We all self-sabotage. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we all do it.
Ever wondered why you feel stuck, why you haven’t progressed further in your business or career – even though you know you’re capable?
Ever wondered why you don’t do what you need to do to be healthy, or why there never ever seems to be any spare cash?
Ever wondered why you never seem to have time for self-care, or to do the things you really want, that light you up?
Ever wondered why that next level success you’ve dreamed of has always seemed to elude you?
It’s because we sabotage ourselves! We very rarely see that WE play a large role in our own disappointments; we undermine our own success without realizing it.
Here are some behaviours that are reflective of self-sabotage. Sound familiar?:
- comfort eating
- self-medication with booze or drugs
But self-sabotage can be oh-so-subtle:
- not speaking up and being assertive when you need to
- talking yourself out of requesting a pay rise or promotion when you know you deserve it
- caving in to others’ needs rather than honouring your own
- pushing the buttons of the people you love
- never quote getting around to doing the things that will take you to the next level
- not even asking for what you need…
You get the picture. Everyone reading this will resonate with some of these things, because we all do it.
Now, the big question…
WHY DO WE SELF-SABOTAGE?
Well… Let’s start at the beginning.
The most foundational ‘programmes’ which form our identity and view of the world are set when we are 0-6 years old. During that time we can’t reject ideas because we don’t have the capacity to analyse or discriminate. Out critical faculty isn’t developed yet.
This means that we accept whatever we experience and are told about ourselves as truth. Let me give you an example:
As a little girl or boy one of your siblings punches you and hurts you behind your parents’ backs. You’re furious and hit them back, but this time your parents see and get angry at you. You try to explain that you were getting your own back, defending yourself. They don’t listen and tell you to be quiet.
It’s all so unfair. You learn: “I don’t matter”. “What I say doesn’t count.” “No one listens to me.” “My opinions don’t matter.”
A few decades later you find yourself in meetings at work, unable to effectively voice your opinion, even though you know that what you have to say is valuable and needs to be heard. It happens over and over. You’re constantly deferring to others’ voices.
That little kid took on those programmes for life! The grown up adult feels stuck and frustrated, consciously knowing that they deserve to be heard.
But these programmes we pick up are stored in our subconscious minds. Cognitive neuroscientists estimate that our conscious mind is only responsible for 5% of our functioning, and the subconscious is responsible for 95%.
Here are some more fun numbers for you:
Whilst our conscious mind’s pre-frontal cortex can process 40 nerve impulses per second, our subconscious mind is estimated to interpret & respond to over 40 MILLION nerve impulses per second.
So, as an info processor, your subconscious is 1 million times more powerful. This makes it very clear who’s running the show here.
What does this mean? If your subconscious mind believes something different to the conscious mind, what your subconscious believes is going to win out every time.
EVER HEARD OF COHERENCE?
This is why the subconscious is going to win out: the brain (and subconscious) seeks harmony. Neural harmony is expressed as congruency between the mind’s perceptions and the life we experience. Ie. the role of the mind is to create coherence between its programmes and ‘real’ life.
Accurate perceptions programmed in our brain and subconscious encourage success and put us in position to thrive. Misperceptions, at the least, undermine our strength, health & desires. At their most destructive, they’re life-threatening.
Take the anorexic person who looks in the mirror and sees an overweight person looking back at them, for example.
Take the child who’s not being listened to or whose story of their sibling hurting them isn’t being taken seriously. The “I don’t matter” programme isn’t just limited to that experience at that time. The child can’t comprehend that not being listened to and taken seriously at that time, during that event, is just a moment in their life. They take on “I don’t matter”, “my opinions don’t count” as a permanent condition that defines who they are!
Then later on in life the brain, seeking harmony between your programmes (neural networks) and your outer reality, creates the behavior in you that creates a matching life experience.
CAN I STOP MY SELF-SABOTAGE?
Yes! Yes! Yes! Good news!
We are capable of deprogramming and reprogramming our brains and unconscious mind. The thing is, we often don’t notice we’re self-sabotaging because it’s unconscious! Whist our subconscious is running 95% of the show (pretty much everything in present time) on autopilot, according to your programming, your conscious mind (the bit that could notice!) is busy rehashing past experiences, catastrophizing about the imagined future, analyzing, judging stuff from the past etc.
Psychologists estimate that 70% of our thoughts are negative and redundant. These useless thoughts are keeping our conscious mind busy whilst our subconscious goes about its activity unnoticed, running our lives!
So it’s really hard to change this stuff on your own. It’s really hard to be objective about yourself and the ideas you’ve taken on which (you believe) define who you are. They’re your identity! Clarity and guidance usually needs to come from outside.
For now, if you want to go it alone, see if you can quiet that conscious mind enough that you can become aware of self-sabotage.
If you want help, reach out. It’s right here. You can book a 20 minute complimentary, obligation-free strategy session with me on my website.
0409 666 752