So many of us struggle with behaviors that create more problems in our lives and that interfere with our goals. Self-sabotage is a part of so many people’s lives is it not? The answer is no. The first thing we need to do is to look at some examples of self-sabotage. We have something to do, but we procrastinate it. We hold onto addictions like binge eating or drinking. Consciously, we really want a relationship to work, but we keep pushing the other person away or doing and saying things to create conflict in the relationship. We consciously want a job, but we suddenly say things in the interview that makes the boss check us off his list of candidates.
Self Sabotage is essentially thoughts, words and actions (behaviors) that are self defeating. They work AGAINST you when it comes to attaining something that you want. Clearly you can see that self-sabotage is a reality. But I’m here to tell you today that it is not a reality. How can that be?
Consciousness can and does split itself. This means that even though we call our self by one name and therefore identify ourselves as being one unified thing, the reality is that we are more of an amalgamation of fragmented parts or selves. We are more like a mosaic or a stained glass window. Our degree of internal suffering is about the degree of harmony (or lack there of) between these internal selves. If you are experiencing self sabotage, it is because not all of your internal selves or parts agree with your conscious desires. One or more of them are resisting or opposing the parts that contain your conscious desires.
I am making a bold claim. I am telling you that there is no such thing as an internal saboteur and there is no such thing as an internal abuser. If any of your internal parts or selves are resisting or opposing your desires, or if any of them are hurting other parts of you in any way, it is because they think it is in your best interest for them to do so. In other words, they believe they are saving your life by not going along with the plan. For this reason, we cannot say that they are against you. They just don’t agree with the rest of you about how to be FOR you.
Here are some examples:
We have something to do, but we procrastinate it. In this scenario, one fragment or part within us (the one we are consciously identified with) has made the decision to do something. The other part thinks that doing that thing will lead to discomfort or some kind of pain. Therefore, it is trying to prevent you from experiencing that pain by keeping you from doing it.
We hold onto addictions like binge eating or drinking. In this scenario, one part (the one we are consciously identified with) has decided it is committed to stop the addiction. The other part believes that the life you want is not actually possible to achieve and so it thinks that letting go of the addiction will simply make it so you are in hell alone and now have to just sit in the agony of that misery permanently. It would rather you have the Novocain so to speak.
Consciously, we really want a relationship to work, but we keep pushing the other person away or doing and saying things to create conflict in the relationship. In this scenario, one fragment or part within us (the one we are consciously identified with) has made the decision to be in a relationship an make it work. Another part knows that relationships have been so painful in the past and that it has been abandoned and therefore thinks abandonment is inevitable. So it is trying to save you from the pain of getting attached to something you are inevitably going to lose.
You consciously want a job, but you suddenly say things in the interview that makes the boss check you off his list of candidates. In this scenario, one part of you has decided the best idea is to work at that job. The other part thinks that job is not what you should be doing. That it is in the opposite direction of your authentic essence. And that therefore life will be drudgery and effort if you take that job.
- Self hate. That’s where you think you have me beat right? Obviously self-hate is the exception to the rule. Think again. When you discover the parts involved in self hate what you find is that a person internalizes their external abuser. Essentially, one part feels that by hating and punishing and therefore trying to get another part to change, it is preventing them from getting that hate and disapproval and shaming and punishment from the outside, from another person. By doing so, it is trying to get the person the love they so desperately need from the outside.
Metaphorically speaking what any form of self sabotage always has in common is that one part thinks the answer to a good life and happiness is going left and another part thinks that going left is literally the road to ruin. But what you must see is that both parts actually have your best interests at heart. We have to understand that no part within us is actually against us. We need to approach the issue with this understanding to create alignment within us between these opposed parts.
There are limitless possibilities for why a part is opposed to our conscious desires. But in order to move beyond the behaviors we call self-sabotaging, we must see the self-preserving nature of them. We must empathize completely with the parts within us that think our salvation is in the opposite direction of our conscious desires.
One of the best methods for exploring this part is that we can close our eyes and ask to see this part that is doing the self-sabotaging behavior in our minds eye. The one that is procrastinating or causing conflict in the relationship or is showing up to things late or is screwing up interviews. We let the image of that part appear however it appears. If it helps us, we can see if this part within us has a name. We can begin to observe it and study its behaviors and perspectives and wants and needs and motivations. We can ask it questions. We can explore its relationship to other parts within us.
Alternatively, we can let go of being identified with the perspective of that thing we want being what is good for us and instead, choose to fully become only that part within us. If you do it this way, you are deciding to allow the consciousness of only that part to take over your body. As if it were another person within you and you were getting fully into its perspective only. State internally to yourself or choose with your intention, “I accept to become the part of me that fill in the blank.” Such as “I accept to become that part of me that shows up late”. Or “I accept to become the part of me that wants to keep drinking”. Then surrender and allow the energy of that part of you that shows up late to fill in the spaces within your whole body. Then, you can write as that part. You will write in terms of “I” but, “I” will be this part speaking, not you. Don’t think about the answers you give, just give them as if you are doing a steam of consciousness exercise. Know that anything that is said or felt during this exercise is valid and has appeared for an important reason.
The goal is to seek to find a way for both of these opposed parts of you to agree upon a course of action. It is as if our objective mind acts as a benevolent mediator who can empathize with both sides and whose goal is to find a way for both sides to win or feel good with a course of action or decision. Be open to the idea that by exploring that part’s perspective that you may change your mind about what you actually ant or what is actually right for you to do.
We will see an end to the ‘self sabotage’ when we choose to resolve the pain contained in this part that is keeping it fragmented from the rest of us. We can meet its needs with our imagination and subsequently implement the changes this part of us needs in our day-to-day life. We can also improve the relationship that this part has with the part within us that it is opposed to. By doing this, we create internal peace and integration. We can restore ourselves back to a state of internal peace.
If we experience self sabotage, we fear ourselves and we distrust ourselves. But there is no reason to feel this way towards yourself. Even the parts within you that seem to be hurting you, are actually doing so because they think it is in your best interests. This means that even if they disagree on the general strategy for how to make you feel good and live the best life possible; this is what they all ultimately want. They want you to feel better. They want you to live the best life possible. And so, because of the purity of their intentions for you, it can be said that there is really no such thing as self sabotage.