End Self-Sabotage and its Many Forms and Disguises

by Aileen

personal kaizen successHow long will you prevent yourself from flying free because you fear stepping off the ledge?  Maybe you’ve leaped without a net before, and the fail and the fall were more than you thought you could handle. 

How long will you stand at the edge of the high dive, looking into the water below? Will you jump, or will you turn around and walk down rung, by rung, even though there’s a line with a person on every step?

How much hurt will you endure, before you stand up for yourself? How much unnecessary pain, humiliation and discomfort will you endure because you cannot seem to speak up for yourself, or standup for yourself? …yet knowing that beyond the fear and awkwardness, lies the reward of personal freedom.

How long will you wait to be saved, until you save yourself?

How long will fear prevent you from doing the things you need to do, & the things you want to do?

how long will you choose to go without, rather than face awkwardness and embarrassment?

How long will you silence your voice, when you’re screaming inside with poignant words dying to be said?

How long will you hold back, and not dance full out because if you’re afraid that if you really try, and really go for it, you won’t be good enough?

How long will you do things half-assed, because you need the excuse that you didn’t really try? Is it too hard to bear the possibility of giving it your all only to find it didn’t work out? Is it worth never knowing whether or not it could have worked out the way you dreamed, or even better?

When will you finally live true to yourself, not just once in a while, or sometimes, but consistently?

How much success do you need until you’ll finally feel like a success? How many times will you negate your past successes and keep yourself entangled in the self-inflicted torture of being less than your capable of?

When will you stop putting yourself down, and finally start consistently loving yourself?

Don’t say “Later” because “later” may never come. Years and decades can pass by quickly, and this deep internal shift doesn’t just magically happen “overtime.”  It takes conscious decisions, and conscious action.  …and it doesn’t happen on one big grandiose day, when poof you never have to “learn” it again.

The only way to wake-up from the nightmare of self-defeat and end the pattern of self-sabotage is to make the commitment to be the best you can be. Make the promise to yourself every morning when you awake, and evening before you sleep. Make the commitment consistently, daily, until it becomes reality, and then… continue, so that you never return to living a life that’s less than what you were born to live.

It doesn’t matter if you stumble along the way. It doesn’t matter if you “mess up” on your commitment, just re-commit. Get back up and push past the defeating behavior and impulses.

“Fall down nine times, get up ten.” 
― Japanese Proverb

End Self-Sabotage

 1. Encourage – Encourage yourself, and celebrate your successes no matter how big or how tiny they may seem.

2. Affirm – Do not beat yourself up when you fall backwards, no matter how tempting it is. Self-berating is an addictive form of sabotage that can feel like you’re pushing yourself toward success by using pain and pressure for motivation. It won’t help because the issue is the healing of your mind. Affirm your postive progress.

3. Plan – Write down your action plan. Celebrate every positive step and every positive success. You can track the “failures” or misses, but only if you write down how you’ll handle it differently next time, and don’t use it to beat yourself up.

4.  Patience – Remember it’s harder to unlearn a habit than it is to create one from scratch. Be patient with your process. Chart your progress, and keep going!

5. Courage – When you’ve denied yourself for too long, it can be terrifying to tell the world (by your actions) that you are good enough. It can feel so vulnerable, and it can feel like your stretching out of your own skin. It may even feel like self betrayal, since you’re about to become something different than the “self” you’ve identified with for so long. Your body may shake, nausea may arise, you may stumble and tumble before you even go for it. Be courageous, keep getting back up and stepping a bit further toward the goal. Courage often doesn’t feel good while we’re using it, only afterwards when we’re looking back at the wild crazy steps we took

Brian Tracy said, “Most people achieved their greatest success one step beyond what looked like their greatest failure.”  The important thing is that you keep going.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes, how often you find you took two steps backwards. This is your life and your life experience. It is worth the journey even if the journey starts as painful, tedious, and frustrating…. Know it will become easier over time.

You are worth it!

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

David Stevens April 10, 2012

Hi Aileen,
“Committment” is a Big word here among the many important words you have included. Commit to living a full Life with no excuses…that’s a good starting point for mine. Congrats on this post.
be good to yourself
David Stevens´s last [type] ..Living Life Today – Excuse me, there’s a fly in my soup


Aileen April 13, 2012

Thank you David. I believe one of the reasons it can feel like making a deep life change is “impossible” is because as human beings sometimes we drop that commitment to self and the commitment to do the little things that create lasting change over time.
It is a key word and key ingredient


Betsy at Zen Mama April 10, 2012

What a wonderful post! To move forward in life you must give up self sabotage. Love your tips, especially courage!!

Your post reminds me of the Thomas Edison quote: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Betsy at Zen Mama´s last [type] ..How To Calm Your Monkey Mind


Aileen April 13, 2012

I love that quote!! I remind myself of it each time I get frustrated with things that look like failures or misses – just one more way to cross of the list in the process of evolving ones success :)


Fran Sorin April 11, 2012


My internal voice kept on saying ‘yes, yes, yes’ as I read this article. You offered on target questions with such an important message. I identified with what you wrote.
The Brian Tracy quote, which I’ve never heard, is a keeper.
Fran Sorin´s last [type] ..How 18 Top Bloggers Turn An Ordinary Day Into An Extraordinary One


Aileen April 13, 2012

:) Thank You Fran


Brad April 11, 2012

Hi Aileen,

Nice post & reminders for me. I really like your whole process of encouragement, to planning, acting, celebrating, courage, and patience. Progress has become a new theme for me as a way to celebrate the movement).
I’ve gotten stuck in fear & indecision many times in my life. I’m learning that making a choice ( sometimes any choice) & taking action is key for me.

Brad´s last [type] ..The Power of Choice


Aileen April 13, 2012

Hi Brad. Getting stuck in fear & indecision do happen but as long as we don’t stay stuck too long – but we wiggle around until we gain our ability to move out of stuckness and into action. Sometimes it feels we don’t know what action to take – but I’ve learned almost any and all positive action works to help us out – from there we get more clear and take even better more accurate action. Heck sometimes I just get out for a walk, re-commit to the gym – take action by moving around physically and that even helps get unstuck. Although – those aren’t necessarily the action steps to growing my business or finding permanent courage in life, they get me unstuck – which is a step towards the bigger dreams getting fulfilled


Vidya Sury April 11, 2012

Aileen, I enjoyed the questions at the beginning – they almost sounded lyrical to me. The tips are great. Everyone could benefit from reading this. Thank you!


Aileen April 13, 2012

Thank you Vidya – in my mind it was lyrical, rhythmic, poetic – but I never know when it leaves my head and goes onto the page will it still have that feel – and will others feel it.


Galen Pearl April 11, 2012

There are so many ways we do this to ourselves, often without even knowing it. Recognizing our “shadow beliefs” is the first step to ending these habitual patterns. You’ve given some great advice here. Thank you.
Galen Pearl´s last [type] ..Code to Joy


Aileen April 13, 2012

“Recognizing our “shadow beliefs” is the first step to ending these habitual patterns.” Absolutely!!!!!!!! It’s such an awesome and inspiring thing to know that these patterns can come out from the darkness and into the light of consciousness – and… be resolved – allowing us to live as free as possible :)


FITskitz April 13, 2012

I connected to your site through Change Your Thoughts site. I saw a reference to your self sabotage post and I just posted about self sabotage related to health & fitness specifically. Funny how I read YOUR words and realized how much I must keep up the courage in a world (on-line) that is so different than what my generation grew up with. It is hard to KEEP up the courage! I believe life’s challenges aren’t as much about commitment but about RE-commitment over and over and over again! Hoping to build some on-line relationships in the process of learning the ropes from those that do it well!
Susan O


Aileen May 6, 2012

“I believe life’s challenges aren’t as much about commitment but about RE-commitment over and over and over again” Yes, I agree with you. The magic happens when we re-commit – especially after we fall back a few steps. We get back up again and re-commit and little by little our courage grows, our new habits grow and we become more of the person we want to be and less of the person we didn’t want to be.

Often times progress is slow and intermittent. It’s not linear, it’s not eve moving forward. Progress looks like it has many fails and falls along its journey.


Kareem May 4, 2012

yeah, i dunno, i just turned 37 on april 9th … lets see, my credit score is 538, i just got released from a two day stay in jail, i will probably have to go to prison for 5 years for getting high again. i came out of jail with the charges dropped but probation wont care… my mothers car was stolen over the two day period and everything i own is gone, my book ive been writing for three years, all my school work, screen play, all my clothes, childhood pictures, ive got a 15,000$ debt, and i have no place to live here in a minuet, im addicted to drugs and alcohol and now will probably fail out of school and my cinema degree, my family has dis-owned me, most my friends desserted me, …. out of disapiontment mostly, ive never stole a thing in my life nor ripped anyone off. i have diverticulitis, and am at high risk of colon cancer, im underwieght depressed clincly ,broke, and if you can give me one reason to live in the next twenty damn hours, ill be surprised, tic…. toc


Aileen May 6, 2012

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials” Chinese Proverb

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” Nelson Mandela

If choices got you where you are today, than choice can get you out. We must not look externally for reasons to live, it’s a desire that must come from within. There are endless amounts of people who have chosen to rise above difficult times and adversity – and they reason they were able to make it happen was they found the reasons within themselves. When one has nothing, one still has the chance to build a fulfilling life for one’s self. It’s not easy. And no one can tell you what makes the journey worth it, it something you can only find inside yourself. I don’t know that I can give any one person a reason to live, that’s something one can only give to oneself.

If you can find some things to be thankful, and connect with gratitude – that should help you find your reasons, and your inspiration.


Michael May 20, 2012

Great article and the timing could not be better for me. I just read this tonight, and it “spoke” to me as if I had requested to be reminded that I do have control of my life, I just need to decide to take it!

Thanks so much for sharing this with us all, I am sure it helped more than just me!


Michael´s last [type] ..Harvey Fierstein on Marriage


Aileen May 25, 2012

Hi Michael. I’m so glad it resonated with you. Life has amazing experiences it can only share when we move past moments & habits of sabotage.


DD March 6, 2013

Hi, I have been suffering from self sabotage for some time now. I have so many visions for my life but never follow through. When things become difficult or scary I shut down. I recently met someone and only after two months am looking for everything that could be wrong in our relationship instead of just enjoying getting to know him. I create such anxiety that it is taking the fun out of it and creating doubt. I do not understand why I just cannot enjoy. Your suggestions would be appreciated.


Aileen March 7, 2013

Please know that I come from a sincere place of love when I say that sabotage is choice.
It may not feel that way because it may have become a habit.
The thoughts we have, the words we say, the emotions we feel direct our experiences. Instead of saying ” I have been suffering from self sabotage for some time now” change that to, “I once had a habit of sabotage and now I choose to love myself by choosing all that is good. I now walk away from the temptation to sabotage, and feel so strong for doing so.”
Instead of saying ” I have so many visions for my life but never follow through” change that to “In the past I’ve let myself down by not following through, I now choose to be kind to myself. I take consistent small steps, and take special care to follow thorough with all worth-while projects and goals. If I’ve changed my mind and no longer desire that goal or dream, I let it go. I trust that I know when to continue towards a dream/goal and when to let it go and walk away.

Regarding your new blossoming relationship, KNOW your “past” habit, recognize it and refuse to let it win this time. You are stronger than any habit you’ve created. You can do this! Each time the anxiety starts, put one hand on your heart, and the other hand over your belly and say “I love and trust myself. I am open to experiencing this new journey. I enjoy the fun, I give myself permission to enjoy this.” Feel your heart beat, feel your belly rise and fall with each breath – this will connect you with your center & your inner strength.
Know, that all people have within them a hero and a saboteur. At times all people feel conflicted. Those who chose not to sabotage, simply chose to let their inner hero win… one battle at a time. Each day the saboteur may pop up, and may pop up several times a day. It’s your job to say “NO.” “Not this time. This time I choose to be the hero. This time I win.”
You do not need to suffer any longer. You can end that habit, by simply disciplining your mind. Each and every time you feel sabotage or anxiety coming on, say “No. Not this time” and connect to your inner strength – it’s in there! Some days you’ll be more successful than others, just get back up when & if you fall. You owe it to yourself to live an empowered, fulfilling life. Make that choice and make it often :)


Catherine March 7, 2013

Aileen, this post was great – so generous and helpful, with practical suggestions that can be applied from today….thank you.


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