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How to Stop Self-Sabotaging

In the vernacular of therapy, self-sabotaging means not choosing yourself, or not prioritising

your own betterment. In this article, I'll be discussing some of the ways we self-sabotage, and

how to break free from self-sabotaging habits.

Constant Self-Criticism

We all have an inner voice that likes to criticize and judge us. It's that little voice in your head that tells you that you're not good enough, smart enough, or attractive enough. The problem with negative self-talk is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, where we just go along with it doesn't work towards becoming the person we want to be (probably because we see no point in it).

Here is what you can do about self-flagellation:

  • Be aware of those negative self-monologues, and self-putting-down statements.

  • Ask yourself this - "Are my thoughts biased?", "Are my thoughts facts?"

  • Work on staying in the present moment instead of living in your mind. One analogy I often use is imagining carrying a hot bowl of soup up the stairs, without spilling a single drop. Apply that focus in the present.


Perfectionism can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can motivate us to strive for excellence. On the other hand, it can lead to self-doubt and inaction. When we set impossibly high standards for ourselves, we are constantly putting ourselves down and basing our lives on the 'shoulds' set by society and the world we live in. These unreasonable standards and worldly definitions can be suffocating.

Here's what you can do about being a perfectionist:

  • Question your intentions: "Who am I doing this for?", "What am I trying to get at?"

  • Reexamine your values, beliefs, and expectations.

  • Readjust that finishing line of perfection to something more reasonable because you have a whole lifetime to work towards becoming that person you want to be.

Staying in Toxic Relationships/Workplaces

Here is the danger of familiarity - we end up building and staying in our own self-made prison, where we trap ourselves with people or in places that degrade our self-worth. There is also a factor of sunk-cost fallacy where we have spent our whole life being with someone or working in an exploitative workplace where our hard work is not recognised and our views are not heard and valued.

Here's what you can do about being stuck:

  • Don't wait for Prince Charming to ride in on a white horse.

  • Examine what are the available opportunities and possible alternatives to get yourself out of there.

  • So what if you fail in this relationship or career? Would you rather be stuck in this place or free yourself from it? Money is a factor, but it is the only practical factor.

Remember to be kind to yourself and focus on the process, and not the outcome.

Living shouldn't be this hard. I agree with you.



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