How to overcome self-sabotaging
If you’re wondering how to overcome self-sabotage, this post is for you.
First of all, we think that self-sabotage is the result of not being confident and calm. Actually, we aren’t confident and calm because we keep sabotaging ourselves. So, mental barriers aren’t the result of self-esteem issues; they actually cause those issues.
Yes, it’s people, not situations, that prevent success from happening. A lot of people believe that they have the right to succeed only if they work hard enough.
There’s something inside of us that makes sure that we stay within our created boundaries. This something is called our inner saboteur (or you can also call it the inner guard).
When your hand is injured and healing, you’ll use that hand with special care or you’ll avoid using that hand for some time. The same situation might also occur in the spiritual world.
You’re mentally taking a pose that’s soothing. You’re leaving your mental comfort zone less and less, and you’ll go deeper into this dark cave to hibernate.
Self-sabotage happens when you do certain things that were adaptive at one point in your life (childhood, toxic relationships, etc.), but are no longer needed. However, you can overcome it if you learn how to rewire your brain for happiness.
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Things you can do to rewire your brain for happiness
1. Recognize self-sabotage
A lot of people are probably wondering how to stop self-destructive behavior, but they don’t know how to do that. And I think the reason they don’t know how to do that is that they’re not aware of all those self-destructive patterns that appear in our daily lives.
Naturally, we keep sabotaging ourselves without even knowing it. Before we learn how to overcome self-sabotage, let’s talk about these self-sabotaging patterns first.
You’re probably not experiencing all of them, but I’m sure you’ll recognize at least one of them. Recognizing sabotage is the key to stopping it.
A catastrophic mindset is a thought pattern that makes you think that only uncomfortable or even horrible events will take place in the future. A catastrophic mindset disproves all reasonable perceptions of reality. You will make a mountain out of a molehill.
Putting other people’s interests ahead of your own. You believe that your own vital interests and needs are less important than those of other people. You’ll take care of yourself only after you’ve taken care of everybody else first. Behind all of this lies the attempt to please everyone.
A repressed mindset follows the if-then principle. If I do this, then that happens. You’re setting conditions for events that you have no control over. You DON’T know what’s going to happen and you should not pressure yourself. This causes negative inner tension.
Critical mindset. What I mean by that is perfectionism, looking for mistakes, and endless whining. You divide yourself, other people, and situations into categories.
You label them as right or wrong, good or bad, and so on. You’re wasting your mental energy thinking about what should be, not what is.
Problems with self-esteem and the tendency to underestimate yourself often come from the inner habit of setting the bar for yourself and other people too high, which will result in overwhelming pressure.
A mindset that obeys the rules. Your inner guard sets the main rules and hints that you’re protected only if you follow these rules. You’ll often use conditional statements.
“If he really loved me, he would call me every day.” You’re disappointed in yourself if you don’t follow these rules. This way, you’re also limiting your prospects.
Distrustful mindset. A distrustful mindset makes you think that it’s better not to rely on other people or their motives. You think that no one can be trusted.
A mindset that’s too encouraging. Constantly encouraging yourself can put you under the same pressure as constantly criticizing yourself.
You expect yourself to be positive, fun, and optimistic all the time and everywhere. Personal problems are not allowed, but other people’s problems are also suppressed.
2. Decide to change
If you want to know how to overcome self-sabotage and rewire your brain for happiness, you need to decide to make the change. There are two natural skills that you need for a systematic change.
These skills are so powerful that they can change your entire life if you use them with full awareness.
One of these skills is the ability to always take full responsibility for things that you think about and say. No one can ever take that skill away from you. Being an adult means being in charge of yourself and your life and approaching your decisions and actions with that mindset.
The other skill is concentration, or the ability to pay attention. If you can completely direct your attention to something, you’ll reveal your full learning potential.
If you’re free, open, and concentrated, your brain and body can achieve unbelievable things. You always have to consciously decide what to spend your time on and focus your attention on that.
You can monitor your mindset. Everything starts with a decision. Without a decision, there’s no chance for change. You have the freedom to change, but you also have the freedom to stay in your comfort zone, which makes you feel safe but also limits you.
If you want to stop sabotaging yourself and improve your life, then you have no option but to take your life seriously and work on those thoughts that you use to sabotage yourself. By sabotaging yourself, you’ll never achieve the best quality of life.
3. Use some well-known techniques
Every time you notice that you’re having a self-sabotaging thought, use one of these techniques to stop sabotaging yourself.
