We've all heard the phrase “You are your own worst enemy”. Unfortunately, this is often true when we try to manifest a better life for ourselves. Whether we want to find love, lose weight, or complete a creative project, we can find ways to self-sabotage.
When you self-sabotage, you hold yourself back from the things you want the most by acting and thinking in ways that make you less likely to succeed.
But why do we do something so seemingly self-destructive and contradictory? And if you're doing right this right now, how can you stop so that you reach your goals?
In this article about self-sabotage, we'll unpack exactly why you might engage in self-sabotaging behavior and we'll offer you six techniques to help you overcome this habit.
By moving into a more consistently positive frame of mind, you can stop self-sabotage and begin to manifest the fulfilling life you desire and deserve.
Let's start by thinking about the roots of self-sabotaging behavior. It arises when two parts of you are at odds.
Specifically, when your conscious mind comes into conflict with your subconscious.
For example, your conscious mind might tell you that you should have a diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables. Your subconscious might tell you that eating a stack of candy bars is a great way to deal with stress.
Your subconscious is where your inner critic lives. That part of your brain that seems determined to hold you back and keep you stuck.
Most self-destructive behavior comes from this part of your mind telling you that you can't do a certain thing. Don't let that part of you hold you back and be successful in getting what you most desire.
But it's crucial to understand that the part of you that is a self-saboteur isn't trying to hurt you. Rather, this part of your subconscious mind is out to protect you.
It wants you to avoid painful negative experiences, so it encourages you to stick with the devil you know rather than actively pursuing new goals that might not work out.
In other words, when we take a closer look, when you learn to stop self-sabotage, it really is just self-preservation. The trouble is, that self-preservation keeps you small.
Now, let's consider the more fine-grained issue of self-sabotage during manifestation.
When you know what you want, you've set a goal and you're employing all the key Law of Attraction techniques in pursuit of that goal, why does your subconscious mind try to hold you back?
For instance, self-sabotaging examples include trying to manifest love but ignoring it when potential partners reach out or trying to manifest a new job and yet procrastinating when you should be working on your resume.
It's natural to get frustrated and disheartened when you're struggling to manifest, but try to remember that this happens to almost everyone who is first trying to use it for the Law of Attraction.
If what you want most of all just isn't coming to you yet, remember that patience and hard work will pay off.
Maybe you're doubting your manifestation power, there's a high chance that it's really your subconscious mind that's holding you back. If you can disarm your internal saboteur, you'll likely find that your manifestation power skyrockets.
But to disarm that part of yourself, you need to better understand it and engage with it. With this goal in mind, let's move on to techniques you can start using today.
So, how do you stop self-sabotage? For example, if I'm wondering how to stop sabotaging myself, I'll move into a more positive frame of mind overall.
It is only with this positivity in place that you'll be able to manifest better things. Here are six steps that will help you get there.
The best place to begin is to dig into what is truly holding you back from manifesting. What's stopping you from using the Law of Attraction to its full potential?
In all cases of self-sabotage, we have some desire we never seem to reach. As noted above, this is because some part of our subconscious is fighting against that to goal, in a misguided attempt to protect us.
So, if you want to uncover your destructive behavior, you have to think about what that part of you believes, and why.
For example, imagine the rational part of you wants to be promoted, but your subconscious thinks it's safer not to. To gain a deeper understanding of this self-sabotage, first, write down examples.
Perhaps you habitually make yourself late for work, or you turn in imperfect work by waiting until the deadline to begin projects.
Armed with a list of the self-destructive things you do, challenge yourself to make a new list of the things your subconscious might be afraid of in this scenario, and why.
To take the work case again, you might note that you're afraid you can't handle responsibility because your parents couldn't. Or perhaps your subconscious fears your peers won't respect you, as you were bullied at school.
This deeper understanding is the first step toward making changes.
The next step you need to take involves transforming these negative habits into positive ones. Like bad habits, good habits take time to establish, but over time they become second nature and no longer require conscious effort.
Here are some of the most common self-sabotaging habits, along with tips for combatting them:
Procrastination: Rather than making a careful plan weeks in advance and creating something that represents the best of your abilities, procrastinators leave everything until the last minute.
If this sounds like you, try setting smaller, more manageable deadlines.
You can also experiment with the ‘Pomodoro' technique, in which you do timed blocks of work interspersed with relaxation breaks.
Perfectionism: If you have perfectionist tendencies, you will often let opportunities pass you by entirely, due to believing there will be a “perfect time” to act.
Try to internalize the lesson that perfection is impossible. One thing that can help here is trying to think of three role models you deeply admire, but who are clearly imperfect.
Negative self-talk: If you have a loud inner critic, you have an internal dialogue that points out your mistakes and alleged limitations.
Make an effort to explicitly respond with the opposite, arguing against that self-destructive inner voice.
As well as replacing old, bad habits with productive new ones, now is a good time to start thinking about making bigger changes.
