3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Self-Sabotage

woman looking out of window
by Deborah A. Bailey

Years ago I was in college working on a project. I knew what to do, and I had it all planned out. But instead of giving myself time to get it done, I procrastinated. Then at the very last minute, I was forced to throw something together.

1. What are you afraid of?


At the same time I was planning my project, my inner perfectionist was whispering in my ear, telling me that it would never be good enough. So why bother? Which is why I sabotaged myself in the end. Then I could always say, see, it could've been better if I'd started sooner. If only I hadn't procrastinated. If only.

Why do we kick the legs out from under our dreams? Because it's easier. When we do that we never have to face that our best efforts might not be enough.

By failing before we begin, we can always fantasize that it all could've been perfect...if only.

When you have a picture of yourself as unworthy, you don't want anything to contradict that. So you'll keep sabotaging yourself over and over. As long as you can keep proving to the world (and yourself) that you'll never be a success.

Even when you come close to winning, you'll find a way to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

2. Do you love the struggle?


For a long time I loved being the underdog. Loved that I had to fight my way through it all. I identified with the struggle, not the reward. At times I still do.

If your identity is wrapped up in never quite hitting the mark, then you'll miss the target over and over.

That's why self sabotage can be so reassuring. You lower your expectations of yourself, maybe because you've been hurt in the past. Or you've been made to feel like you can never measure up.

Underneath the acceptance in your own unworthiness, there's the nagging fear. What if you DO deserve to have what you desire? What changes would you have to make in your mindset and your behavior? Maybe you'd have to learn to love and accept yourself as you are right now. And for some people, that's much more frightening than the self-sabotage.

3. Is it fear of failure or fear of success?


Failure isn't the problem. The problem is in believing you deserve to fail because you're not worthy enough to win.

When I worked on that school project, I self-sabotaged out of fear. What if I did all that work and it never measured up to my ridiculously high expectations? (That's part of the perfectionism trap, which is a topic for another post.)

So, I made sure I'd never have to find out . After the class was over, I comforted myself in the knowledge that I could've been a contender...if only.

Is self sabotage keeping you stuck in an endless loop of frustration? It really is less work to accept that you're good enough than to keep trying to prove you're not.


Copyright © 2019 Deborah A. Bailey

About the Author: Deborah A. Bailey is a writer, coach, author of several fiction and non-fiction books, and creator and host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.


This post originally appeared on DBaileyCoach.com.

Picture credit: Juan Mendez on Pexels








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