Self-sabotage refers to the act of harming your progress, growth, and positive life experiences due to ingrained fears and issues. People who self-sabotage may stunt their careers, ruin relationships, and even damage themselves and others’ perceptions of them.
If you self-sabotage, it can be very frustrating. You know that what you’re doing is terrible for you, but it can be difficult to stop. But why should you stop? And if so, how? Here are the adverse effects of self-sabotage and how to fix it.
The Primary Negative Effects Of Self-Sabotage
Here are compelling reasons to treat yourself with more kindness and compassion.
1. Your Self-Esteem Tanks With Self-Sabotage
Self-esteem is a crucial part of mental wellbeing, and when you have high self-esteem, you think well of yourself and want good things for yourself. It’s obvious, then, that self-sabotaging behaviors often mean you have poor self-esteem. Here are some ways that this effect rears its ugly head:
Self-sabotage often involves self-criticism. You tell yourself that you’re not good enough to achieve your goals or that everything you’ve done so far isn’t sufficient. Additionally, you obsess over everything that’s happened in the past and use that to define your present instead of learning and growing. You fall into a cycle of criticizing yourself and using these criticisms as reasons for why you’re not capable, often to the extent of ignoring your achievements and dismissing everything good you create. It’s easy to see how this kind of criticism can ruin your self-esteem and positive thinking.
· You Talk Down To Yourself
It’s not uncommon for people to have very high standards for themselves that they would never impose on other people. This is especially true if you tend to self-sabotage. You may talk down to yourself in ways you could never dream of speaking to others. When your friend makes a mistake, you tell them, “That’s okay, you can try again next time!” but when you make a mistake, you say, “I messed everything up, and I’m awful at everything, and I might as well give up.” Talking down to yourself so often can make you truly start to believe all those words you say.
· You Get Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome refers to a psychological phenomenon where you feel like a fraud or an “imposter” who doesn’t deserve to be in the positive position you’re in. You may feel like you’re faking your accomplishments and credibility and become very defensive as you try to protect your reputation, even though you’re perfectly deserving of how far you’ve come. This feeds into other self-sabotage issues that harm your self-esteem and increase self-criticism, as you can never accept that your success and positions are deserved.
· You Wonder What Your Purpose Is
A sense of purpose can be crucial to self-esteem, and people who self-sabotage tend to lack this. They may feel like there’s no purpose they’re capable of, which only fuels experiences of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Worse still, until you learn to fight self-sabotaging behaviors, you are unable to find your purpose because you won’t let yourself do so!
2. You Stop Being Productive When You Self-Sabotage
Productivity is a big deal for many people, but those who self-sabotage are rarely ever very productive. This is because many of the behaviors that involve tripping yourself up also include making it so you can’t do what you need to. Here are some examples of how you may tank your productivity through self-sabotage:
· You Procrastinate
Procrastination is a common problem and can be tied to many different causes. Self-sabotage can be a big one of those causes, according to studies. It makes sense for people in an intricate system of rules to procrastinate now and then due to the system’s unfriendliness. Still, the older you get, the more likely it is that procrastination is a symptom of a more significant issue. It often means you’re avoiding something, such as a risk of failure or even the possibility of positive change in your life. This kind of avoidance is a common sign of self-sabotage, and it ruins your ability to live your everyday life.
· You Have A Tendency To Throw In The Towel Too Quickly
A standard method of self-sabotage tends to give up the second anything that seems even slightly tricky. Challenges and hurdles are standard in all journeys, and someone who self-sabotages for fear of facing those problems is essentially a surefire way never to finish anything you start. It’s outstanding to understand when it’s time to let something rest or move on from a venture, but don’t fall victim to the desire to give up at the first sign of trouble. Good things come to those who are willing to make an effort!
· You Are Disorganized
Self-sabotage can ruin your ability to stay organized simply because chaos begets chaos. The act of sabotaging yourself sends the subject of that sabotage into disarray, and this bleeds out into everything else, affecting all aspects of your life until you feel unable to do anything at all. Your productivity will drop, but that’s the least of your concerns by this point!
