Why we self-sabotage.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written a lot about success. But before I move on, I feel that it’s important to talk about why we self-sabotage. I’ll have clients who are so close to success that they can taste it, who’ll come in the next week and tell me they’ve done something catastrophic… metaphorically blowing up their lives. Hell, I’ve done it to… snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
It’s never just simple, is it? Otherwise we’d all be happy, healthy and successful all the time. Many of us have actual resistance to success. Sure we fear failure, but if you offered us success on a silver platter we’d probably slap it out of your hands and run in terror.
Here’s what I uncover with my clients.
Some of us fear that if we finally achieve success, if we wake up one morning and say “today I am a success,” that we’ll lose motivation. We’ll stop achieving and just become lazy.
Some believe that if we become successful that we’ll also become arrogant or bitchy… or at least that’s how people will perceive us. We equate success with pushing people away and being alone.
Some of us just have a weird superstition about it, like someone is watching and if we’re too successful in one place they’ll balance the scales somewhere else in our lives (this is an idea I can’t wait to do some more research into … because as bonkers as it sounds, it’s really common!).
Some of us are just really comfortable in struggle. The novelty of success is too scary, we’d have to figure out what to DO with all that good fortune… better to just stay here in struggle where we know what’s what.
Some of us straight up believe that we don’t deserve to be successful. We’re too flawed, to broken.
Some of us have all of these beliefs.
And if you’re carrying messages like these in your heart-of-hearts, self-sabotage is not only adaptive and inevitable… it makes sense. It’s protecting you from having to confront these beliefs and the emotions and circumstances that put them in your psyche.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick, universal fix for this stuff that I can summarize in an article. Each of us pack our particular baggage in unique and complex ways, that need to be unpacked in an equally unique way. But if you find yourself coming up against beliefs like this, congratulations.
Seriously, most people don’t even realize that this is why they’re struggling. They blame the world or circumstances and ignore that part of them is terrified of succeeding. Awareness is half the battle.
Now that you’ve got it, just know, you’re not alone. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m willing to bet everyone’s had at least one of these blocks at some point in their lives.
Over time, if you continue to build your awareness of what your hurdles are while challenging yourself to grow AND providing yourself with safety and support, you’ll get there.
This article is part of a series on our relationship with success. Read all the articles in order with these links.
Here are links to all the published articles in this series: