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The You in us – From self-sabotage to success

Updated: Oct 22, 2019

The subconscious mind is one of the most powerful inner forces guiding human behaviour, controlling our automatic actions and reactions. You may even be surprised to learn every aspect of our life experiences is shaped by subconscious beliefs and how we interpret them. 

In early childhood, we develop coping strategies to survive in a world of misconstrued feeling, form, and emotion. Like "emotional armouring" these patterns of behaviour become habits and identify beliefs, intrinsic to our character and personality.

Exploring the subconscious and self-sabotage

Self-sabotage is behaviour that undermines your success despite your own wishes, dreams or values. The origin of self-sabotage is often linked with negative self-talk, low self-esteem, and other negative emotions that are strengthened by the resulting failure. Imagine self-sabotage as a slow-release narcotic – it feels good, numbing our discomfort and pain in the moment – but its insidious, long-term impact is self-defeating and destructive. 

Self-destructive habits manifest in the smallest of ways, such as dismissing compliments or turning down opportunities you don’t feel you deserve. The most common forms of self-sabotage include perfectionism, procrastination, lack of belief, attraction to emotionally unavailable partners, stress eating and self-medication, such as alcoholism. These habits are all based in our feelings of self-worth and symptomatic of deeper dysfunctions. 

Self-sabotage is like a slow-release narcotic – it feels good, numbing our pain and discomfort in the moment – but its insidious, long-term impact is self-defeating and destructive.

Take a moment to reflect on the ways you cope. The next time you feel as though you might be self-sabotaging, try this simple exercise: grab a pen and paper and write down exactly what you’re doing – thoughts, feelings, how you act and react. Then, try to understand what’s going on in those moments. Can you identify any patterns in your behaviour?

Stephen Scott Johnson_From Self-Sabotage to Success worksheet

It may seem really basic – awareness is the first step to personal transformation. Carl Jung described it perfectly: "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will control your life and you will call it fate." Simply changing your behaviour isn't a 'magic wand' to overcome self-sabotage, if you don't examine and change the emotions that cause it. But by reflecting on your behaviours, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs, and challenging the ones that stand between you and your goals – you can break the cycle of negativity. 

Until next time,


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