Those of us who have experienced self-sabotage normally have rooted issues within ourselves. We feel like we aren’t good enough or do not deserve what we currently have. Instead of just walking away from a situation peacefully, we hold onto things and find a way to ruin it for ourselves in the most negative way possible. Most of the time we do not even realize we are doing it to ourselves.
In my early twenties I experienced tons of self-sabotage. I’ve always had abandonment issues since I was a young child. After a few therapy sessions and lots of self-reflection, I was able to pin point that my abandonment issues were due to not having my parents around. Seeing my mother here and there when she was still alive. Visiting my dad in jail and randomly seeing him out, on the very rare occasion. Lots of broken promises from both parents. Wanting my mom to call me but never having the time or money to. Asking my dad to please stay out of trouble so he could stay out of jail but always ending up right back in. I literally just wanted them to want to be with me and always felt that they didn’t want me since they were never actually around. In my late teens I came out of the closet. When I did this, I had family members that wanted a lot to do with me suddenly want nothing to do with me, due to my lifestyle that they did not believe in. This added to my abandonment issues. I couldn’t understand how easy it was for someone who loved me so much to just so easily be able to turn their back to me.
The first step to dealing with self-sabotage is to acknowledge and come to terms with your rooted issues. I acknowledged that I had abandonment issues due to life events and was able to let go and forgive those family members that were involved in these life events. Just because I was able to forgive and let go doesn’t mean I am peachy with these certain people. I was able to forgive and let go for my own internal peace.
The second step with dealing with self-sabotage is being aware and in control of your ego. This step is a very important step. You can be aware of your deep-rooted issues but if you continuously let your ego control your life, you will notice there are parts of you that may make you cringe. Your ego isn’t your friend and is a part of each of us that tries to cause harm by making us feel like we are superior to others or greatly lacking as an individual.
I’ve experienced both spectrums of my ego but the one that I’ve built a great relationship with is the ego that brings me down. The voice in the back of my head that tells me I do not deserve the things I want out of life, that I will not get where I want to be in life, that I am not good enough, I compare myself to others, wonder why someone else was picked over me, automatically assume someone doesn’t like me if there is a shift in our relationship, etc. I can go on and on. This part of my ego is still something I deal with daily and honestly the ego never disappears. You need to be conscious and aware of your ego. The saying “you are your worst enemy” is referring to your ego, no matter which spectrum you are more familiar with.
To help you control your ego you must learn to forgive. Forgive yourself for anything that you have done that you are holding onto. Know that we are all human and not perfect. We make mistakes and those mistakes are learning lessons. Without mistakes we never grow. Forgive those who have harmed you. This can be difficult for some situations but because you forgive doesn’t mean you need to forget. Forgive for your inner peace and move on.
When you feel your ego creeping up on you, check in with yourself. Ask yourself, “why am I starting to feel this way?” and remind yourself that your ego is just a voice inside of you and is not in control of you. You are in control of yourself. If you are starting to feel superior to others, bring yourself back down by reminding yourself that, we are all human and on the same level. No one is greater than the next person. We are all created the same, have feelings, bleed and breath the same. The only difference between each human life is that we were all dealt different cards. If you are starting to feel like your ego is bringing you down, remind yourself how far you have come. And if you haven’t gotten that far in the task your ego is trying to tell you that you won’t succeed at, remind yourself of your end goal and that you can make it happen. Do not let your ego hold you back. Go after everything that you want in life and have confidence that you will make it happen.
Feel gratitude for everything that you have in life, including all the things you have that you may take for granted each day. I am thankful for my Grandmother every day. She is no longer with us, but I still thank her for everything she did for me and how she raised me. I am thankful for the people that have come into my life and have taught me such beautiful life lessons. I am thankful for my current Au Pair family because they are providing me with a roof over my head, food in my belly and to be able to experience their culture daily. Catch my drift? Say out loud daily the things you are thankful for and when you say them feel them inside of you, you will feel the love.
Communication and honesty is key when you are trying to deal with your ego. If you feel your ego taking control during a situation, stop yourself and walk away. Let the other individual know you need to step away and take a breather. Do not let your ego control the situation. You are the one driving your life, not your ego. It may be hard at first but let your loved ones know what you are going through and the steps you are taking to help yourself. When you open yourself up more to the people around you it becomes real.
The third step to dealing with self-sabotage is awareness and willingness to change. I previously mentioned that some of us may not even realize they are self-sabotaging themselves. But after you do it the first couple of times it’s hard to not realize what you are doing, unless you truly do not care and do not want to change. When I truly came to terms with my own self-sabotage it was due to hurting someone I truly cared about. It was in my early twenties when I was truly battling with my internal self. I was very depressed, contemplated suicide, truly disliked myself and just drank a lot to deal with my emotions. Around the time my Grandmother passed away, I was dating an amazing girl. One that drove me all the way to Las Vegas from San Francisco, so I could see my Grandma for the last time in the hospital. I will always remember how she gave my Grandmother a foot massage. I thought it was the sweetest thing ever. Once my Grandmother passed away I sank into a dark hole and even though I had the love of my girlfriend at the time I still seeked attention from others. One day when we were together she found text messages on my phone. Till this day I have a vivid replay of the moment she saw the text messages on my phone and her reaction. It breaks my heart every time I think about how much I hurt her. Since then we have spoken, and she has forgiven me for my actions, but point is, this is the moment that really opened my eyes to what I was doing to myself. It took years of work to be where I am at today, but it was work that I genuinely wanted to put in. I wanted to make myself a better person for myself. The moment I told myself I was going to make this happen, was the moment my life started to change in a positive way. Now I can recognize when something is off, when I do not like how I am feeling about a certain situation, to be honest with myself and with others and to have open communication.
These are the steps that have helped me over the years. I hope you find them useful to use in your own practice.