Do you ever find yourself taking actions that are counterintuitive to your goals? Do you feel like you're constantly getting in your own way? If so, you may be engaging in self-sabotage. Self-sabotage occurs when our conscious mind, which is logical and rational, conflicts with our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is known as the anti-self, that critical inner voice, which stops us and undermines our efforts and best intentions. Self-sabotage is any action that stands in the way of achieving your goals.
On the surface, self-sabotage is inherently counterproductive. Call it shooting yourself in the foot. Call it a prick in the eye. Call it kicking the ball into your own team's goal during the soccer world cup final. Call it posting compromising photos of yourself on the Internet.
People who self-sabotage can be aware of their actions. For example, a person who is overweight and on a diet could knowingly sabotage their good efforts by eating an entire box of ice cream. Self-sabotage, also known as behavioral dysregulation, can be conscious or unconscious depending on the level of consciousness. An example of conscious self-sabotage is deciding to eat cake, despite the goal of eating healthy. Unconscious self-sabotage occurs when a personal goal or value has been undermined but not initially recognized. Self-sabotaging behaviors can emanate from childhood models and patterns, including a parent who lacks confidence to succeed.
Naturally, you let go of self-sabotaging behaviors once you see that they don't serve what you are today. But when self-sabotaging behavior becomes persistent, it can lead you to face challenges in all areas of your life, including home, school, work, and relationships. Self-sabotaging behaviors that blind you to purpose generally fall into the “unconscious group”. Rather than focusing on whether spending time with them is useful for discovering and living your purpose or not, it's about evaluating whether spending time with them is useful for discovering and living your purpose or not. These self-sabotaging behaviors can be so deeply rooted that you perceive them as part of who you are. Judy Ho, author of Stop Self-Sabotage (201), describes self-sabotage as a biological response, once necessary for survival.
Now that you know where self-sabotaging behaviors come from, let's look at those that can prevent you from discovering your purpose. Self-sabotage can be seen as a pattern of thoughts and behaviors in which you participate, often without even knowing it, that creates obstacles to achieving your goals. Contrary to what society teaches you, this is self-sabotaging behavior that takes you away from your purpose and doesn't bring it closer to it. That's not because they don't have one, but because they're addicted to their self-sabotaging behaviors.