Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening a polity, effort, or organization through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. One who engages in sabotage is a saboteur. Saboteurs typically try to conceal their identities because of the consequences of their actions and to avoid invoking legal and organizational requirements for addressing sabotage.
Interesting isn't it? But what about when the saboteur is you?
It is easy to believe you are worthless or worse than other people and to convince yourself that you cannot do something. Over time, this will damage your self-esteem and, as a result, your quality of life.
You are always listening to your inner talk and when this is filled with negative messages, your negative beliefs will be reinforced, which will create the negative experiences that will prove you right.
Perhaps there were in times in your life when people told you that your needs don't matter, that you are going to fail, and that you should be punished for your flaws and mistakes. If this happened enough, you may have believed it. But when you keep on reinforcing these beliefs in the way you talk to yourself, you have become the bully.
This toxic self-talk needs to stop. It is time to stop doubting yourself. Only you can smash the mental barriers you have created which keep you from developing and growing.
Tips to help you stop self-sabotage (pdf available below)
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1. Change your perspective
Changing the way you see yourself and your situation is a major way to stop self-sabotage behaviour. Start by assessing your level of mental rigidity. When something happens, do you really consider all the potential reasons and outcomes, or do you view yourself and the world from an all-or-nothing black-and-white viewpoint?
Think out of the box. What other perspectives could explain the situation? Stop judging yourself for a minute and try to understand yourself with compassion. What other version of events could explain what happened?
2. Perfectionism is your enemy
While it's good to want to do your best in every circumstance, it is impossible to do everything 'right' all of the time. You are only human, not a robot, and you cannot be the best in every situation. It is normal to make mistakes; use them as an opportunity to learn something new. If you berate yourself for not doing something up to your unreasonable standards, you will become overwhelmed with demands and this will cause you dissatisfaction and stress. Don't let failures define who you are. They are simply lessons to learn from.
3. Examine Yourself
Reflect on why some things aren't going well for you. Be curious and consider all aspects of the situation without judgement . Where are you at now? Don't concentrate only on the negative. What are you doing well? What isn't working and what could you be doing differently to change the outcome? Are your actions in line with what you want out of life? If not, change them! You are in charge here, and you can make different choices if the ones you have been making so far aren't working out.
4. Know Your Worth
Stop valuing yourself based on how well you are liked by others. People pleasing will get you nowhere because nothing you do for other people will ever be enough if you don't value yourself. Your value comes from how you treat yourself and on how you expect to be treated by others, not by how much of yourself you give away.
Also, stop depending on others to comfort you, lift you up and make you feel successful. It is not their job to do so; it is yours. Other people are likely to sense your dependence and they are likely to respond negatively. When your sense of self depends on how important others think you are, you have lost control of your life.
5. Change Your Inner Talk
Stop telling yourself that you are not good enough. Stop telling yourself that you need to prove your value in order to feel good. And stop expecting others to always fulfill your needs. Instead, imagine you are talking to your best friend or a child you really love. Encourage yourself. Be kind, tell yourself you are good enough and you are worthy. Not because of anything you are doing but just because you exist.
6. Exercise that body!
When you don't like how you look and how your body feels, you can easily lose self-confidence. Exercise of any kind has anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects, it promotes a good attitude and makes you feel good about your appearance.
Commit to working out a certain number of times per week and do your best to get out in nature. Stepping outside shakes you out of your routine and makes you conscious of how beautiful this world is, and how much you have to be grateful for.
7. Be Happy for Others
When you are content with your own life and who you have become, you rarely feel envious of others. Rejoice in other peoples' good fortune. There is enough success, happiness and love for everyone. Think of others not as your competitors but as team mates!
When you realise there is no such thing as lack, your self-image and sense of security will no longer be threatened by other people’s success.
8. Prioritise your needs
Put yourself first. If your tank is empty, there is nothing for you to give. By putting yourself first, you give yourself the sense of importance you so desperately want to receive from others.
Don't expect others to put you first, though. It is not their job to do so and expecting this from them will damage your relationships. Find a balance between what you can reasonably expect from others and what you need to do for yourself.
9. Eat Healthy
Your brain is fed by what you put in your stomach. Your gut is often referred to as your second brain because of how neuro-chemically similar it is to the brain. You are what you eat, so eat lots of vegetables, low-fat proteins and water to give your body the fuel it needs for a cheerful mood, productivity, and lasting energy. And stay away from processed food! It only increases inflammation in the body, which leads to pain and bad health.
10. Accept Others
Allow other people to be themselves. Stop expecting others to act and think like you. After all, isn't it irritating when others are needy, demanding, judgmental, or controlling towards you? When you don't allow people to be themselves, you risk frightening, abandoning, or engulfing them, which compromises their freedom. This will probably result in them responding negatively towards you. Having good boundaries doesn't mean telling people what to do. It means informing them of what you will accept or not accept in your life, leaving them to make their own choices.
11. Don’t Give Up
The most effective way to strengthen your self-sabotage and undermine your success and is to give up. If you give up before you succeed, you will never succeed in anything. Instead, give yourself a chance. Make it a point to always finish what you start, and when you’re about to learn whether you were successful, resist the urge to give in to your fear.
13. Let go of negativity
Do you find that your negative thoughts increase as you get closer to success? That's classic imposter syndrome. The good news is that everyone believes they lack the skills to succeed, not just you. Do you remember when you were younger and believed that adults had all the answers? Well, that was not the case, was it? Everyone has irrational thoughts, it doesn't mean they are true. You can decide to ignore and disregard them. Instead, focus on ideas that will benefit you. Like for example, having faith and trusting yourself.
14. Stop Indecisiveness
When making decisions, remember that nothing will be perfect. There is no perfect decision, there are just different consequences. And it is not possible to control these either. All you can control is how you decide.
It is a good idea not to go purely on impulse. Instead, take your time to consider all possible outcomes, listen to your inner voice, and be honest with yourself. Don't overthink. Just weigh up pros and cons without dwelling on what-if scenarios. Writing things down can help separate worries from reality, as well as your wishes from other people's opinions.
If you become paralysed, however, deciding quickly can be better than making no decision at all. It is better to move than to stay stuck waiting for some divine sign. Don't hold out any longer. What do you actually desire? Be specific and take one step towards your goal today.
15. Stop Procrastinating
We all want to spend our time doing enjoyable or novel activities, but to get the really important ones out of the way, sometimes we just have to get to work. You don’t want to put off visiting the dentist, only to discover four years later that you need to take out a few teeth, do you?
Make a list of the things you need to accomplish each day in order of importance. Pick the most important two or three at the most and work your way down. Don’t postpone tasks until the following day.
The mental stress of delaying it can accumulate until it is worse than the task itself! Here is how you can stop yourself from procrastinating.
If the idea of finishing one task seems overwhelming, divide it into much smaller steps. Make a list of manageable, small goals.
You can stay motivated to accomplish your primary goals by creating a detailed schedule with deadlines for when you will complete each of your smaller goals. Set daily goals in line with your weekly and monthly objectives.
Be easy on yourself and learn to forgive yourself. It’s tempting to punish yourself for putting off tasks. You might tell yourself that you’re being ineffective or lazy, but this doesn’t increase productivity; it just makes you feel more frustrated and anxious. Being curious about what happened allows you to practice forgiveness and self-compassion so you can understand what went wrong and decide on what to change next time.
You are in charge; you don’t need others to fulfil you; look within. Although it requires plenty of effort and introspection, it is simpler to change oneself than another. Every day, you are the person who determines your successes and failures.
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