Why We Self Sabotage

I’m sure if you’ve tried to change something in your life, you’ve experienced self-sabotage at some point.  Often with the client’s I work with this looks like trying to change the way they eat, but not being able to stick to their plans and finding themselves eating foods that don’t make them feel good.  This can be so frustrating when we don’t understand what’s underneath the self-sabotage.  We know we want to change, but can’t seem to stick to it and then often throw in the towel and think we’ll always be this way, or struggle with that.  Well sister, I’m going to shed some light on why we self-sabotage in this blog post.

First of all, anytime we try to change something we tend to focus on the behaviour.  It’s the behaviour we want to change in the first place right?  The thing is we need to understand the belief that’s driving the behaviour.  When our beliefs are not in alignment with our new behaviours, we subconsciously feel unsafe and we self-sabotage.  When we shift that belief, we can sustainably create real behaviour change.  Often our beliefs are so subconscious it takes some digging to get to them.

Our beliefs need to be in alignment with our new behaviour or we will self-sabotage.

Our beliefs lead to our thoughts, our thoughts lead to our feelings, our feelings lead to our actions or behaviours and this leads to the results we get in our life.  So for example if we have the core belief that we are unworthy, this will lead to thoughts of I’m not good enough, no one likes me, I’m not smart, they won’t find me interesting, etc.  These thoughts will feel heavy and constricting in our body.  We may feel anxious, sad, shame, guilt and all the fear.  How will our behaviours reflect from feeling this way?  Well we won’t take action on that job we may want.  We won’t attend that event, we won’t date that person or we’ll date the wrong person.  We will eat foods that don’t make us feel good, we won’t move our body and we won’t engage in self-care.  We’ll stay closed off and keep ourselves small, not following our souls desire.

This is where we often turn to food for a few reasons.  One we’re numbing those uncomfortable emotions of unworthiness.  Then we numb the feelings of frustration and anger towards ourselves for not being able to change.  Two we’re also numbing the pain of not following our desire and living a life in alignment with our soul.  Three we also use food to shift our state and create that short lived high food can give us, to make us feel better.

We can learn to shift our state internally, only after we’ve accepted and felt the emotions in our body.

We can work backwards with this framework to understand what the core belief is that is leading to the behaviour we want to change.  We can also reverse engineer this framework to create a new belief that supports the behaviour we do want.  For example, if you want to listen to your intuition when it comes to nourishing your body, we can look at how you’d have to feel for that to happen.  You’d probably need to feel expansive and light.  You’d need to trust and be surrendered.  So You’d probably feel happy, calm, grounded, peaceful.  What thoughts would lead to feeling this way?  Well, thoughts of I can trust my body to tell me when and what to eat, I like myself, I respect my body’s needs, I feel safe to feel my emotions, etc.  Then we can look at what core belief you’d need to have for those kind of thoughts to be present in your mind.  You’d likely have to have the belief of, I am worthy of self-acceptance and I trust my body’s innate wisdom.

When we are doing belief work the important thing to remember is it takes longer to integrate the belief change than it does to change a behaviour.  We’ve had these limiting beliefs for years and our mind has gathered all this evidence of why they are true because what we focus on expands.  So the work will be gathering new evidence as we, in the moment, change our story when that old limiting belief comes up.  It’s important to understand that once we’ve made the decision to change a belief, we enter this space that feels untethering where we have not yet fully shifted the belief.  In this space we are vulnerable to self-sabotage and can easily revert back to our old behaviours if we aren’t being very intentional of what we’re moving towards.

This is where creation comes in.  We get to feel into what we desire and ask ourselves what that would look like, what version of us would need to show up and how it would feel.  If what we focus on expands, then the more we focus on what we desire versus what we want to change the better.  In the past, I can bet you tried to change your behaviours from a place of hate/fear of what is.  You were trying to move away from what you didn’t want.  Think of it like a GPS.  If all we put in the GPS is, don’t take me to Calgary, the GPS will take us to Calgary.

By shifting our focus to what we do desire, we allow it to pull us forward into inspired action versus the forced action that comes from that place of fear.
This also comes to making decisions from a place of love versus fear.  To get to the point of making a decision from a place of love we need to move into acceptance first.  You can read more about acceptance in my last blog post, The Importance of Acceptance.  The other part of this is that fear comes from the mind and love comes from our body.  So in knowing this, all the evidence we have from the past of not being able to change and self-sabotage came from decisions made from the mind.  When we learn to make decisions based on feeling and let our body guide us, it’s a completely different way of moving forward.
Another piece to self-sabotage is our inner child.  If we don’t have a relationship with her and aren’t paying attention to her and meeting her needs, she will seek to have them met externally.  This often looks like finding comfort and joy in food.  When we do the work to reconnect to the inner child part of us, we can start to understand when she’s feeling triggered and what she needs in any moment.  So often we’ve suppressed her needs for expression and play.
When we can learn to meet her needs in other ways and tap in to the feelings of safety and love when she’s feeling triggered, we can change the behaviour of using food.
So to recap, the main reasons we self-sabotage include:
  • Our beliefs are not in alignment with the new behaviour we’re trying to implement.
  • We’re trying to change from a place of fear and getting away from what we don’t like, versus changing from a place of love and allowing what we desire to pull us forward.
  • We’re not getting into creation mode and focusing on what we desire feels like in our body.
  • We haven’t fully accepted what is and are trying to spiritual bypass being with and feeling what is present.
  • We aren’t meeting our inner Childs needs, so she’s seeking them internally.

Resistance is a part of the process anytime we’re trying to change something. And the things we’re trying to change are the things that are not actually who we are at our core, but our conditioning that we know doesn’t feel aligned with our soul.  When we can change our relationship to resistance and see it as an invitation to soften and lean in, knowing there’s something great on the other side for us instead of trying to fight it, it’s easier to move through.

It takes patience for the core beliefs to shift, patience in the journey and know that everything is happening for you in perfect timing.  It also takes a high level of intentionality to focus on what you desire and allow that to lead to decisions from love.  Commitment is needed to continue to show up and do the inner work to create that change.  Of course Awareness of all these aspects is required to allow you to understand where the self-sabotage is coming from and how you can move forward.

I hope this blog post helps you see that there’s nothing wrong with you because you haven’t been able to stop behaviours that aren’t in alignment with your soul or support your highest good.  When we don’t know why we Self-Sabotage it can be easy to feel frustrated, but I hope this shed some light on why and helps you move forward into acceptance first and then change for good.

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