How To Fix The Effects Of Self-Sabotage
One of the key ways to handle self-sabotaging behavior positively is by identifying triggers and behaviors that lead to it. You have to examine yourself and look deeply into your actions to trace what sets you off and how you express those impulses. If you don’t recognize your self-sabotage, it’s hard to learn to fix it, after all!
It can be challenging to realize that you’re sabotaging yourself, and for many, there is a fair amount of denial that goes into this. You have to pay close attention to things that could be too painful to want to think about.
Here are some examples of self-sabotage triggers that may affect you:
- You have a pattern of sabotaging your developing relationships. When someone you’re dating tries to bring up the subject of commitment to you, you detach and act out in ways that harm the person in question.
- You have a pattern of sabotaging your career’s progress. You quit before big job promotions come up or intentionally perform unsatisfactorily to avoid being given a better position. Maybe you even believe that you are not qualified for those positions or want to take on new responsibilities.
- You have a pattern of sabotaging personal life changes of any kind. If a positive move for your life will involve some form of difference, you will opt not to take that good opportunity and instead stay where you are, unmoving, even if it’s terrible for you.
- You have a pattern of sabotaging yourself when things go well. Perhaps you are afraid of failure, or you may be anxious when things go well for too long because you believe bad things are around the corner, so you intentionally ruin things for yourself.
- You have a pattern of desiring interest and stimulation in your life. When things are going too monotonously, you turn to drastic and reckless behavior to force exciting things to happen; in your mind, even negative interesting things are preferable to boredom.
When you begin identifying self-sabotaging behavior, employ positive thinking and find productive reasons to replace this behavior.
2. Get Comfortable With New Things
A lot of self-sabotage occurs due to fear or discomfort of certain things and factors. Learning to be comfortable with these factors can help you to overcome your impulse to be your own worst enemy. Here are some things to get comfortable within this vein:
· Small Steps
If you self-sabotage, you probably have very high expectations of yourself. While it’s good to have some standards, the fact remains that your desire for big, apparent success to prove your worth is unlikely to come to fruition regularly. This means you need to have to be more flexible with the way you look at your progress. Small steps can be just as valuable as big ones, so learn to notice those little steps you take and validate them.
Failure is commonplace in life. So learning to manage loss helps you learn lessons from your mistakes to grow to new heights. It’s normal to be afraid of failure. Still, that fear shouldn’t control your life and lead to self-sabotage through perfectionism and impossible standards – and that, unfortunately, happens very often in such behavior, according to studies. So learn to accept and even cherish failure and its many lessons.
It sounds strange, but many self-sabotagers are afraid of communicating because it can mean being vulnerable or facing confrontation. Openly telling the people closest to you about your struggles can help them better understand your behaviors and offer the reassurance and aid you need. A little communication goes a long way.
3. Learn To Boost Productivity By Combating Avoidance
A lack of productivity is a massive problem for those who self-sabotage. This often comes from avoidance, whether that involves the release of responsibility, the avoidance of possible failure, the avoidance of hard work, the avoidance of something overwhelming, or anything else similar.
This is why combating avoidance first is the best way to fight the lack of productivity that can come with self-sabotage. You can use a variety of different methods, but some common strategies include:
- Use to-do lists that break down bigger goals into many smaller and more manageable ones. Create an outline that you can follow.
- Try starting with the final steps of a task instead of the first. Or if that’s too extreme, try hopping in somewhere in the middle.
- Write down instructions to yourself while imagining you’re writing the instructions for someone else. Thus, you create more transparent and more direct expectations in your directions.
- Learn to focus on the most critical and urgent tasks first, and get comfortable with shrinking down less important ones to lower levels of effort.
- Try many different strategies and mix and match them to see what works for you.
You have so much potential within you, but self-sabotaging can rob you of chances to fulfill that potential. Don’t forget that you are worthy of happiness and success and, though fear in these areas is perfectly valid, you are capable of overcoming your issues and reaching those things you deserve!