5 Steps to Stop the Pattern of Self-Sabotage


I’m having a cup of French press coffee at my favorite French café in Hudson, NY with a few bees surveying my table.  I am a bit uncomfortable about being stung. I recalled my daughter Erica’s first summer when she caught a bee with her bare hands.  That’s the price she paid for exploring the unknown.  I have the option of going inside the café but I choose to risk and share my table with bees in the 80-degree with 50 percent humidity weather, and enjoy thbeee last few weeks of summer outdoors.  The dance between pain (sting) and pleasure (outdoors) is playing the music of self-sabotage.

Do bees do self-sabotage?  Can they purposely or unconsciously avoid the sweet pastry on my table so they don’t risk being hurt by humans?  Their presence is a clear indication that they don’t, but women do.

Women self-sabotage more often than they care to admit, and we do it unconsciously.  We are wired to seek happiness and avoid pain, as that’s the core of human behavior.

Our desire for growth or true happiness never really goes away. So self- protection, at one point or another becomes too uncomfortable for us as a mean of living.  We don’t see our behaviors or conclude i
t to be self-sabotaging. Often, we blame it on fate or assume that it was someone else’s fault.

Being late for meetings, keeping our opinion to ourselves, not asking for the promotion and blaming the bad boss, procrastinating joining the gym, eating the whole cake, not dressing appropriately for an interview, forgetting a doctor’s appointment, ignoring the late notices on the bills, are just some of the self-sabotage behaviors we fall prey to.

The act of self-sabotage only happens when we venture into something new, when we dare to look outside the swimming zone.  The comfort of our daily routines feed the fear of venturing into our dreams.  We want them, but we are afraid most of the time unknowingly .

There is an underlying belief that is the root of self-sabotaging:  Deservedness.  Sometime ago, we gained the belief that we are not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not professional enough, not lucky enough, not whatever enough to go after our dream.

Here are the 5 steps to wake up our desires, stop the self-sabotaging behaviors, and move towards our dreams:

  1. Be honest about your self-sabotaging.  Knowing what you don’t want helps you to know what you want.  If you are avoiding taking any action towards a goal, it is a form of self-sabotage.
  2. Be willing to go deep.  Being late for an important appointment can be blamed at the traffic if you live in Atlanta, New York or LA.  Was it really the traffic or the fear of making big or failure?  When you find the hidden beliefs you inherited from your relatives and fully sift through them, you discover that most thoughts you have are not your own.
  3. Trust your intuition.  When you take time to do the work of discovering the roots of self-sabotage, insights become easily available.  Women, in general tend to dismiss their intuition because it is not logical.   There is no logic explanation for intuition.  The more you use it the better it gets, and that’s all we need to know.
  4. Be kind to yourself.  Anger, resentment, disappointment are some of the feelings that surface when we discover that feeling unworthy was the safety mechanism we chose to use protect ourselves.  Give yourself a break and some love.
  5. Do it one more time. Repetition is mother of mastery.  Women didn’t learn self-sabotage behaviors overnight.  It has been built over the weeks, months and years.  Doing the work, going deep, turning it around, and repeating positive thoughts, feelings and affirmations will help build your self-love muscle needed toself-sabotage end the destructive behavior of self-sabotage.

Remember, self-sabotage sprawls from the belief that we are not enough.  Change the thoughts and the right actions will follow.

For additional support, visit www.ana-barreto.com/downloads to download the full e-booklet on How to Stop the Pattern of Self-Sabotage.

Ps: No bee stings today.


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