What is it?
Self-sabotage is classically desiring a particular goal in life and then making sure you don’t get it, consciously or unconsciously. Attracting the very circumstances that ensure you don’t achieve it. Going the very direction and repeating the same action that will ensure you don’t achieve the very thing you desire. If you have ever observed someone sabotaging their life, it’s usually frustrating to watch. If they only just did this one little thing then all their problems would be solved.
Why would any sane human do that?
First of all let’s see how self-sabotage can manifest and see if you can relate to any of these in your life;
· Wanting to get fit or healthy – but cant find the time, motivation or energy to do it.
· Wanting to get a better job as the one you’re currently in you hate – but can’t afford the change. There doesn’t seem to be any suitable ones out there. Don’t believe it can happen. Feel like you would have to settle for less if you made the move.
· You want to achieve a level of success in your life but circumstances get in the way. You hit one obstacle after another.
· Wanting to get your finances under control, but one bill after the other comes in. The car breaks down and needs pretty much exactly your life savings to fix it? You can’t help but do a bit of retail therapy and the credit card becomes maxed out once again.
· You have thoughts that if there is so much blockage getting what you want, then “its just not meant to be”
· You desire a happy healthy relationship, but can only seem to attract toxic partners. You run the same rejection pattern or the same disloyalty pattern in your relationships.
In fact desiring anything in life and then feeling blocked or hindered in getting it, could be a sabotage program running your life instead of you.
So what are these programs?
Resistance is a psychological defence mechanism. Our defence mechanisms being primarily unconscious are hard wired into our survival system. Our survival systems are a powerful force that basically perpetuates the species on the planet. This is a potent force to deal with indeed.
What that means for us is that when “success” in one area of our lives triggers our defence mechanism we are actually in a war against ourselves.
Sigmund Freud spoke of the “death drive” that part of us that moves us towards destruction and death. Resistance is more about keeping the status quo. Somewhere in our history through negative programming we decided it was unsafe to be “successful” “wealthy” “happy” etc.
We decided on a very deep level that being worthy was dangerous or somehow endangered our existence. So we desperately cling to living within our “comfort zone” even if that comfort zone is completely unhealthy, uncomfortable or toxic.
- It’s the woman that can’t lose weight because she was sexually abused many years ago. The idea of being physically appealing is dangerous.
- It’s the man who’s family taught him that being wealthy is wrong in some way. He fears rejection from his tribe on a very deep level. Despite knowing consciously that having more financial security would enable him to have a better life, his survival in the tribal sense depends on agreeing with the tribe.
- It s the person who works 2 jobs just to feel worthy to get the same as someone who might achieve the same income with half the work.
Lets get clear about the notion of “decided”. What we are talking about are deeply unconscious programs. These often get created on that very unconscious level that until we start to dig we don’t necessarily have access to. It’s the same as learning to walk. You didn’t consciously send messages to every muscle to make that happen. What we are talking about is how our nervous system organises information.
Symptoms of Resistance can include;
- Inability to feel satisfaction in our lives
- A low grade of misery
- Self Doubt
- Never finishing what you set out to do
- Being attracted to drama and creating it
- Substance abuse or self medicating – this includes having to rely on antidepressants just to get through a day (particularly on a chronic level)
The list goes on. If you want to check to see if you have some sneaky sabotage patterns you can do a quick test;
1. Think about what it is that you really want to achieve in your life. (If you don’t know what it is, then your resistance can be just that) With that perhaps think of time you did know what you wanted. You may feel that what you want is shallow, insignificant. The trick is to be really honest with yourself.
2. Next think about whether you have tried to achieve that in your life? Is this something that you have tried to achieve time and time again or perhaps never really thought about going for it? I will often hear people complaining about a situation in their life but can't honestly recall them ever actually doing anything about changing that circumstance. Be honest - have you ever tried to really achieve this goal? Is it an ongoing goal that you never seem to be able to achieve? Fitness, happiness, Love, financial freedom?
3. This is where you now write down all the things that you think of both real and fantasy that you feel stop you from achieving that goal.
This will be your own personal resistance program. There may be other factors in play here like timing or genuine impossibilities that are not really self-sabotage but usually I find that there is often a sneaky sabotage lurking under a greater majority of denied goals.
So how do we correct our self-sabotage?
There are many ways we can start to work on these issues straight away.
- Get some clarity on what your sabotage is about. For example: I want to write a book but I feel blocked.
- See if there is a beginning point to any stress around writing. Like being made fun of in school for misspelling or having someone verbally criticize your attempts at some point.
- Feel the emotions in your body related to writing. Just feeling will allow you to dispel some charge on the issue. Practice this in short bursts at 8 seconds each visit. Do these 3 or more times. The emotions will change each time you do it.
- Then start putting in some “feel good” programing into your goal. This starts to change the associated feelings we have to the subject matter. Imagine what it would feel like achieving your goal. Make sure you really feel what it would be like.
- This is where it can get interesting. Your unconscious may start sending up negative messages at this point. Be very aware! Just observe them. It will start to offer up the very fears around why it’s not safe to have that goal. Thoughts like “you cant do it”, “your not smart enough”, “no one will want to publish your book” and you feel rejected. “You will embarrass yourself somehow”.
- These are the fears that stop you dead in your tracks. They also create the external obstacles as well by attracting distractions. The computer blows up. Now you will be delayed another week!
Now its time to work with these fears.
- Changing the talk around the subject is a great place to start. Turn the “you can’t do it” into “of course I can do it!” Many people have written books and I will just work at it one step at a time. “You’re not smart enough” into “ I am very capable and have my own brand of genius”. “ You will embarrass yourself somehow” into “You will feel joy and love the process”.
- Change the unconscious response to the way you feel about the subject. In this day and age of neurological sciences we have a great deal of understanding as to how the body & brain works. The brain is constantly learning and organizing that learning. When we are highly stressed or charged on a subject our nervous system is in overload. We are incapable of learning a new response to the subject. With going into your body and visiting the feeling or emotion for 8 seconds at a time you are able to blow some charge off the subject. Why 8 seconds? Because it takes about that to transform an emotion. We spend decades avoiding feeling certain emotions. If only we are taught to actually go deeply into the emotion and feel it in your body it would transform in about 8 to 10 seconds.
- You can then practice just feeling the positive feeling of achieving the goal. When you do this enough time it can start to change a lot of your self-sabotage into success strategies. Your success becomes automated. The external world somehow conspires for you to achieve what your desired outcome is.
- Not all sabotage is created equal. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find some goals very difficult to achieve. Sometime that rabbit holes goes very deep and giving yourself time to work on it is crucial. Some issues are so charged it may be beneficial to work through them in clinic with the assistance of someone that can guide you through it. Either way you are worth it and goals are important no matter what the negative mental chatter is telling you. It’s only an old program after all.