To fight self-sabotage, you need to bravely look it in the eye. The goal is to ignore its messages and understand that this disparaging mindset does not fit into this period—it’s old and unreasonable.
What helps is recognizing self-sabotage and then fighting back. Accept it, but stay aware that you’re changing it.
As soon as you have an unwanted thought, shout to yourself (in your mind) “STOP.” You can actually say the word “stop” out loud if that helps you.
If you shout “stop” immediately when you start sabotaging yourself, and if you do it in an aggressive tone, you’ll soon start to see the sabotage disappear. Restrictive thoughts are pushed aside.
Focus on the physical feeling. That helps you rewire your brain for happiness. If you have catastrophic thoughts, try focusing on your breathing. Then notice how your legs feel on the ground. Feel how your foot is connected to the ground.
If you’re lying down, then focus on how your back and bottom rest on the ground beneath you. If you focus on your breathing, legs, back, and bottom at the same time, you’ll realize you’re not stuck in those destructive thoughts anymore.
Thinking about two feelings at the same time is a good way to stop self-sabotaging yourself.
Go to the island of your thoughts. If you want to escape your toxic thoughts, imagine a place you’d like to go. Use all your senses while you’re visualizing this place.
Change your point of view and focus on other people. Dive deep into conversations and show interest in other people.
If you ask yourself how this other person acts, what they care about, and who they are, you’ll end up caring less about what they might think about you. Always ask yourself whose problem it is. Who’s in control of this situation?
Surround yourself with people who encourage you, not discourage or involve you in their toxic mind games. You can choose who you’re spending your time with, and it’s crucial. To do that, you need to make an informed decision.
You can’t stop self-sabotaging yourself if you are in that kind of environment that makes you narrow-minded and puts you under constant pressure. It’s as good as constantly keeping your face near the tailpipe. Find an environment that helps you evolve and grow, not destroy you.
4. Two other decisions
After making the decision to stop sabotaging yourself, you need to make another two decisions that we talked about before. First, you need to start thinking like a responsible adult and therefore take responsibility for your thoughts and actions.
Secondly, you need to decide what you want to concentrate on in every situation. These two thought strategies are the key to reaching your full potential. Now I’m going to present you with questions you can use every time you’re wondering about how to overcome self-sabotaging.
“What would I do and think about in this situation if I looked at it from my grown-up point of view?”
“What am I responsible for in this situation?”
“What would I like to focus my attention on?”
“What would I like to do?”
If you want to change your mindset, you need to focus your attention on your inner guard. The inner guard is the one who prevents you from reaching your full potential because they think it’s too dangerous.
The first step is to retrain your inner guard. You always need a perspective that allows you to look at your behavior and the things that happen around you and draw appropriate conclusions from them.
It’s very dangerous if a person isn’t able to match themselves and their behavior intellectually with the rest of the world. Fortunately, this function of your inner guard is part of your innate biological system.
Mental observation and evaluation aren’t wrong; they’re actually very important. The only problem appears when that observation and evaluation are based on the wrong evaluation system.
Nowadays, our society is very secure and free, and for the first time, it is even expected. Old, outdated systems only cause problems.
People need a new system for personal assessment to monitor themselves and the world around them and draw new conclusions. All of that helps you rewire your brain for happiness.
It’s no longer necessary to act in the interests of the well-being of others. You should also stand up for your own needs. Switch from a passive to an active life.
To do this, the inner guard needs updates. Since their task is to direct a person according to the outside world, in order to achieve a good life, the guard must know what today’s world expects.
You shouldn’t simply create these principles by yourself. They must be related to the realities of the present. It’s important to see the world from a modern perspective and to notice the opportunities that everyone individually has. That is more than enough.
On the one hand, eliminating extremes means broadening your mindset and always keeping an adult perspective on the quality of life.
But what exactly is this “mature adult” attitude and perspective? Today, being an adult means more than using your mind independently. Being an adult means taking responsibility for yourself. Live and let others live.
Honesty, humor, and powerful feelings always turn you back into the person you really are. You know that your freedom and potential can either be used or wasted. You can either grow or fail. However, you will use your head, inner feelings, heart, knowledge, and abilities to build a full life.
Being an adult, you know that when problems occur, you should respond reasonably and make a new decision.
Living as an adult among adults means being independent and responsible for standing up for your own interests. You need to keep yourself informed and actively participate in life.
