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The Fine art of Sabotaging Self

Author: By Yukthi

Self- Sabotaging is defined as the ability to “deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct something” (Oxford dictionary). Sounds pessimistic, doesn’t it? But a lot of us practice it diligently day in and day out, year after year. We get programmed since childhood to listen to this non-stop tape inside our heads that speaks to us in the form of an inner critic. It’s the voice that pinpoints what’s wrong with us, why can’t we succeed despite working hard and how things will not be any different. The constant chatter, though sometimes pushes us to do better, can backfire by bringing the focus on failures if practiced excessively. What makes it worse is that we don’t even recognize that it is even happening.

In this era of social media, possessiveness about public image and validation of self from others through photo likes etc. dominating our lives, one should be feeling elated and content. However; it can leave people feeling emptier, confused and devoid of any self -love and value.

The way we interact with ourselves determines not only our personality and life course but it also sets the tone of our future relationships in life. When we are finding faults in ourselves, it can lead to a conscious or unconscious belief that we are underserving of love, unworthy of achieving the goals we set for ourselves and hence can impede our ability to tackle life situations. The self-defeating cycle of beating oneself hard through often baseless assumptions, conclusions and biased judgements creates a negative motivation loop. With every failed attempt, we are proving to ourselves that we are incapable of being good at anything.

Do you engage in self –sabotaging behavior? Do you become your own worst enemy by reinforcing the negative thoughts about yourself?

Interestingly, many studies show that there is a correlation between self-sabotaging behavior and self-preservation. This implies that when we do something directly opposite to what we are supposed to do (In this case, lift ourselves up rather than belittle) we create an excuse on which we can lay the blame. We now have a reason for why something didn’t work out. Our failures therefore are not a result of incompetence but they are an outcome of us choosing to spend our energies elsewhere.

Why do you self-sabotage?

When we are unable to handle the fear of getting emotionally hurt, we employ these mechanisms of self-protection in the form of self-sabotaging behavior. For instance, comfort eating, self-medicating, addictions are a few common means we use to deceive ourselves by ignoring the painful reality. Causing self -injury or getting high by abusing a drug is also done in extreme cases. But procrastination generally tops the chart when it comes too self-damaging behavior.

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