Throughout my lifetime, it would be fair to say, I have mastered the art of becoming my own worst enemy. Self-sabotaging behaviors and shooting myself in the foot became the perfect formula for cultivating my misery. I was notorious for blaming everyone and everything else. I became a victim of circumstance, but looking back I was standing in my own way all along. Here are some signs you may be self-sabotaging and, most importantly, how you can stop the cycle.
What seemed to be a minor infraction in high school has continued well into my adult life. I always thought it was a common practice amongst all teens, but when I look at the aftermath that utter avoidance left behind, I’m left to look at why I continue to put off the things that are important. You may be avoiding change, or you may dub yourself a perfectionist, avoiding the possibility of making a mistake.
First, it is crucial that you become aware of the reason for your rebellion against the things that are beneficial to you. Once you understand what is holding you back, you can take action. For me personally, discipline is a sure way to fight against procrastination. For example, I’m an avid list maker. Once you make a list of all the tasks you need to complete, you may find yourself less overwhelmed. As you finish each task and mark it off the list, there is a sense of accomplishment that follows. It all comes down to rewiring your brain to the acknowledge the rewarding benefits of completing the tasks set before you.
If anyone knows about self-medicating,it’s me. I have struggled with the fundamental inability to cope or process any emotion. Time and time again I have chosen to self medicate, and I have been left with the consequences of my actions. With drugs and alcohol easily accessible, it’s no surprise that statistics show millions of Americans are currently struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Getting into the habit of using drugs and alcohol can lead to addiction. The problem, which started as a simple lack of healthy coping skills, then becomes the ultimate self-sabotaging behavior. First, you need to admit to yourself that it is a problem for you. Then, you can go to AA meetings or seek professional help.
Ask For Help
Feelings are feelings, not facts. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and hopeless, asking for help can be your greatest asset. It’s not uncommon for us to face situations and feelings that seem impossible to overcome. Life is hard and our past experiences can distort our perceptions. Asking for help is a sign of courage, not weakness, and is ultimately beneficial to your overall well being.
Avoiding Vulnerability Within Relationships
There are an innumerable amount of ways you can sabotage meaningful relationships. The underlying cause is always the same: fear of getting hurt. As you’ve invested time into a relationship, do you find yourself picking apart your significant other or close friends? Chances are you’d rather end the relationship and hurt the other person instead of getting hurt. Maybe this fear comes from your past experiences.
Communication is key. It’s not uncommon for anyone to experience a little fear when entering a new relationship. The difference between sabotaging that relationship and being open and honest lies within having the courage to express those fears and insecurities. Instead of picking apart and pushing away every person before they get too close, try practicing acceptance, communicate, and welcome vulnerability. Trusting that “my past does not determine my future” is a guaranteed way to step out of your own way and cultivate meaningful relationships.
Self-sabotaging can become second nature and utterly impossible to escape if you are not consistently evolving. Be your own advocate. Take time to sit down and write down all of the things you’ve accomplished and quiet the inner critic that whispers lies of inadequacies in your ear. Practice positive affirmations and continue to walk through fear. Challenge your old behaviors and be willing to surrender yourself to an entirely new way of thinking.