We sabotage ourselves in many different ways. Not because we want to live a life of misery, but because we are trying to protect ourselves.
We go to great lengths to avoid unpleasant feelings, sensations, and experiences. And we really don’t want to engage in anything that reminds us of ways we were hurt in the past. There is nothing wrong with protecting ourselves. In fact, our survival depends on it. But when this is outside of our awareness, we often don’t realize we are making choices based on fear, shame, or judgement.
Tara Brach, mindfulness meditation teacher and author of Radical Acceptance, calls this being in the ” trance of unworthiness,” Tara shares that “we’re not aware of how much our body, emotions, and thoughts have locked into a sense of falling short and the fear that we’re going to fail.” So let’s bring our sabotaging patterns and mindsets out of the darkness and into the light, so we can make different choices.
Bring Self-Sabotage into the Light
Think about your current personal goals, dreams, or desires. Then, reflect on what ways you sabotage yourself or get in your own way. As you reflect, here are some common patterns of self-sabotage that may help bring your patterns into greater awarenes:
Some of you may avoid going for what you want, especially in your business, career, or relationships. This can look like not applying for a promotion or not sharing your next level business idea with others. Or, maybe you over-stay in a relationship that isn’t working for you. While others put off dating altogether, because you believe no would be interested in you.
On the other hand, you may look outside yourself to feel important and worthy, such as buying expensive items or accumulating more money in the bank to prove you are successful. Or, you may push yourself to do more or give more than your part, even if that means you are neglecting your own well-being, feeling burned out, and exhausted.
Whether your self-sabotaging patterns and habits show up as avoiding going for what you want, measuring yourself with external items, or pushing yourself to do more, any of these can lead to feeling more disconnected, stressed, and unhappy. Which is the very thing you were trying to prevent yourself from feeling!
Self-Worth is the Antidote to Self-Sabotage
So how do you get out of the cycle of self-sabotage once it becomes a pattern? If low self-worth is at the root of self-sabotage, then the antidote is strengthening your self-worth.
You can do this by directly strengthening your self-worth. Instead of trying to prove your worth or over-protect yourself, you can begin to recognize, own, and stand in your worth. This process is about finding your way back to yourself and remembering your true essence. That is, that nothing and no one can add or take away from the value you always inherently possess. When you make choices and act from this remembering, you are standing in loving truth, not fear, shame, or judgment. And, in doing so, you are more aligned with who you are, not worrying you aren’t enough.
If working with your worth directly sounds too out of your reach, then you can also strengthen your self-worth by actively loving, befriending, and caring for yourself. By creating space to care for your own needs, you are reminding yourself that you are worthy of being cared for. And by responding to yourself with understanding, you are reminding yourself you are worthy of kindness. And when you set boundaries in your relationships, you are remembering you deserve respectful relationships too.
When we ground down into the truth of remembering who we are, we can act from a place of knowing our true worth. Because our value isn’t based on anything external and it isn’t based on our past mistakes or hurts. The truth is all life has inherent value.
I give you this seed of inner knowing I possess and invite you to plant it, tend it, and let it grow.
Marci Payne, MA, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri and Women’s Empowerment Coach. She loves helping men and women open their hearts to more love both for themselves and with others. If you are tired of sabotaging and sacrificing yourself in order to prove your worth, then consider individual counseling attending a self-love workshop, or joining a self-worth group. To get on the waitlist for “Embody Your Worth”, my women’s group coaching program, click here.