The Dirty Dozen: 12 Signs of Self-Sabotage (Part 3)

Stop Self-SabotageIn the final installment of our Self-Saboteur’s Dirty Dozen, we review the remaining four of signs of self-sabotage that is definitely blocking your success.


Let’s remove all of these from our behavior patterns—effective immediately!


9. Self-Medicating

It doesn’t matter what your drug of choice might be—cupcakes, wine, shopping. Whatever it is, if you’re using it to numb out unpleasant feelings, you are definitely engaging in self-sabotage. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a sweet treat or cocktail, but when you’re doing it to avoid your feelings, you’re asking for trouble. Negative emotions come up for a reason, and it is important that those feelings are addressed. As we seek answers to the problems posed by our feelings, we encounter valuable information that can assist us in creating necessary change. A couple glasses of wine each night might be numbing out negative feelings but it also might be preventing you from considering ways you can change the circumstance that is causing that negative emotion. When we allow ourselves to experience emotion, we can align our feelings with a positive understanding of what they can do for us. Trust your internal guidance system; it will help carry you forward in your life.

If I waited for perfection...I would never write a word

10. The Habit of Perfectionism

Perfectionism has a very dark side. Although it’s great to strive to do your best in the aspects of your life that really matter, being perfect is an unattainable goal that inevitably sets you up for failure. The pursuit of perfection can be punishing, and an exaggerated fear of making a mistake can lead to stress and anxiety, which most likely will undermine your performance. It also could lead to a desire to hide mistakes so that you’re unable to receive crucial feedback or an unwillingness to try new things. Perfectionists also tend to procrastinate—it’s overwhelming to start something that is must be perfect. So cut yourself and others some slack, and try to see the humor in things. Most mistakes are not as tragic as never doing anything.


11. Accepting People’s Advice without Question

YOU are the only one who knows what is best for you. Not even your parents, siblings, friends, or therapist know what it’s like to experience life as you. Many well-intentioned people want to see you succeed and are more than willing to give you advice. But in the end, you must determine what needs to happen for you to live the life that is most fulfilling to you. A great corporate job or children might not be your thing. Just because it allowed your favorite Aunt Sally to live the life of her dreams doesn’t mean it will work for you. You are unique and have goals and dreams all your own. Give yourself permission to follow your own intuition, and don’t judge yourself when someone else’s life doesn’t fit. You might just find yourself living the life that you truly desire.


12. Limiting Thoughts Focused on What’s Not Working

What you focus on grows. Too much time spent on the negative just creates more negative. And even if there are reasons to feel positive, you won’t be able to see or experience them. When you practice gratitude and focus on what is working, you’ll not only create more positive but you also will experience less stress and more joy in your life.

Laura Richer

Laura Richer is a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and coach. Located in the Queen Ann neighborhood of Seattle, she is a Licensed Mental Health Care Counselor Associate and has been practicing in the state of Washington since 2011.