Are you a self-saboteur?

Say it again, John!
Say it again, John!

Are you a self-saboteur?

Those of you who know me, know I enjoy a variety (far too many) of TV shows. One of them is American Idol.

Yesterday, I was watching an episode from a couple days ago. It was group night in Hollywood week, and as usual there were various train wrecks being enacted; people staying up all hours of the day and night (and still not knowing the lyrics), passing out from anxiety attacks, fights, etc. One of these incidents, included a woman who displayed a phenomenon I am all too familiar with–self-sabotage.

Ostensibly, the contestant was not happy with her group and when they went to bed, spent most of the night looking for a new one, and most of her time the next day either fighting with them over it, or trying to find a new group. When it was time to go on, her performance was not up to par because she was clearly still hanging on to her emotional issues.

Naturally, she was the only one in the group to get cut.

I was struck immediately by the fact that she had sabotaged her own performance.

Why did she do that to herself?

Well, we self-saboteurs (yes, I struggle with this) don’t know we’re doing it at the time.

Procrastinators are some of the biggest self-saboteurs. To the rest of the population, procrastination is easily solved. It’s merely laziness. Just give yourself enough time to do what needs to be done. Even procrastinators can identify this solution. We always think, next time I won’t wait until the last minute, but the next time never seems to come.

This is the most vital clue that there is more than simply sloth involved. If a person continues a negative behavior even after identifying it, there’s mostly likely something more deep-seated at work.

Why do we self-sabotage?

Fear.

Deep down we’re afraid we’re just not good enough, at our job, our vocation, being a parent. Sometimes, we can even do it in relationships, because we’re not good enough to be loved, either.

We hide from the fear by giving ourselves a monologue. I didn’t fail because I’m inadequate, but because I was in the wrong group, chose the wrong song, waited too long to apply, and so on.

Are you a self-saboteur?

Here are some signs.

Do you have an excuse? Do you repeat it in your head?

Instead: When you’ve finished something, you should be able to say, “I did everything I could.” Not, “if only I had or hadn’t…”

2. Do you find yourself worrying you might do something wrong in advance? “I better not forget to take breath there or I won’t have enough air to hold the note.”

Instead: Focus on the positive. Be your own coach. “I’ll take a breath there and finish strong.”

3. Do you compare yourself to someone else?

Remember: No one else is you. Focus on doing your best. It’s all you have control of.

4. Do you ignore or downplay your past achievements. “Yes, I have four and five star reviews, but I don’t have enough.”

Instead: Celebrate you achievements. Success kills fear, but only if you embrace it.
Are you a self-saboteur like me? Do you watch Idol? Do you have some examples or tips for the rest of us struggling with this problem? I’d love to hear from you!

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