Haven’t we all said it’ll only be one chocolate and ended up binging on the whole box? How many times have you woken up with big hopes and determination for the day to achieve your goals and hit deadlines but ended up scrolling through Facebook instead, only to realize you haven’t done any work? How come we hate any person who tries to hurt us and yet we seem to self-sabotage every single day and still accept it?
Starting with the most scientific reason, believe it or not, self-sabotage is linked to the way our brain functions. A part of our brain stores information, traumas and experiences in our unconscious mind and prepares itself to reacting with prompt actions, but without proper distinctions as to the seriousness of the situations. Therefore, not only will we run away when faced with danger, lash out when in a stressful conversation, but we will also be pouring our fifth glass of wine before our consciousness can even reason to a wiser decision.
Thinking about self-sabotage as a chemistry of the brain and a nerves-related issue, it’s no wonder that we find it really hard to control certain impulsive actions. Despite the fact that you can reason with your brain sometimes and order yourself to not eat the bag of chips in front of you, willpower can be affected by emotional and physical triggers. One day you can fully stick to the diet and the other you just can’t hold yourself. These triggers include stress, health, distractions, etc.
Let’s break it up. Imagine yourself as an assembly of different parts rather than a whole. There’s your inner child and your outer child. Your inner child is prone to be vulnerable to emotional triggers and can be very sensitive. Whereas, your outer child is the one who’s in power and thinks his job is to protect your inner child from damage and danger – even if his ways are inappropriate. Well, at least he tries, and his intentions are good.
Now that you know how hard it is to actually control some of your behavior under certain conditions, will you keep blaming yourself?
The good news is that you can try to avoid it as much as you can if you only understand and accept yourself. Change happens with time and extreme patience. “It took a lifetime to be who you are and it will take patience, self-care and a lot of compassion to do things a bit differently” said integrative psychotherapist and counselor Kathy Osborne.
Baby steps are the key to achieve your goal; be sympathetic with yourself, engage in relaxing activities or hobbies, notice patterns and create actions to deal with them and most importantly, commit to a self-care plan that might include asking for support from experienced individuals or life coaches.