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How to Avoid Self-Sabotaging Behavior


Have you ever wondered why things don’t turn out your way most of the time and yet, for some, it seems that everything works out one hundred percent of the time?  If you find this to be true for you, then you need to stop and reflect on your own mindset since you are probably sabotaging your endeavors for attaining true happiness.  That could be in finding love, securing a new job, making new friends, or being a successful and self-actualized human being.  But let’s try to delve a little deeper to find out why you may be engaging in this self-sabotaging behavior.

How to Avoid Self-Sabotaging Behavior

The act of self-sabotage is when we know we desire something but we tell ourselves that it’s not going to happen for us.  Then we engage in behaviors which are characterized as self-destructive and harmful to our end goal.  What happens is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  We fail at what we thought we would fail at.  And we prove ourselves right.

So why do we sabotage ourselves?  Most psychologists believe that self-sabotage is an unconscious paradigm.  Somewhere in the deep recesses of our minds, we have a set of rules or beliefs that plague us with self-destructive thoughts:  you’re not good enough for this, this will never happen for you, give it up right now before you fall flat on your face.

Often we know we are engaging in some sort of self-destructive behavior but don’t even know why we’re doing it.  We ask ourselves, “why did I do that?” and the answer is “I don’t know.”  These unconscious triggers prompt us to make excuses for ourselves because since we expect failure in the first place, our mind makes up justifications for why things didn’t work out right.

These limiting beliefs set you on a pattern of procrastinating, over-indulging, isolation, and reckless behaviors.  But how can you get out of your own mind and clear the noise that tells you that you’re not good enough, or how can you pull the weeds that breed negativity?  These weeds were sown from seeds planted in your childhood and upbringing by your parents, teachers, friends, and society in general.

So how can you stop setting yourself up?  How can you stop sabotaging your happiness?  How can you make yourself an attractive person who will draw others to you? Below are some tips you can follow on your path to self-awareness and quest to find happiness.

  1. Be mindful of your actions. Don’t make excuses for your actions but try to get at the root or trigger of their cause. What is your motivation in a certain situation?  Did you react a certain way because you are afraid of being rejected? Does your need to protect yourself from embarrassment limit your interaction with someone, or your opportunity to try new things?  What are the driving forces behind your negative thoughts?  Be mindful and aware that your perception of reality is only that:  perception.  Often times, things are not how you are making them out to be but how they look through the lens of your distorted mind’s eye.
  1. Visualize yourself being successful or achieving the thing you want. Is it a new relationship?  Did you apply for a new position?  Don’t tell yourself it’s not going to work out because guess what?  It probably won’t.  You will make sure you prove yourself right and things will not work out.  Instead, picture yourself with that new person who makes you happy.  What does that feel like?  You just got that new promotion.  Why not you? How would you feel if you got the raise?  How would you act? Would you dress differently?  Think of the you that you would be if your goals and dreams became reality.  Visualize it and tell yourself that you are worthy or receiving these things and allow yourself to be happy about you’re the good things coming your way.
  1. Don’t expect perfection.  We often have the mistaken notion that the “perfect” relationship is free from worry, arguments, discord, tears, in short ups and downs.  This distorted view of things also warps the way you react when the smallest little problem arises.  Then you want to throw in the towel and say, it’s not working.  I’m quitting.  I’m giving up.  You have to know that you will experience setbacks on the road to success.  Be realistic and know that were are human and as humans, we are flawed and perfectionism is the enemy of progress and success.
  1. Put yourself outside your comfort zone. No one likes to be out of their comfort zone.  This is a matter of control.  But how can you expect to grow as a person if you don’t experience new things, go out and meet new people, and put yourself out there for the world to know?  People who want to meet a partner but are afraid to try new things, go to new places, learn new skills, do the same old same old and get the same results.  This goes back to the adage that insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting to get different results.  Although a cliché, there is a great amount of truth to this.

  1. Surround yourself with people who are like-minded and support you.  We may not realize it but often we surround ourselves with those who have the same mindset, habits, and patterns as us.  Again, this makes for comfort since we do not like to be challenged or feel that we don’t fit in among our peers.  However, this could be a potentially negative place if our peers have the same negative triggers or thoughts that we have, if they view the world with the same negative outlook as the unconscious thoughts that have been holding you back all this time.

In short, to avoid and eliminate self-sabotaging behaviors altogether, you must be ready to eliminate the negative triggers and patterns in your mind.  Develop a consciousness and a mindfulness about your actions.  Know that perception is subjective and colored by your subconscious paradigms, and that as a person, you have a lot to offer, just like anyone else.  Love yourself, and know that you are deserving of life’s happiness and joy.

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