5. Set the quality of your life as your goal
Every way of thinking needs a goal toward which it is aimed. Otherwise, people would drown in the information around them. The path you choose determines what experiences you have and, thus, what kind of life you live.
I’m not going to say that sadness is a choice. However, you can always rewire your brain for happiness.
The goal of thoughts was once security and control. Today, the goal is to take legitimate and reasonable risks, seize opportunities, and be creative. All this is needed to live well in the 21st century.
If existential security is already widely available, then what could be the purpose of thought strategies? I would suggest a goal that forms a broad range of different emotions and would still be appealing.
Therefore, in my opinion, the best goal is not happiness but a higher quality of life. In the old way of thinking, people asked themselves, “What do I need to do to ensure security and control in my life?”
The new way of thinking is: “What is good for me? What decisions will improve my quality of life today and in the long run? What seems like a good and, at the same time, smart choice?”
The quality of life is not only about happiness but also about the ability to deal with difficult periods in life and overcome and resolve painful situations.
It includes the belief that, as adults, we have the character and resources to experience life in all its fullness intensely and to shape it productively.
Strength, satisfaction, creativity, and personal development are simply the most important values for a successful life. Everyone knows life and knows that it does not always include good feelings and positive experiences.
It consists of different shades and is more colorful than a flower bed in spring. Difficult situations help us grow, while comfortable and easy situations are usually the basis for a very boring life.
When people allow themselves to think freely without fear, they develop great goals and solutions completely independently.
This kind of reconfiguration may take some time. You must have a meta-perspective in order to smoothly remind your guard of his new task when there is a danger of falling into old patterns of thought.
Over time, it becomes apparent that there is less and less need to monitor your thoughts and less need to monitor the situation from a meta-perspective. Then you can trust your inner world again and no longer have to fear self-sabotage.
What does it mean for you? If you stop sabotaging yourself, end the authoritarian mindset and the use of language that comes with it, and start paying more attention to your mindset and your inner self, then you’ll start seeing your real potential and realize that every day, more and more.
Why should you choose the quality of your life? Because it includes all other values as well, including safety (depending on the situation). There are times in life when safety is the most important factor in achieving a high quality of life.
When you’re driving a car and it starts to slip while driving, you will attempt to quickly regain control of the vehicle. If you spend your last dollar and don’t want to be unemployed, you will consider doing work you don’t like for a short time.
As long as you know why you’re doing something, you’re increasing your quality of life immediately, not only in the future. It inspires you to keep working on this goal, even if you have to move mountains to get there.
6. Ditch the this-or-that mindset
Self-sabotage is characterized by an extreme way of thinking: good or bad, right or wrong, me or others, and so on.
The word “or” should be replaced with the word “and”, which leads to a whole new quality of thinking. That’s exactly the secret that teaches you how to rewire your brain for happiness.
Good and bad, right and wrong, me and others. It’s life. It’s full of synchronicity and things that exist at the same time, that are not extreme, not all good, and not all bad.
The world is no longer just on the vertical top-down axis but on the vertical and horizontal axes at the same time. Our mindsets should work in the same way.
What if you allowed yourself to be both successful and relaxed? What if you could have both a good career and an excellent relationship? Or let’s talk about some daily topics. If you wanted to lose weight, what if you could eat whatever you wished and still lose weight and enjoy life more?
Extreme thinking, thinking if-or, is one of the biggest obstacles you can set yourself. There are few things that would have a more explosive effect on the quality of life and potential if you started thinking using the words “and” or “and also” rather than “or”.
7. Things to remind yourself when you’re trying to stop self-sabotaging yourself
Nowadays, you do not have to obey orders and prohibitions. Like any other person, you have the right to realize yourself and strive for a good and fulfilling life. This also applies to internal dialogue.
It would be good to stop talking in a commanding or submissive tone and communicate with yourself as a good friend: in an interested, open, honest, and loving way.
Society is safer than it’s ever been. People are now living longer lives than any previous generation. They have enough; they live a comfortable life, and they have access to cutting-edge technology.
When facing scenarios that are connected to fear or refusal, you must remember that the scare tactic was used by the authorities to make people work the way they wanted. Pay special attention to those moments when you are working against your wishes and desires out of fear.
You aren’t a slave who can just be conquered. You have the right to be seen and treated with respect. The same applies to how you see yourself. Pay attention to the tone and choice of words you use while speaking to yourself.
