As I grew up, I was constantly told how useless I was. I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. Combined with my ADHD need for excitement to stimulate my brain, my behaviour was not normal and, therefore, unacceptable or good enough.
Over the years, this ongoing criticism negatively impacted my self-esteem and self-confidence. I unknowingly developed false beliefs that I was useless and unworthy. Every time I made a mistake, it reinforced these beliefs and punched holes in my self-esteem.
I constantly fell short of the goals others set. I took every failure personally. Such failures and disappointments create feelings of shame and frustration. Over time, this can develop into a lack of self-trust or self-belief, which feeds low self-esteem.
These negative behaviours eat away at your potential for success. And if you are successful, you self-sabotage to align with your deep-seated false beliefs and low self-esteem.
Another telltale sign of self-sabotage is that you procrastinate for no good reason when trying to achieve your goals. It is like being in a different time zone, watching your life unravel. The desire is there, but something stops you from moving forward. You can see that failing to act will create more problems for yourself, but even having that awareness isn’t enough to get you to take the appropriate action.
Self-sabotage is driven by negative thoughts, where you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, smart enough or worthy of success. You find yourself thinking, “I can’t do that”, or “why try? I’ll probably fail anyway.”
Harmful or destructive behaviour directed at yourself is self-sabotage. At first, you may not even notice that you’re doing it. But when negative habits consistently undermine your efforts, it becomes a form of self-harm. Whatever self-sabotaging behaviours you have developed, you must overcome them if you are to make the most of your life and reach your potential.
5 Steps to defeat your inner saboteur –
- Start with awareness of your self-sabotaging behaviors. Monitor your thoughts and look for negative emotions and feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, or sadness. Ask, what are the false beliefs behind your thoughts and emotions?
- Change the meaning and your response to the event that triggers old habits of harmful or destructive behavior. Change your physiology, move, exercise, read, or listen to something positive and empowering. Think only of the positive results you want.
- Defeat your mental demons. Work on your beliefs, thoughts and actions to keep you on the right track. Stand guard at the doorway to your mind and choose the thoughts you permit to enter.
- Practice self-care instead of self-sabotage. Be kind to yourself. Eat well, exercise your body and mind daily with positive nutritional food and get eight hours of quality sleep.
- Think big. Start small. Set yourself up for success with small goals, then build on that. Maybe exercise for 15 minutes four days a week! Your life, your dreams, no one else’s.