Most of us self-sabotage, but we don’t do it consciously. In this blog, I’d like to explain why we self-sabotage, how we can become aware of when we’re doing it and how to move beyond self-sabotage.
Positive energy is forever flowing in the Universe, always trying to flow through us at any given point in time. This is what allows us to grow and become more, and YET … it is us who blocks this energy from flowing through us. We could call this energy Qi, The Life Force, Shakti, Divine Intelligence, or light. This is what we access when we meditate, what flows through us when we receive reiki or kind words. It’s what is flowing through us when we feel joy, hope, confidence, optimism, compassion and love. So why would we want to block this energy from flowing through us?
Fear! The ego-mind is the disconnected self that is attached to its old stories. The ego-mind is fearful. If there is nothing to worry about, the ego-mind will look for something to become worried about. If things are going right, it will look for what is wrong. This is what creates underlying anxiety and mistrust that never quite allows us to feel safe and to trust that all is well and all will be well. The ego-mind doesn’t feel whole and complete. It is anti-growth, anti-expansion, anti-optimism, anti-infinite possibilities. It likes to focus on the worst possible scenario. Its comfort zone is anything from mediocrity through to full-on catastrophe.
If you are working on yourself and your consciousness, then you are in the process of becoming aware of and taming the ego mind. We can’t destroy it, because that very notion comes from the ego. Our True Self accepts everything including the ego! We must accept our ego mind, become aware of our ego mind and observe its fearful thoughts. Observe but not identify with the fearful thoughts.
So back to this positive flow of energy and how it wants to come through us and help us ascend into higher and higher versions of ourselves. The ego says NO! The ego likes its comfort zone, it likes its predictable patterns even if they are negative; the ego mind is comfortable with the drama, the negative thoughts and its attachment to worry and lack. And it’s a trickster – it will weasel its way into our consciousness in any moment of unawareness. All it needs is an opportunity to create a negative thought, which creates another negative thought and then another, creating a negative thought spiral.
We all have a victim story which the ego mind feeds off. The old saying “never argue for your limitations” is rubbish to the ego mind. It’s good to become aware of what that victim story is. In fact there may be quite a few stories. When we know what they are, we can become aware of when we’re reliving them. If we are not aware of the story, it feels real and it’s much harder to disconnect from it and observe it. It is this story that will show up when we’re sabotaging ourselves.
To the extent that we love ourselves and know ourselves, we will be sabotage-free. We sabotage ourselves primarily because we unconsciously want to stay in our comfort zone – even if that comfort zone is one of lack, failure, worry and misery. It’s a common pattern for most of us that when something positive happens and the positive energy wants to flow through us, we sabotage our circumstances and bring ourselves back down to our negative comfort zone. The ego mind only wants to stay in the known. It cannot bear being in the unknown (which is the field of infinite possibilities) for long, so it will create a sabotage so that we revert to our old vibration. That is why most lottery winners don’t stay wealthy for long and why many overweight people, unless they deal with the issues behind the weight, will revert to their old weight after going on a diet.
Here are the most common ways we sabotage ourselves.
Worry and negative thinking – this is by far the most common self-sabotage. We have been programmed over thousands of years to think in terms of the worst possible scenario in order to survive. Worry is usually not a sign that we’re thinking about something useful, and if there is nothing you can do about the issue you’re worrying about in the here and now, then it’s a sabotage.
Procrastination – waiting for the perfect time to do something, or finding other things to do rather than the thing you know you need to do. This is the ego attempting to stay in the known and not go beyond the comfort zone.
Blame or criticism – when we blame or criticise something or someone, it has nothing to do with the thing or the person we are criticising or blaming! Our ego is having its way so as to retard the flow of positive energy. Blame or criticism are addictions and they are very costly addictions. They are the Number One destroyer of intimacy in close relationships but also other relationships such as work.
Getting hurt – accidents aren’t random. Accidents are brought on unconsciously by the person who has the accident, sometimes as an act of self-sabotage. It may be self-punishment or a way of getting out of something. Example – a client had had a bike accident just before he was going away on a long trip with his wife with whom he wasn’t getting along with. Unconsciously, he was trying to get out of the trip.
Getting sick – Workaholics often get sick when they go on holiday because to relax and enjoy themselves is beyond their comfort zone. Another example – most people who get migraines will get them just as they are coming down from pressure and stress. Again, the ego mind is preventing them from expanding into something greater.
Squabbling – there’s nothing like creating a big argument to stop us from enjoying a golden moment, or getting closer to others, or to deepen a relationship. In fact the conflict can take on a life of its own going forward, ensuring that positive energy is blocked for some time.
Hiding significant feelings/not speaking significant truths to others – by withholding feelings (positive or negative) from those we care about, or not speaking our truth, we create an energy block because we are out of our integrity.
Not keeping agreements – breaking promises will sabotage any relationship, personal or business, and is usually a sign that you’re out of integrity within yourself.
Deflecting – you will crimp the flow of positive energy by avoiding it all together. How often have you received a compliment and not been able to receive it? This is deflecting positive energy. Many of us deflect significant opportunities for the fear of being out of our comfort zone.
So what can we do to address our self-sabotaging behaviours?
Through regular meditation, you become more aware of your own thoughts, reactions and behaviours.
Adopt a kind and playful attitude towards yourself and your shortcomings
Remember that we are de-programming from thousands of years of conditioning. We are only just waking up out of a self-limiting trance that has kept us in survival mode. We are now able to see that there are infinite possibilities, but clearing our sabotages is a process. Say to yourself every day “I commit to discovering my sabotages, and to having a good time while I’m learning about them.”
Commit to being consciously aware and on the lookout for sabotaging behaviours
We may understand this intellectually, but if we get comfortably numb, the ego mind will slip in and take you unawares. This is why I am passionate about learning to be present.
Take a few minutes out each day to reflect upon your day
- Reflect upon what felt good and what you achieved
- Give gratitude for that
- Reflect upon what didn’t feel so good and where you didn’t achieve
- Take responsibility for it
- Ask yourself whether your ego mind tried to limit you in any way today
- In what way did that play out?
- Is there a better way you could have handled the situation?
- Feel into your body and feel and sense where positive energy is attempting to flow through you
- As you sit with yourself, allow yourself to open up to all the love, abundance and joy that wants to flow through you right here, right now.
The more present and aware you become on a daily basis, the more you will be able to bring some spaciousness into the present moment when the sabotage is happening, and able to address it in that present moment. But if that is not possible for you right now, then creating some time to reflect upon your day as described above is a powerful thing to do.