We think self sabotage is a mindset. But self sabotage is actually an action - or inaction that you take motivated by a thought and then a feeling about a situation.
The distinction my coach makes is we think self sabotage is a circumstance - Meaning that it happens to us and that we have no control over it. But self sabotage is an action and when we are able to look at self sabotage as an action - we can get specific about what it looks like.
Characteristics of self sabotage.
The action of self sabotage is quitting, delaying, avoiding and denying. (To name a few). Self sabotage is getting in your own way. Self sabotage always has a short term payoff, it is an exchange for the ultimate longterm payoff. Self sabotage is the action you take against a result you want.
Let me show you.
Say I want to lose weight and I have decided that sneaking to the fridge to eat fried chicken leftovers needs to stop for me to do this.
But Friday night, at 12.30am and I wake up because I can't sleep, I think Jesus, I really need to sleep, and not being able to sleep makes me feel frustrated. And because I hate feeling of frustrated and want to avoid it at all costs, I get up and go to the fridge and open the fridge and scoff down some KFC.
The self sabotaging didn't just happen - it was a deliberate action I took to eat the fried chicken.
The circumstance was waking up during the night - I had a thought that this shouldn't be so - and because didn't want to feel frustrated, I avoided the feeling by taking a self sabotaging action to feel soothed, or calm or rewarded. I swapped the short term gain for the long term pay off. I ate the chicken.
Many clients think that self sabotage is a mindset - like some sort of chink in the minds armour - but its not. Self sabotage is the avoidance of experiencing an emotion (that we think is uncomfortable) on the way to getting something we want. (A goal - predetermined )
Its very easy for us to self sabotage - because of the way our brain is wired for comfort. Our base brain - our primal brain responds in such a rudimentary way - we think the need to react to discomfort is a truth. But really, it's just our primary brain butting up against our developed brain - our planning brain.
So whats the trick? How do we reroute our self sabotaging ways? Well, the first - as I said at the beginning of the post, is to recognise that self sabotage comes in the form of an action and not a situation.
The next thing to work at, is the deconstruction of the thought process going on behind feelings you want to avoid. (So - the thought that I shouldn't be awake at 12.30am -which created my frustration which drove my action to eat the fried chicken.)
Awareness of what's going on - stops us from feeling like a freak - like we have no power over what we do. This is key. To be aware that when we are going after a goal we will feel discomfort. And that we should expect uncomfortable feelings. Then we get to CHOOSE how we want to think about the feeling action cycle.
The best bit of advice that I can give you in this short post is to understand that in this human experience of life we will feel uncomfortable feelings. The trick is in learning to be able to process them when they occur.
Without doubt the process of claiming and pursuing goals will produce feeling we would unconsciously avoid. BUT thats because the bigger more uncomfortable goals we have planned will make us FEEl so much better.
Like being able to sit on a sun lounge without hiding your guts - because you were able to stop eating fried chicken at 12.30am Friday nights.