Each and every single one of us has the tendency to self-sabotage. We all do it in different ways such as with our looks, relationships, everyday actions and interactions. It is a mindset that is created by yourself that can kill your self-worth and self-esteem. It all comes down to your own negative thoughts and behaviours. If you believe that you are allowing some-thing to happen that brings you down, you are self-sabotaging. The first thing that one has to do in such situations is to become familiar with the self-sabotaging habits. One common area where people sabotage themselves is letting people say negative things about them and then taking it to heart. Another is through comparison. People love to compare their looks and lifestyle with that of others. This can have a significant impact on mental health.
Marc Reardon, a student-teacher at King describes self-sabotage as having a number of different meanings. “The easiest way to break it down is into internal self-sabotage and external self-sabotage. I would de-scribe internal self-sabotage as that little voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough, that someone else is better, and that you don’t have what it takes to succeed. When you self-sabotage, you allow that voice to dominate your thoughts to the point where your negative emotions become actualized. You miss that free-throw in the basketball game because you didn’t believe you could make it, or you forget what to say during your class presentation because you don’t feel confident in yourself. It’s important to remember that we do have control over these emotions, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes,” Mr. Reardon says.
So why do we continuously self-sabotage? It is simple: we do not value ourselves enough. If we had enough self-worth, we would not care about what others think. We crave acceptance and achievement. We are all afraid of our short-comings, but that is what we must learn to overcome and accept. Once you have acknowledged your self-sabotaging behaviours, take time to think about what is preventing you from getting what you want in life. What are some coping mechanisms?
This is not just some inspirational self-talk, because that does not work for everyone. What does work for the majority of people is setting limits and creating rules for yourself.
Some advice Mr. Reardon has for teens is to be conscious of the internal and external forms of self-sabotage in their lives and try to fight them. “Teens are growing up in a complicated world today. Social media can be both a distraction and a source of insecurity. The economy is less stable than when their parents were entering the job market, and can lead to teen-agers feeling uncertain about the future. Teenagers should know that, while they can’t control everything, they still have the power to make choices that can have a positive impact on their lives,” he says.
Put your phone away when you study and allow yourself to have breaks to catch up on messages with friends. Try to envision what kind of future you want for yourself and set goals that will help you get to that place. Make meaningful connections with family and friends that are positive.
“Lastly, it is important to remember to be kind to yourself. We all engage in self-sabotaging behaviour sometimes, and that’s okay. Learning from those experiences, and growing from them, is what helps you become a more fully-realized and fulfilled person. I’m still learning every day!” Mr. Reardon says.