Our Western culture seems to have developed so many pathways that lead us to doubt ourselves and place limits upon our ability to truly love, feel and believe authentically in who we are. Many people feel stuck and sabotage their own happiness in a number of different ways.
Here is my list of the most common forms of self-sabotage:
- OTHERS ARE MORE IMPORTANT
When we place our value behind or below that of others, it is easily to get caught up in not having time or the energy to do what we need or want to do for ourselves. Our projects, desires and dreams get pushed down and we then wonder why we feel resentful, tired or angry. When the balance is off kilter, this can lead to nit-picking, nagging and blaming others for our own frustrations. When we truly value ourselves and attend to our needs as well as others, we achieve things for ourselves and others,which creates a healthy balance, leading to feelings of satisfaction, achievement, success, happiness and contentment.
- UNCONSCIOUS BELIEFS
If we believe deep down (from messages or experiences early in life) that we don’t deserve to be happy or succeed, there will be a subconscious block from moving ahead and believing that we can do anything we desire. There will be an underlying voice saying, “This is too hard, I can’t do this, I’m not good enough”.
When we are confused about who we are and not clear in our values and beliefs; it is easy to second guess ourselves. When someone has been dominating and made us feel as though you we to blame for their behaviour, it is easy to feel as though we are the one who is in the wrong. Many clients with abusive or alcoholic parents have been made to feel as though they were the reason for someone else’s unhappiness. Children take things to heart and get imprinted by what is being said by their role models and important people in their lives. Survivor guilt also happens when there is a sick child or a death in the family and the others feel guilty that they survived and were not able to heal the situation.
- UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
When there is a large gap between how we expect your life to be and how it really is, there is discontent. Feelings of disappointment and failure join with feelings of meaninglessness, when life doesn’t measure up to how we thought it would be. There is a need to re-evaluate and gain a more realistic expectation, in order to move ahead and accept what is, in order to feel a sense of meaning and satisfaction.
- LACK OF TRUST
If there is a lack of trust people and the world at large, based on a background of not feeling safe and not having needs met as a child; it can be very difficult to thrive. When our inner voice says, “you can’t trust, you’ll get hurt, abandoned or rejected”, it is almost impossible to break out of our familiar habitual patterns. It is necessary to take risks and break new ground in order to create change to achieve dreams and goals.
- LEARNED HELPLESSNESS
Fairy tales have made many people think that we should get married and live happily ever after. “Helicopter” parenting is the name given, when parents do too much for their children. Enablingleads to a sense of helplessness through not allowing children to do things for themselves. By unconsciously trying to protect children from unforeseen danger, a child’s ability to create a healthy life for themselves, is impaired. Many people long to be taken care of, submit responsibility and find the easy way out. This inhibits taking personal responsibility to create the life we truly desire. This can lead to an inability to cope when challenges arise, leading to addiction, self medicating with drugs, alcohol, food disorders, out of control spending or workaholic behaviour to escape uncomfortable feelings. A healthy balance of taking responsibility for self and allowing others to help, is necessary.
- ALLOWING VULNERABILITY
When we try to be strong, do everything for ourselves and not receive help or support from others; we deny deep emotional connections. When we don’t feel connected to others, we feel lonely, left out and isolated. This can lead to depression, anxiety and lack of meaning and direction in life.
How often do you resist doing something you don’t really want to do? Do you put it off, thinking I’ll get to it later, only to find it falling to the bottom of the pile? And in the meantime, it’s still always there in the back of your mind weighing you down? This leaves us feeling inadequate, as we don’t live up to our values of doing what we say we will do (integrity). We limit our sense of personal success because it stops us moving ahead and onto other things. It gets in the way of feeling confident, as we know we are not living up to our full potential.
This week let us notice whenever there is a self-sabotaging voice or behaviour getting in the way of our happiness, dreams and desires. Whenever we notice the impending self sabotage, let us make an intention to take a deep breath, allow it in so that we gain wisdom… to choose a different direction in order to fire up neurons in the happy part of our brain (the pre-frontal cortex) and release positive chemicals such as dopamine and opiates, so our bodies and our minds are healthy and happy!