But in all these things we are victorious by him who has loved us. - Romans 8:37
Sometimes we forget just how powerful our subconscious minds can be.
We are often completely unaware of how our actions (or words) are affecting our lives. We may complain that things don't often work out for us, we can think we have bad luck, or that we just don't have what it takes to be successful.
What we fail to acknowledge is that we are actually creating our own circumstances through subconscious self-sabotage.
In order to overcome self-sabotage we first have to seek His Holy Spirit in prayer to explore our emotions and fears, and understand how they influence our actions. Once we have determined the cause of the destructive behavior, we can then take steps to prevent it from happening in the future.
What's really happening when we sabotage ourselves?
Subconsciously, we may be fearful of a particular outcome, even though we say we want it.
Take, for example, weight loss. Many overweight people have struggled for years, tried diet program after diet program, and still haven't lost the weight (or kept it off). They often diminish themselves, push themselves harshly, and try to force the weight off. But what's happening inside? Do they really want to lose the excess pounds? They may say they do, but what if their layers of fat are providing a sense of protection and security in an unstable world? What if they feel the need to cover up and conceal themselves? Losing weight then becomes a threatening, frightening possibility. So they might sabotage their diet efforts in order to avoid feeling too vulnerable and exposed. Even though they say they want to lose weight (and even believe they do) they still might set themselves up for failure by eating in secret, skipping exercise, and then making a promise that they'll try harder tomorrow, or Monday.
Others may be stressed by something as simple as starting a new job.
Did you know that there are a surprisingly high number of people who don’t even show up for job interviews, even for highly-desirable positions? Let's look at another example: Perhaps a stay-at-home-mom decides she needs to return to the workforce to earn money for her family. What she really wants is to stay home with her children, but she feels obligated to get a job outside the home. So instead of applying for the perfect position, she applies for jobs that she knows she's not suited for, or jobs that require hours that don't jive with her family's schedule so she has to turn down the job if it's offered. Subconsciously, that's her way of ensuring she won’t have to leave home, and at least she can say she "tried" to get a job.
Those who self-sabotage may also be afraid of what others will think of them if they actually do accomplish their goals.
They might not believe they're worthy of the results, so they act in ways that will ensure their failure.
These destructive efforts are mostly done subconsciously, so even the saboteurs have fooled themselves into thinking they know what they want.
If there is any question in their mind, any doubt, any fear, they will find a way to make sure it doesn't happen.
Perhaps this describes you?
Have you sabotaged yourself in the past? Are you still doing it now? Are you not able to move forward with your goals, no matter how hard you try?
Fortunately we CAN overcome self-sabotage. The most important step to stopping self-sabotaging behavior is to recognize that it's happening. We must develop a conscious awareness of our thoughts, emotions, and actions.
In the next post, we will discuss some suggested solutions for this pattern of self-fulfilling prophecy known as self-sabotage.