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Building Self-Awareness to Combat Self-Sabotage For Personal Growth

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Everyone has an area where they can be kinder to themselves, whether they admit it or not. And some of us can be our worst enemy in those areas, too. This is your gentle reminder that you need to be your cheerleader.

Here are eight ways that self-sabotage can creep in and how to stop it.

What is self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage is the act of doing things that block your success in areas of life in which you want to progress. Self-sabotage can manifest in different ways. For example, it can look like taking on too many tasks without completing anything. One common way that many people self-sabotage is through procrastination. Other methods include a lack of time management and indecisiveness.

Why do people self-sabotage?

We are wired for comfort. Self-sabotage is also more likely when our core beliefs about ourselves do not align with what we want. Then, we are more likely to stick with what we know to avoid pain, discomfort, and uncertainty. In essence, it is the ego's way of protecting us from perceived failure or challenging tasks.

Understanding the underlying causes of self-sabotage will help you figure out your underlying beliefs so you can replace inaction with action.

Again, self-sabotage can appear differently for everyone. Here are 8 ways I've gotten in [and out of] my way at one point or another or have seen others close to me do the same. Hopefully, this is helpful for you.

8 Ways Self-Sabotage Shows Up In Your Life

1. Worrying About The Future

Make plans, but know that anything can happen. Practice being present and enjoying what is. Lean into the fact that you are divinely connected. And when you can get to a calm place, your answers will come.

When you worry, bring yourself back to the present by sitting on the ground. Another option is to look for things in your immediate environment that you can see, hear, smell, and taste. Then, focus on what you can do just for today.

2. Thinking the world doesn't need another ...

False. Someone needs what you have to offer. There are billions of people worldwide, so your service will be new to someone. Even if your product or service is not new, an audience, customer, client, contract, etc., will want your offer specifically because of the energy you bring. So don't count yourself out.

When you count yourself out, write down your thoughts to filter through what is true and what is not.

3. Not Expressing How You Feel

I am all for keeping the peace. Sometimes, it is a misunderstanding. Other times, you may not be upset for the reasons you think you are. Therefore, there is nothing to defend.

You can clear the air and then communicate if it is a lingering situation. Say how you felt, i.e., I felt hurt when you missed our meeting. Next time, please let me know if you can not make it. That sounds different from "You're always abandoning me." The other person will be more receptive if you are clear about what happened and how you felt. It also allows them to meet you halfway the next time.

  • Allow yourself to be heard. Allow others to show up better because cooperation is a team effort.

4. Being Afraid To Fail

The only way to fail is by not trying. It's okay to make mistakes while you figure things out. Don't be so hard on yourself that you get so afraid of failure that you don't start your business, brand, degree, etc.

  • Write down areas or times when you were successful. Remind yourself that you have succeeded in your accomplishments in the past and can do it again. Remind yourself that the work includes the process- not just the result.

5. Not Showing Up Because You Don't Feel Prepared

You may never feel prepared, but do the thing anyway. Show up with your bundle of nerves and all and take up space, sis. The more you show up, the more prepared you will be due to experience. That's what it boils down to because everyone doesn't have the same talent. The rest of us have to work for what we want. So you can do it.

  • Practice. Practice. Practice. Everything is an assignment. Make a promise to show up and do your best, then let the powers that be do the rest.

6. Listening To Your Inner Critic

Your inner critic is afraid. You can learn how to silence it like you would talk to a scared child who needs your support. Reassure yourself. Your inner child probably didn't hear that you are good enough and have what it takes. So let it be known now.

  • Write the affirmations you needed to hear as a child on index cards. Place them where you can see them. When you start going down memory lane, get your cards out. Then do the thing... When you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, your inner critic will become less critical.

7. Signing Up For Another Class

I'm not saying I don't take classes. Yes, make improvements when you see fit, but are you making improvements or just taking class after class? In most cases, you know what you need to do. Do your best to implement the work by doing things that push you out of your comfort zone.

  • For example, if you're afraid of public speaking or don't like the sound of your voice, start calling folks instead of texting. Talk to strangers- i.e., ask the cashier, "How are you doing today?" and don't overthink it. It's not the same as giving a speech, but preparation includes small steps regularly

8. Not Enjoying Life

Start evaluating the thoughts and behaviors to see if those beliefs are true or not.

Chances are they are not tru,e and you can work at releasing them. Releasing what you don't need will help you loosen up.

Letting go and enjoying life looks like laughing, connecting, living, learning, falling, and getting back up because things will sort themselves out in time.

In conclusion, self-sabotage looks like staying in your way. While choosing self-care is how you get free.


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Anusa is an avid reader and loves to write. When she is not studying, or talking about astrology you can find her out and about in NYC with her family. 

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