3 Ways to STOP Self-Sabotage
If you deny your ego, it will push back against you harder. The more you reject something, the more it fights back for its own survival.
But when you can completely love your ego unconditionally
and accept it as part of how you express in this life,
you’ll no longer have a problem with it.
~ Anita Moorjani
Each week, as I work with my clients, I see the same themes emerge again and again. The same frustrations. The same aches. The same desires for an expanded sense of freedom.
The solutions to our challenges appear to be so simple: (drink more water; meditate more; break up with him; tell her you love her; step up to the plate;) and yet we are so complicated: (why can’t I seem to stop eating? Why can’t I forgive my mother? Why can’t I trust men? Why can’t I just focus?).
Why is that? Why do we not do the things that will help us?
Self-sabotage! Of course.
But the truth is, self-sabotage doesn’t exist. Stay with me here.
When you were a little boy/girl, there were inevitably things that happened in your life that you thought were bad or scary. Perhaps you got abused by someone (physical or emotional), you got lost at the grocery store, or your parents got into a big fight.
Even if the occurrence would seem commonplace to an adult, as a child it was deeply unsettling and painful. You vowed to never let this kind of thing happen again.
You decided things about your life…
Your abuse may have led you to never trust men.
Getting lost at the grocery store has shown you that you are not important.
Your parents fight may have had you conclude that love hurts.
You decided things about yourself…
That you were stupid,
Undeserving of love.
Even if, as an adult you have a rational understanding that you are loveable, and none of these are true for you now, there is an imprint in the deep recesses of your brain that says otherwise.
We all have parts of ourselves that are “frozen” at different ages, where emotional or physical traumas occurred. In other words, the decisions that we make in different areas of our lives are made by our 3, 6 or 8 year old selves.
Hence in our day-to-day lives, that child is in charge.
What keeps us stuck, making bad decisions, procrastinating and spinning our wheels is not self-sabotage but self-worth. The child inside is desperately trying to protect us, and others, from hurt.
When we get angry and frustrated at ourselves for not “sucking it up” and “making it happen”, it’s like yelling at a small child who is just trying to help.
When the child within is free to play, unburdened from the anxiety of having to prove themselves to receive love, it’s because the parent within is lovingly in charge, confident in their ability to provide for their child and themselves.
This is a major access point to your freedom: becoming your own loving, nurturing mama/papa… and in your parental strength, you are a fierce protector and a gentle loving nurturer, not a military commander.
You recognise that your insecurities and fears are coming from a sweet part of yourself that wants to protect you.
You recognise that there is no part of you that is trying to “sabotage” you, and that it’s all coming from a place of love.
The saboteur in all of us serves to protect us from harm; to keep us safe, but often it does this at the cost of progress and accomplishment. It’s why we come down with an illness before a special event, why we deflect tender compliments that were intended to land in our hearts, and why we sub-consciously create drama in our lives when we’re humming along to an eerily peaceful drum beat.
So, what do you do when the child inside is keeping you from having the freedom you want?
You MUST support yourself rather than tear yourself down.
STEP 1: Your most powerful tool is Awareness.
I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you.
Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.
Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise,
that you are not the mind, that you are the witness. A watcher.
Awareness of your thoughts in the PRESENT moment is your greatest ally. Awareness is the catalyst for acceptance, forgiveness and knowingness of a higher truth. It allows us to step away from the war in our minds and access the magic quality: compassion.
Instead of attempting to suppress or deflect, approach this part of you – head on – with compassion. This is crucial. It allows you to create space between who you really are in the present moment – the witnessing observer – and the thoughts that arise as expressions of the ego (aka your inner child). Being aware of these patterns of “sabotage” will help you recognise that, just like your brain, your eyes, your little toenail, you are not DEFINED by it. You are not your little toenail, and you are not your ego.
- Action: Let’s cultivate some awareness of your inner child’s behaviour. Jot down all the ways you’ve been sabotaging yourself and your success. i.e. I keep creating drama in my marriage. An incredible opportunity came my way and I still haven’t responded. I resist meditation, despite knowing how fantastic it would make me feel.
Out of the shadows, into the light.
STEP 2: Be radically loving and gentle to yourself.
What we resist, persists and being frustrated with yourself doesn’t help you feel free. You can’t fight fear with fear. Just as your heart beats, your mind thinks. Reframe the inner saboteur as the vulnerable part of you that craves reassurance and nurturing.
- Action: Place your hand on your heart and promise that child within the patience, listening and love they deserve. When you feel upset or anxious, check in and listen to what they need. Imagine your 4 year-old self and ask: “what do you need from me right now?” The best part: say thank you. Without him/her, you are nothing. Without you, neither is he/she.
STEP 3: Step into the space of being the strong, loving adult in charge and let the kid PLAY.
Locking eyes consciously with these behavioural patterns means that the hard work is done, because now you’re aware of the role that child plays in your life.
- Action: Once you know what that little one needs, satisfy that need so you can move forward with ease and grace. Because you’re not here to live an ordinary, flat-lined life. Hurdles were made for jumping’ and boundaries were made for pushing’. When that part of you wants to cling to smallness – because small is safe – suck in your breath
slowly and affirm: Actually, I AM WORTH IT.
I’ve never heard it explained better than this:
“Self-sabotage is our way of externalising the shame within us.”
~ Debbie Ford
Which means that it presents itself in our lives with an offering of transformation: unmask your internal shame that continues to manifest in your life situation, and give yourself permission to be great.
Out of the shadows, into the light.
I would love to hear your biggest insight on how you can love the child within? Hit the comments and share with me below.
It doesn’t have to be hard… you can get free and have fun doing it.
You are more supported than you realise,