say that now!) Daniel quotes from Einstein, ‘Insanity; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ – you need to make a change. It’s good to see how you get in your own way.
How I Self Sabotage
Now I’m the first to get on the defensive and point out my positives whenever someone criticises me. I believe it stems from a deep rooted history of being independent and not relying on anyone financially or for work. It’s an instant protection I have for myself, my reputation and the way I am. This in itself can be self sabotaging as I’m creating a new problem (‘how dare they say that’, ‘why are they saying that’, ‘am I not good enough?’) and ignoring the real issue here – constructive criticism that can aid my development going forward.
Voices In My Head
I grew up feeling nothing was ever really good enough. During my GCSE’s I passed 12 with grades A-C but dreaded coming home to show my mum as they weren’t all A’s and A*’s. It continued through A level and half way through Uni until I realised. People have a huge influence on you as a person growing up and its often only later on in life that it comes back to bite you in the bum. The whole nature versus nurture process means you might be fortunate enough to be able to change your feelings and emotional thought processes before it’s too late.
Still today though if I see a sub par blog post that I’ve created or a personal shopping appointment with one of my clients hasn’t gone the way I want it to, I still hear that harsh critic voice in my head. But now I can talk back to it and put it to sleep. I train my inner critic to be more productive in what it’s saying (‘you could do this better, why not try this way…’) instead of ‘you’re not good enough, quit now, why are you even bothering?‘.
Last Monday, the day after Daniel and I got married we got chatting about our new relationship and how different it feels being married. Seeing lots of our close friends and family at the wedding made us realise that whilst we always have great intentions to see them for dinner, hang out with them on weekends and go see the grandparent’s, something always happens and it gets put off. Similarly, when planning our wedding, we were the King and Queen of pushing things to that afternoon, the next day, the following week. We’ve both made a pact that now we have some real grown up stuff to do, we’re going to make an effort to get stuff done. Ultimately for me, procrastination stems from laziness.
I’m Addicted To Worry
Growing up and through my teens I was always surrounded by people whose behaviour was a little uncertain. In turn it put me in a constant state of tension – I couldn’t relax incase something else happened straight away that put me on edge again. When this feeling becomes your norm, you get comfortable and familiar immersed in a state of apprehension. Since living in London I haven’t really had any major worries that warrant the time and energy spent stressing. But because it’s a feeling I’m so used to, my body is still always on edge, ready for fight or flight. Realising that this isn’t a normal way to live has been a long time coming but now I see that it’s unpleasant to want to feel worried all the time and that I’m missing out on some amazing experiences in doing so.
Put simply, I can’t control everything but I still like to. I often feel so overwhelmed by upcoming life situations that it tires me and makes me anxious to the point where I don’t want to do it anymore and need a lie down. Letting go of the fact I can’t control everything has been difficult and I’m probably still only about 60% of the way there…
Other Ways People Self Sabotage
Whist what I do to self sabotage is quite common, there are of course lots of other ways. Take a look at the list below, can you relate to any of these?
- Self medicating/prescribing – do you have aches, pains, lumps, bumps but rather than go see your GP you brush it under the carpet (or worse, Google the problem) and then just take what you think you need?
- Afraid to ask for help
- Compare yourself to others frequently and feel down about not being ‘good enough’?
- Ignoring the real issue and blaming others for your failures?
- Relying on others for happiness?
- In a toxic relationship and addicted to the process of being put down, embarrassed, abused? Being with someone who doesn’t treat you the way you deserve is often linked to the addiction of being so in love with the idea that you’re with someone who is so unattainable. This is a tricky situation to get yourself out of.
Some Food For Thought
Thinking in depth about self sabotaging behaviour and the impact it can have on you both emotionally and mindfully is worth considering. So are the ways in which you can try to overcome the negative behavioural process. For me, I like to think three things in any situation. Is it possible? Can I do it and do I deserve it? I find writing and therapy both enormously helpful in overcoming issues like self sabotage. I’m all about the self love and telling myself three good things everyday to empower me and help me be the best I can be. It’s useful to consider individual words, feelings and emotions (something I struggle to identify) associated with whatever topic you’re thinking about.
For instance. Words that spring to mind when I think of money? Needed, important, it comes it goes. Family? You can’t change them. Embrace them. Do what you want to do. Not what they tell you to.
Do you have any self sabotaging tendencies? Xx