How To Spot Self Sabotage And How To Fix It
A large majority of our life is controlled by our subconscious minds. This takes a lot of pressure off of us because we don’t have to expend energy thinking about what we want to do or what decisions to make. We just choose what’s most comfortable. Our subconscious mind works to keep us safe in familiar territory to avoid possible pain. This is really helpful, but sometimes the very thing that is meant to protect us can become the thing that destroys us.
Our subconscious mind creates acts of self sabotage when it is threatened by moving beyond the current status quo. It’s testing whether or not we have learned necessary lessons related to our current conditioning before we can move forward. If we have learned the lessons, we will override the autopilot programming of the subconscious mind and make new choices.
However, if we haven’t learned the lessons, we will allow the subconscious mind to sabotage the situation in order to bring us back to our comfort zone. Often times, in these crucial moments of choosing to move forward or stay where we are, we fail to move forward over and over again. We won’t even realize it’s happening until the damage is done and we are back to square one.
Self sabotage can take on many forms, but let’s take a closer look at three common ways that your brain keeps you stuck.
We can’t completely avoid thinking things through. Inevitably, we will need to think about life’s situations to make decisions. But, let’s face it, we can talk ourselves in or out of anything depending on the perspective we choose to see and validate. When we spend too much time and energy weighing the options and outcomes, we cross from healthy decision making to overthinking.
Overthinking is driven by a few main factors, including fear, insecurity, trust issues, and control. None of these are positive attributes that we want to give power to in our decisions. However, when we overthink, there is a voice in our head fueled by these negative factors that causes us to start second guessing and we avoid going all in. This internal battle between our true desires and the thoughts that hold us back create emotional imbalance.
When we allow emotional imbalance it is a recipe for disaster. This is where the self sabotage kicks in. Our subconscious mind will eat this uncertainty up. Then, when you least expect it and at the worst possible time, an emotional outburst will be triggered.
It will be impossible to control or stop because the groundwork for it has already been laid through self sabotaging thoughts caused by overthinking. When it matters the most, you will ruin it. We try so hard to avoid hurt that we actually create the very thing we are trying to avoid.
Most circumstances in life will sort themselves out. There is no need to obsessively think about it. Doing this steals joy and adds unnecessary stress. Instead, enjoy the process and see where it takes you.
Overthinking will often kill the process and you will find yourself starting over time and time again.
Assumptions are toxic...every time. Whether it’s assumptions about ourselves or others, we are setting ourselves up for failure. When we assume, we are choosing to believe something is true when we have no proof that it is or isn’t.
It’s natural that we will have some assumptions in our experiences, but the more we have the more likely it is that we have stepped from natural inferences to self sabotaging behavior. When this happens, we will react based solely on assumptions and not reality.
Like overthinking, creating assumptions is usually driven by negative factors that control our thoughts.
If you combine the self sabotaging tendency of creating assumptions with overthinking, then you're really headed for destruction. Unfortunately, these two go hand in hand and we can end up ruminating on things that aren’t even true. Pretty soon, we have created a false reality that our subconscious minds will use to keep us trapped.
Through creating assumptions, we condition ourselves to expect let downs and assume that things will ultimately turn out how they always have. If there is any evidence otherwise, we are blinded to seeing it. Eventually, we manifest the things we don’t want by aligning ourselves to the belief that it is true.
The easiest way to not assume is direct communication. Asking for the information we need is essential, but it can be scary. It can put us in a vulnerable position and the subconscious mind will want to avoid that at all costs. If we can push past this and learn the lesson, we can overcome this self sabotaging behavior. If it’s not possible to get the needed information, then at least stop yourself from making a negative assumption. Keep it neutral.
There are two main types of comparison we can get stuck in - comparing ourselves to others and their experiences and comparing situations or people in our lives to the past. The subconscious mind will use these comparisons to set standards and boundaries that feel safe. This is not fair to us or others in our lives, as usually we end up with unrealistic expectations.
Comparing ourselves to others is futile. We rarely have a glimpse into the true reality of other people's lives or thoughts. Social media and small amounts of time spent with someone does not give us a full picture of who they are or what they are going through. So, there is no way to accurately compare.
There will always be someone better looking.
There will always be someone with more money.
There will always be someone younger.
There will always be someone who seems to have all the luck.
We can choose to concentrate on what we lack that others seem to have or we can value the positive aspects of ourselves and our lives.
It’s a choice.
The other type of toxic comparison is with the past. If it’s in the past, it is NOT the current reality. Whether it’s a relationship, a friendship, or an experience, it lives on as a memory. Our subconscious mind tends to idealize memories. If we aren’t careful, we will end up measuring our current situations against past idealization.
This is a self sabotaging act.
The fact is that it does not exist anymore and we are probably remembering it as better than it really was. If we cling so tightly to “what could have been” we risk losing what we have in the present.
Chances are that the person or situation we hold in our memory isn’t the same anymore and yet we allow it to sabotage the present. Let it go.
Practicing gratitude will help combat comparison. Give energy and focus to what you love about your life and the people in your life. Trade expectations for appreciation.
So what do we do about it?
Self sabotaging behaviors will most likely show up when there is about to be a breakthrough or when something is a big deal. It’s about control. The subconscious mind wants to keep us in our comfort zone where it feels more in control. Ironically, self sabotaging behavior sends things spinning out of control.
When we feel ourselves getting closer to what we want, our inner saboteur rushes in to create conflict. Something appears good, so we look for reasons why it’s not. Pretty soon we convince ourselves the good thing must be bad or wrong. Then, suddenly that great thing appears not good enough because energy was focused on finding the faults instead of appreciating and celebrating all the positives.
Nothing is perfect...not a career, not a relationship, not a friend, not family. Whatever you choose to give focus to will grow. So, if you give focus to fault finding and justifying why it’s not good enough, then that is what you will find. However, if you focus your energy towards the things that make you feel alive, the things that make you smile, the things that keep you hopeful, the joy that is added to your life, then those things will grow.
Ultimately, our subconscious mind and self sabotaging behaviors would have us think that things just happen to us. However, things happen based on our ability to recognize the patterns that keep us stuck then work to grow through them or things happen based on our inability to break free from these subconscious chains then keep repeating the same cycles and saying to ourselves that we just aren’t ready yet.