12 ways you are self-sabotaging.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


Bad neighborhood.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How many of these self-sabotaging things do you do?

1. Hold onto the past.

Most people know they have baggage, resentments left over from the past. You can choose to hold onto those resentments as a justification for your failures or you can decide to toss those bags, unpack that baggage and lighten your load. You can’t change the past but you can stop letting it dictate the future. Put those old hurts in the coffin and bury them.

2. Unfinished business.

You should have been something, you were supposed to get something but it never happened. You can stay hung up on those failures or you can finish off that leftover business. Didn’t get to finish that schooling you wanted, go back no matter what the age and finish up. That or decide that even if you had that education you never finished it would not be helping you today.

Those first loves that got away, those were fairy tales. Those people who bullied you or rejected you are long gone. Resolve what you can and let the rest go. Continuing to brood over the unfinished business of the past keeps you from living the life of today.

3. Lie to yourself.

Do you have lies you tell yourself so often that you have started to believe them? You have to do this and you can’t do that. If you tell yourself so you make it true. You can make up excuses for your setbacks and failures that only you believe. Blaming others for your troubles may feel good now but it does not change anything. Blaming others keeps you stuck. Take responsibility for what you can do and move forward.

Of all the people you need to get honest with, getting honest with yourself is the most important one.

4. Wreckage – Clean up your messes.

If you have wreckage get it cleaned up. People often have unpaid fines or tickets. Bills that are still due and relationships that ended in disaster. Whenever possible clean up that wreckage. Do what you can to get those old debts, financial, and emotional cleaned up so that you do not have to continue to pay on them well into your recovered life.

5. Hold on to harmful and hurtful people.

Are there people in your life that are harmful or hurtful but you just can’t seem to give them up? Just because they were there when you were down, does not mean you need to stay down with them. True friends will want to see you succeed. If you have to hold yourself back and be less than the person you were meant to be because of someone in your life these are not healthy relationships and they are not true friends.

6. Try to be perfect.

Perfectionism is the enemy of getting things done. You can tell yourself you never will be perfect and that excuses not trying at all. You miss out on all the things you never try. Students find that the pursuit of all A’s may keep them from graduating. If you insist on being perfect or not doing things at all you will keep quitting things that could have benefited you.

Do your best and call that good enough.

7. Doing nothing.

Doing nothing is a sure way to fail. Trying to be perfect is one way of alibiing your lack of effort. There are lots of other ways you can talk yourself out of ever trying.

The process of building a happy life begins with those first small steps. Get moving and the momentum will build.

8. Looking for happiness in all the wrong places – drugs – sex.

In the beginning, these crutches seem like ways to get by. You use drugs, alcohol, or other addictions to try to be enough. Eventually, those addictions become all you can be. Do not get fooled by an illusion that more of an addiction will cure the emptiness inside.

9. Thinking money will buy happiness.

Money buys things. Having some things is better than having nothing. Things alone will never make you happy. Too many things will bury you. Make sure that in your pursuit of money you do not leave family, friends, and your true self behind.

10. Beat yourself up.

There is no evidence, that I have seen, that beating yourself up makes you try harder. Love yourself and do your best. Be kind to yourself. Find the good in you and in others. Constantly reliving your failures keeps you stuck in failure.

11. Thinking you can control everything – worrying about things outside your control.

Most things in life are out of your control. You can’t make it rain. We have little control of the weather, who will get sick, and a host of other things. Rather than fussing and worrying about things that are far beyond your control put your efforts into the things that you may be able to influence, that will mostly be your actions and your attitude. Catch your children and yourself doing things right and give yourself credit for the things you do well.

12. Do not accept credit for things done well.

Is it hard to accept a compliment? Do you find you can’t please yourself? Learn to give yourself credit for things well done. Be ready to give and receive compliments.

Compliments are an antidote for that feeling of failure that can creep in when all you ever hear and think is the things that you have been able to do in a less than perfect way.

How many of these 12 self-sabotaging practices do you use? Creating that happy recovered life may be largely a matter of discontinuing these self-defeating behaviors.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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2 thoughts on “12 ways you are self-sabotaging.

  1. Pingback: There’s No such Thing as “Self-Sabotage” | jamesmatter

    • Interesting thoughts. I think you are way off base here. The description of military or industrial sabotage is not the only definition.
      The word is also variously defined as:
      vandalize, wreck, damage, destroy, cripple, impair, incapacitate; obstruct, disrupt, spoil, ruin, undermine, threaten, subvert
      (Sabotage, like “allergy” is a relatively new word, neither are in older dictionaries, and its meaning is still evolving.)
      I think most people understand the concept as something like:
      Shooting yourself in the foot
      Being your own worst enemy
      That is an action that undermines or subverts the goal you wish to accomplish.
      Plenty of people say they want to accomplish something and then do something that creates the failure of their expressed goal. They have a big job interview and then the night before go out and end up drunk or sleep through the interview.
      Labeling is NOT a cognitive distortion. All nouns are labels. “Car” is a “label” and so is “dog.” Humans are cognitive misers and need labels to facilitate thinking and communication. We could replace “Man” with “person-of-the-male-gender” but that would still be a label.
      The “labeling distortion” you are suggesting comes from using words that have connotative meanings that are different from the dictionary denotative meaning. Calling a person a “dog.” Is using the word in a negative connotative meaning.
      So “Man” could mean a person of male gender or it could mean a set of behaviors that some people think of as “male” or masculine.
      Another labeling problem that is a cognitive distortion is overgeneralizing. Someone who did a bad thing is not therefore a bad person. Most of us do “stupid” things in our life but that does not make us a “stupid” person.
      So I will stand by my article that there are many ways to undermine or subvert your expressed goals. People can and do self-sabotage and this discrepancy between what they believe their goals are and the actions they are taking is a fruitful topic for self-examination and therapy. Best wishes.


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