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Aha, SELF-SABOTAGE! It’s you all along…

Setyembre 13, 2010

Ever wonder about the term Self-Sabotage? What it means, what happens…if it is even an actual phenomenon? Well, I have used the term, thrown it around, and remembered telling friends more than once, “yeah, I do that all the time”. But the last stop of my journey to my deep darkness where all the unloved parts of me (or shadows) lurk made me realize that, yes, it’s true that I do it all the time, the problem is — I’m not aware I am doing it. My self-sabotage is very much UNCONSCIOUS. Then I keep wondering, too late of course, why my life keeps ending up in a mess. Duh!

Oh, and boy, talk about shadows! I’ve got maybe a gazillion of them in different shapes and sizes! No wonder my ego’s gotten so fat lately, I can’t see through it or listen to others, and I’m getting weighed down by all of my ego’s dramas. I’ve been dragging myself around with all my shadows and baggages, then trying to lift myself up and ending up as somebody who’s got a bloated ego, and a lot of pride. The Ego is one tricky dude. You fight it, it gets energized. You hate it, it gets bigger. You fear it, it balloons. You surrender, it wins! You just let it be or pretend it’s not there, it creates a world of its own and you wake up one day not knowing what hit you. That’s how I ended up not knowing what really hit me recently, how I have self-sabotaged myself again and again for more than 30 years with a pile of baggages and shadows that has been leading my life for me. Frustrating. So, why don’t I just give up and let that darned Ego win, right?

Well, I don’t want to go back to earth one day and face the same pattern of living, being a slave to my ego, who might even be the size of a country (or a multi-national corporation) by then. The truth is we’re all “bigger” than that, more than that, without having to stick out our chests in egotistic pride and scream like Tarzan. You wanna know why? Or how? Or what the hell I actually mean??

Before that, some information I found that captures the Self-Sabotage process I’ve learned about myself.

Self-sabotage is a combination of thoughts, feelings, and actions that create a roadblock to success by working against your own self-interests.  It is when we consciously want something but subconsciously we make sure we don’t get it.  In extreme cases, self-sabotage acts as a self-fulfilling internalized death wish.  Self-sabotage is ultimately due to the lack of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence.

In the high profile world of fame and stardom, self-sabotage is known to result in destructive behavior, even leading to death.  In the eyes of most people, these celebrities appear to have it all: money, fame, and admiration of millions of people.  So where do things go wrong?  Celebrities are, after all, still human, and have the same emotional issues to deal with as the rest of us.  Each one of us is a manager of our own state of mind.  The emotional issues of those living in the spotlight are often magnified, as are life’s pressures.  Those who cannot manage their state turn to drug or alcohol abuse as a quick and easy alternative, which eventually leads to their demise, or at least some time in Hollywood’s second home – the Betty Ford Clinic.

Back in the real world, self-sabotage is much more common in its milder form.  In this form, self-sabotage usually takes away one’s success or kicks in before one can even reach any level of success.  Here are some of the more common reasons for self-sabotage:

  • Fear of success. Deep inside, there can be numerous reasons you do not want to succeed.  These are referred to as limiting beliefs.  You must overcome these limiting beliefs and break free from your fear of success.
  • Unworthiness. Unworthiness is the belief or feeling that you do not deserve success.  This is due to low self-esteem and or a poor self-image. Build your self-esteem and realize that you are not only worthy of success, but it is your right to live in abundance and pursue happiness.
  • Lack of belief in abilities. Do you not believe that you have what it takes to succeed?  Do you think your goals are too far-fetched or unrealistic?  Rather than lower your goals, increase your self-confidence and convince yourself that you will do what it takes and you will succeed.
  • Working against true desires. Unfortunate are those who never figure out what their true desires in life are. These are the people who think they know what they want, but never end up getting it due to self-sabotage.  Well known examples are college drop-outs who choose majors based on what a parent wants them to do or employees who work for paychecks rather than the love of the work.  Take the time to find out what you really want out of life and write it down.

