3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Self-Sabotage

April 21, 2014

success and failure road signI’ve been watching Lindsey Lohan’s docudrama on the OWN network. After yet another stint in rehab, she’s trying to get it together.


She had a coach who was helping her, but they had a falling out. Now, I’m sure there’s a lot that happened that wasn’t filmed, so I won’t claim to know the whole story. But still, it looked like Lindsey was pushing away people who could help.


Before you judge her, consider this. Her behavior is blown up by a very hungry media machine. Imagine if our behavior got the same treatment. What if our every move was put on blast all over the world? What would that look like?


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. The final grade was a “C” which is what it deserved. But it could’ve been so much better.


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. If you’re in love with never getting what you want, you can complain, blame others, whine that if only you knew the right people…were 10 lbs lighter…were luckier, etc., you’d have it all.


But 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 © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

All posts

About Me

Hey There!

I'm Deborah and I'm a writer, podcaster, instructor and published author. Thanks for stopping by! Read More


Subscribe & Follow

Women Entrepreneurs Radio Podcast

women entrepreneurs radio

Julia & Company Printable Digital Art & Photography on Etsy

Julia and Company Printable Designs on Etsy



Twitter Feed