In particular, think about how you could work toward a more positive mindset by amending your average day.
Affirmations are a good example of how you can start the day in an optimistic frame of mind. Think of phrases that build you up and make you feel good, and recite these into the mirror as soon as you get up.
Creating a vision board is another fantastic way to boost overall positivity. Most Law of Attraction practitioners suggests this is one of the most effective techniques for kickstarting manifestation.
All this requires is a corkboard on which you can stick images, text, and art that represent the life you want to live. Anything is fair game, as long as it helps you better imagine who you're going to become, and how it will feel.
Meanwhile, consider ending the evening with an entry in a gratitude journal. This involves writing down a few things that inspire gratitude each day, focusing on the small blessings that life brings.
With time, this habit encourages your subconscious to tune into the positive, beautiful aspects of the world around you.
While the first tip above helps you to build an understanding of why and how you've been self-sabotaging.
It takes careful and sustained self-reflection to move past self-sabotage in the longer term.
In particular, you need to monitor how you're feeling, and whether you're falling back into old habits.
One way you can consistently self-reflect is by keeping a daily journal in which you write unfiltered entries about your experiences.
Once a week, review the entries to see if you pick up on any interesting insights or patterns. Even short entries (of 1-2 paragraphs) can be helpful in this respect.
It's also useful to increasingly deepen your understanding of your self-sabotage. So, for example, return for a moment to the case of self-sabotage at work due to fear of responsibility.
Imagine that you've traced this fear of responsibility back to me experience you had in childhood, in which you somehow internalized the belief that you can't handle responsibility and will fail.
Try to dig further into that belief. Reacquaint yourself with the memories around it. Understanding what happened to you and why your thoughts are wired as they are can play an enormous role in helping you to reject outdated beliefs.
We've talked a lot in this article about how your subconscious mind tries to protect you. In particular, we've looked at how it can become a harsh inner critic that belittles you in a misguided attempt to keep you safe.
Consequently, it makes sense that changing that inner voice is a core part of fighting self-sabotage. If you find yourself engaging in consistently negative self-talk, we noted above that it's helpful to try replying to that negativity.
However, you can also use thought-stopping techniques to rob the inner critic of its power and give a positive inner voice center stage.
One thought-stopping exercise involves picturing a red stop sign or raised palms that tell the inner critic to be quiet. Other people find it more powerful to actually say “No” out loud, clearly and firmly.
You can also use anchoring techniques to turn your attention to the positive. Simply immerse yourself in a positive memory while touching your thumb to your forefinger.
If you do this enough times, the mere act of touching your thumb to your forefinger should connect you with that memory.
You can do this any time you feel your inner critic starting to overshadow your positive inner voice.
While exercises and techniques hold a lot of power when you're using the Law of Attraction, practical life changes are also important.
So, try to set life goals to increase your Law of Attraction power. The more you set them, pursue them, and achieve them, the more you believe in your own manifestation potential.
And, as you already know, the more you believe in your manifestation potential the better you are at attracting positive, new things into your life.
How, then, should you approach this goal-setting? One popular approach involves outlining aims for every single day.
These don't need to be major – they can just involve small contributions to overall health and well-being. For example, you might set a certain amount of exercise as a goal for tomorrow, along with reading a chapter or a book and spending an hour developing your resume.
The point is that you can rewrite your old, limiting beliefs by showing yourself how capable and effective you are.
Overwhelmed by avoidance of evidence that you are organized, successful, and driven, your subconscious begins to move away from the self-destructive protection mode. In other words, you learn to trust yourself.
If you feel anxious about setting bigger goals, try to break them up into a series of smaller goals. For example, “Find a partner” gets broken down so that the first goal is just “Join a dating website.”
And even that smaller goal can be broken down so that today you just need to meet the goal of signing up, and tomorrow you can meet the goal of filling out a profile.
Your internal self-saboteur is less likely to be activated by these more manageable goals.
By this point, you've developed a deeper understanding of how self-sabotage works.
In particular, you know why your subconscious prompts you to do seemingly self-destructive things, and you're armed with some proactive steps you can take in order to kickstart different behavior.
A further step you can take involves focuses on personal confidence. It helps to build and enhance your sense of self-worth.
This will serve you well in any area of manifestation, as well as supporting resilient mental health and promoting happiness.
However, it's often trickier than it sounds. Many of us find it easier to think of dozens of reasons to doubt ourselves, and have to work a good deal harder to think of why we should be confident and assertive.
So, what can you do if you want to improve your manifestation potential by significantly boosting your self-confidence?
If you've been trying everything from above and still feel like you could use some extra help with confidence, this could be the extra trick that helps to change your subconscious mind.
Self-hypnosis is only effective if you genuinely want to change. Self-hypnosis can't make you do anything you don't want to do.
Rather, it leads your mind into a relaxed, calm state in which you're open to suggestions. In so doing, it gets under your subconscious mind's defenses, helping you take those final steps towards the self-confidence you've always deserved.