Basically, self-sabotage is like a game of mental tug-of-war.  It is the conscious mind versus the subconscious mind where the subconscious mind always eventually wins.  The conscious mind can carry out actions and work toward a goal, but it will not be long before the subconscious mind reveals the true feelings and beliefs and takes control over actions.  The key to eliminating self-sabotage is making sure that your conscious and subconscious mind are in harmony.  You may get away with lying to others but you can never get away with lying to yourself.  Believe in and have faith in yourself, and eliminate self-sabotage from your life for good. (

So, let me go back to my journey and share how I ended up with sabotaging my life…

During my last entry I was moving back towards the light. It wasn’t an overnight thing though. I was in the light, then back in the dark, in the light, then back in the dark. Everything about me was really bubbling up to the surface, all those shadows literally showing up in my face. At first, I closed my eyes not wanting to look at them, lots of fear coming up as well and of course, denial then defensiveness then HATE. I ended up hating myself. Who are you? What are you??? Again something inside me didn’t give up on me. There’s more to you than hate, than negativity, than all your shadows…”it” said. I know, I have a lot of skills, talents…I know all of that, and I also know that I have to embrace all of my shadows (obviously, this was now the know-it-all me speaking). But, the voice within guided me back to my trusty copy of Nick Williams’ book, Powerful Beyond Measure which literally never left my side (lying there beside my pillow on my bed).

“The light is not all positive, the dark is not all negative; the night is not the enemy of day, energy is not the opposite of matter — they are all aspects of the same whole. Opposing energies can exhaust us and cancel each other out. Within our own mind we need to start integrating these opposing energies, unifying them so that they can begin to face in the same direction. We need to create an attitude of wholeness, of inclusion, not exclusion. Every part of us we attempt to leave out and neglect will come back to us.

What is available to us when we allow our defences to melt and our gifts to shine bright is stunning. Enlightenment is not about becoming anything — we already are all that we seek. In fact, we are everything. We are the good and the bad, the divine and the diabolical, the insecure and the confident, the fearful and the courageous. Owning our shadow allows us to make peace with all that we are.

Embracing our shadow is the ultimate act of self-love. Finding compassion for the parts of us that we have condemned, disliked or felt shame about opens the door to new levels of personal power, peace, confidence and authenticity. Rather than viewing our weaknesses, our smallness, our insecurities or our rage as enemies or as obstacles to moving forward in our lives, this process guides us to embrace our so-called defects as the powerful teachers that they are.” (pp. 147-148)

Ok, I hear you. I continued reading and after a while I realized that I have to really dig deep and dig everything. It’s time to face all my shadows or shine the light on all of them (I’m sure there are still some stuff I missed out). There were loads of them, like ghosts flying fast from where they were buried, painful but totally liberating. They weren’t gone of course, they are all still part of me, but this time I am not denying or condemning them — I am acknowledging, embracing and loving them. They are all part of me, and I love Me anyway. I was writing all of my shadows in one column of my sketch pad, and on the other column was all the things I like about me. When I wasn’t finished unearthing my unloved parts, I couldn’t get around to write on the other side. But, when I was able to embrace and love each and every shadow, the light side of me naturally started coming and flowing. I felt lighter, no wait, brighter!

One of my major “Aha!” moments was seeing my Self-Sabotage shadow. This was a combination of different shadows. Underneath it all was the belief that I wasn’t Worthy. During my journey I was able to go back to the instances in my life when I sabotaged myself unconsciously, and it would always be around the times when I was told I was great, or I was on the road to some successful future. It was a pattern, I would do something unprofessional or unpleasant that would reinforce my deepest, darkest belief: I am not worthy. Hence my pattern of inconsistency, false humility, lack of focus, sudden inertia, creating difficult situations where I usually end up hating the people around me (an obvious projection) and myself and then, burning bridges (although more recently just getting cold, or leaving my previous involvements). Becoming the victim of my own creation.

Again, making my ego triumphant, satiated, and eager for more. Oh, but wait, my ego is not my enemy. But, it can be when I let it run amok and feed it with fear (and all its expressions). I embrace it now along with all of my shadows. It’s really difficult and painful to see all of these, to suddenly realize that I’ve wasted a lot of wonderful opportunities. Then, again, I feel so much relief. Now, I know. I can do something. Most importantly, I’ve taken back my power, Conscious Choice.  It’s up to me how I will create a different reality for myself.

Of course, this will take a huge amount of attention and unlearning. Change means total focus, determination and a good dose of discipline. At the core of it all, the most important antidote to help me through all of these? Self-love. All the self-love I can muster, with patience.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Setyembre 14, 2010 8:16 umaga

    thank you so much nex!

    i think you just articulated my unlabeled experience…i’ve been trying to shoo away (all my conscious life) my own shadows. and funny how simple the answer is…”simple but not simplistic” according to Einstein…i’ll do this too, with patience.

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