It is not what you think.
Psychologists define self-sabotage as actions - active or passive - that prevent us from achieving our goals.
It is one of the many psychological terms that have become part of mainstream conversation. But, just like many of those terms, it is rarely understood.
Most often self-sabotage is seen as a fear of failure, a fear of success or low self-esteem. And while I agree that these can all play a role, I believe they are also just symptoms.
The key to dealing with self-sabotage is in getting to the real root cause of what motivates it. That means uncovering the underlying and unfulfilled need that lies beneath.
My definition of self-sabotage is repressed or suppressed needs or desires that our subconscious mind is trying to satisfy, albeit in a roundabout and covert way. It is a small crack on your coping strategy wall of protection through which your real desires or needs are leaking out.
For example, you grow up in an environment were there were very strict and specific expectations of you. As a little girl you dreamt of becoming a ballerina. But your parents dismissed it as a childhood fantasy and made it clear that in order to be considered successful or a person of value you needed to become a lawyer just like them. You internalize that belief and suppress your desire to become a dancer so that you can get acceptance, connection and a sense of belonging with your family. You get to law school and even though you are extremely smart, you procrastinate, do not study for your exams and fail out of law school.
The part of you that is still trying to steer you towards your true desire of being a dancer is competing with the part of you that wants the acceptance and connection from your family.
What I've found is that often times this root cause is also the cause of the other symptoms like fear of failure and low self-esteem. Armed with this knowledge you can then work towards healing.
If you want to learn more about how to eliminate self-sabotage or about how I can help you, please visit my website for details on my program.
When discussing the cause of self-sabotage, this level of awareness and emotional work is essential for healing the patterns. And released from these limitations you are then free to explore your full potential.