Insulting and offending yourself is not “nothing.” It reveals the mental atmosphere you carry with you. It’s the atmosphere you’re experiencing around yourself and inside yourself.
You’ll never be able to do absolutely everything, yet you can achieve much more than you thought you could. You’re not powerless or all-powerful, but you have all the necessary skills and opportunities to find solutions and efficiency, as well as the skills to find the necessary support.
You have the freedom not to torture or oppress yourself for your goals. You will achieve more when you are focused, calm, and carefree. Calmness and attention are more powerful than struggling.
Don’t be afraid that nothing can be done without pressure or that you are lazy if you don’t force yourself.
You have the freedom to not know everything while still being a respected individual living a secure life. Your life is already safe, and if you hang out with good people, then you’re always respected.
A lot of people say they don’t know how to stop self-destructive behavior because they keep blaming themselves for their mistakes. When you make mistakes, you’ve probably tried something new. Great! You’re still alive.
The word “perfect” means basically completed, fully done. As long as you’re alive, you’re probably imperfect because you’re constantly evolving and striving for better.
Enjoy that you can do much more than only whine. You have so many opportunities to start living and fixing your life. By whining, you’re robbing yourself of the energy you need to fully enjoy and improve your life. This is not a good way to stop self-destructive behavior.
There is no point in overestimating or underestimating yourself or others. Evaluation creates pressure. People will tense up under pressure, and they also can’t reach their full potential under pressure.
Your value is unlimited, no matter what you do or don’t do. Extra evaluation only confuses you and prevents you from achieving what is really important to you.
No one has the right to live at the expense of their potential. There is no point in sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others. It does not make the world a better place.
On the contrary, by giving up on your opportunities, you make the world a little poorer. When you realize your full potential, you have more to offer the world.
You shouldn’t be afraid that you’re being egoistic when you start taking actions based on your own beliefs. This tactic of denigration and evaluation has been used for centuries to subjugate people.
Who’s more likely to share food with other people? The person who’s hungry or the person who’s eaten enough?
By taking care of yourself, you ensure inner peace and ensure that you are there for others when they need help. The social activity starts with the individual, and how they are treated inside and out. People treat others the way they treat themselves.
8. Why should you stop sabotaging yourself?
When you make space for yourself and your needs, you’re also making space for other people.
If you leave a limited life behind to enter the wide world, you will also welcome others into this world. Many people find themselves in a crisis because they are not evolving and have found themselves in a situation where they feel trapped by mental barriers.
In this case, the goal is to recognize the next step in your development and move towards it. The next step in developing your life is another step towards improving the quality of your life.
If you sacrifice yourself on behalf of others and take care of yourself only when no one else needs help, your quality of life is trampled underfoot. That’s not how you stop self-sabotaging yourself.
Your inner mental life gets a whole new quality if you think constructively, not destructively. Spiritual barriers disappear, and the tone of the inner voice is not self-sabotaging, depressive, or aggressive but becomes curious, constructive, encouraging, and interested.
Instead of instructing yourself in a commanding tone, you are now giving yourself advice, asking important questions, and analyzing your experiences in a constructive way.
Loss doesn’t mean denying your worth. An error or mistake is a constructive way to learn and try something new.
If you’ve understood how to overcome self-sabotaging with this new way of thinking, you will achieve internal stability, which allows you to keep your head up every day and move around the world as a free, confident adult.
It promotes competence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy both at home and at work.
With this attitude, you will become a better partner, parent, friend, leader, colleague, and client. You don’t have to bow in front of anyone anymore, and no one does it in front of you. The result is clear: quality of life leads to success.
How to overcome self-sabotaging once and for all
It’s true that when your inner and outer worlds finally adjust to each other and you’re mentally working with yourself, not against yourself, you’ll become like a new person. This inner clarity and harmony are visible.
To achieve this pure life and finally stop self-sabotaging yourself, you don’t need to wait until you’re old and wise. You can start right now.
What did you think of my blog post about how to stop self-destructive behavior? Did you find any new tactics to use? How do you rewire your brain for happiness? Let me know in the comments below!
I’m a personal growth and self-care expert, as well as an avid motorcycle enthusiast and coffee and sweets lover. Through Lauraconteuse, I provide insightful and practical advice on topics such as self-care, self-love, personal growth, and productivity, drawing from my very own extensive experience and knowledge in the field. My blog has helped countless people achieve their goals and live more fulfilling lives, and my goal is to continue to inspire and empower others.