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How to overcome self-sabotage and increase self esteem

Everyone experiences moments of self-doubt and low self-esteem. However, when those feelings are so powerful that they prevent us from taking the necessary steps forward in life, it can be a sign of self-sabotage. In this blog we explore how to overcome self sabotage and increase self esteem.

Whether you’ve been experiencing these feelings for a while or have only recently become aware of them, there are ways to recognise and overcome self-sabotage in order to increase your own self-esteem. 

What Does It Mean To Self Sabotage?

Self sabotage is a self-destructive behaviour pattern that can prevent someone from achieving their goals or from reaching their full potential. 

It involves self-sabotaging thoughts and actions that lead to poor decisions and create self-fulfilling prophecies. These self-sabotaging behaviours often result in self-blame, shame, and guilt and have a strong negative impact on self esteem. 

Self sabotage can be conscious or unconscious, but the result is always detrimental to self progress. 

In order to overcome self sabotaging habits it’s important to become aware of them and practice self compassion.  By recognising, understanding and providing yourself with the skills you need to move forward, you will be able to break the cycle of self sabotage.

Examples of Self Sabotaging:

Self sabotage is an everyday occurrence for many of us and manifests in countless ways. 

Common examples of self sabotage can range from procrastinating to avoid challenges, or self-medicating through social media so as to avoid meaningful connections with people. 

People may also self-sabotage by jumping into relationships before they are truly ready, or continuing unhealthy habits simply because it’s easier than attempting to make a change. 

By understanding the root causes of self sabotaging behaviour and actively working to break these patterns, individuals can learn how to overcome self sabotage and increase self esteem and their outlook on life as a result.

What Are The Root Causes of Self Sabotage?

Self sabotage can be an incredibly damaging and self-destructive thing to do, yet many of us find ourselves doing it time and time again. 


At its core, self sabotage is often a sign that something else deep down is out of balance in our lives. 

Let’s take a look at the top 3 most common reasons you may be self sabotaging in your own life:

1. Lack Of Self Awareness:

One of the root causes of self-sabotage is a lack of self-awareness

This means that you are not aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and how they impact your life. 

Without self-awareness, it is difficult to make positive changes in your life and you are more likely to repeat negative patterns of behaviour.

2. Fear Of Change:

Another root cause of self-sabotage is fear of change. 

This means that you are afraid to make changes in your life, even if those changes would be beneficial. Change can be scary, but it is often necessary in order to improve your life. If you allow fear to hold you back, you will likely stay stuck in negative patterns of behaviour.

3. Low Self-Esteem:

Low self-esteem is another common root cause of self-sabotage. 

If you have low self-esteem, you may not believe that you deserve to make positive changes in your life. 

You may also believe that you are not capable of making those changes. As a result, you may sabotage your own efforts to improve your life out of a lack of belief in yourself.

The Connection Between Self Sabotaging and Low Self Esteem:

Low self esteem can cause self sabotage by undermining beliefs and confidence. This can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies; where due to beliefs of self-doubt a person will unknowingly make decisions that are beneficial to keeping their low self esteem intact. 

If someone has little self worth, believing in an ability will put them into a vulnerable position, thus for fear of failure, self sabotage allows them to cope with this fear without the risk of failing. 

Loss of self belief causes us to take destructive paths and pursue activities, or emotions which will ultimately lead us back to our starting point, low self worth. 

Low self esteem loves familiar environments that are safe and comfortable – this makes self sabotage an attractive option as it halts change, evolution, growth and keeps things status quo.

Understanding how we became conditioned into thinking this way is key in addressing self sabotaging habits and reversing the cycle.

Exploring Our Low Self Esteem:

Low self-esteem can be a difficult thing to face and often has deep-seated roots. 

Feelings of low self-worth can stem from many different sources, such as parental messages, harsh criticism or bullying, or even the internalisation of societal standards and norms that focus on physical appearance and success. 

Other times, low self-esteem may simply arise out of mental health issues linked to depression or anxiety that further darken someone’s view of themselves. 

Any one of these situations can condition someone’s mind to think critically low of themselves, thus causing them to self sabotage, whether they fully realise it or not. 


Overcoming Your Self Sabotage:

Self sabotage can be a difficult problem to overcome and often requires the intervention of self-care and self-reflection. 

A few actionable steps you can take to get yourself out of self-sabotaging behaviour are: 

    • Learning how to identify triggers that may cause self-sabotage, 

    • Acknowledging what your self-sabotaging behaviours are

    • Creating a plan to better manage stress and negative self-talk associated with self sabotage

    • Seeking support from friends and family members who understand the issue 

    • Engaging in activities that help promote positive self image and self worth

while also providing yourself with plenty of self love. 

By following these simple steps, you can find success in overcoming self sabotage and learn how to live life free from this problem.

Take a Look At Your Triggers:

It can be difficult to make self-improvement when self-sabotage keeps getting in the way. By understanding your triggers, though, you can begin to take control and build self-awareness. 

A trigger can be an event, a feeling, an outside stressor, or even self-talk – anything that causes you to self-sabotage. Start by recognising your own self-destructive behaviours and then look for the trigger that preceded each one.

Once you’ve identified those triggers, you can then work on developing coping skills that don’t involve self sabotage. With this newfound understanding, you’ll soon be equipped with the knowledge to move past self-sabotaging thoughts and habits and focus on creating healthy new ones instead.

Identify Your Self Sabotaging Behaviours:

Self-sabotage can be an insidious habit that is hard to spot. 

It often appears as negativity, procrastination, self-doubt and perfectionism. 

To identify self-sabotage in your own life, consider keeping a journal and writing down your thoughts and feelings throughout the day. Take note of any self-critical or self-defeating comments you make or things that impact how much you are able to do each day. 

Additionally, take some time to reflect on whether there is something more going on – ask yourself if it is fear or anxiety in certain situations like taking risks or trying new things that might be holding you back. 

Taking this self-inventory can help you become aware of self sabotage and start working towards making changes and creating better habits.

Create a Plan:

If you’re struggling with self-sabotage, the best way to tackle it is by creating a plan that teaches you how to better manage stress and self-talk when feeling overwhelmed or defeated.

This could mean using mindfulness exercises such as journaling or deep breathing before taking control of negative self talk or challenging pessimistic thoughts. 

Reframing these thoughts into more balanced affirmations can then create a positive emotion by promoting positive self talk for better managing any future attacks of self sabotage.

Seek Support:

A great way to combat self sabotage is by seeking support from family members or friends who understand and can relate to the situation. 

Talking through your feelings and experiences with a loved one can help you gain clarity, gain perspective on the situation, and let go of self-doubt. 

It’s also beneficial to think about how far you have already come in battling self sabotage and share your progress with those close to you – this will help instil self-confidence and motivation.

In the end, it’s important to remember that we do not always have to handle everything on our own – allowing yourself to be supported by those around you can put you well on your way towards overcoming self sabotaging behaviours.

Build Up Your Self Esteem:

Boosting self-esteem can be a powerful way to restore self-confidence, thus stopping self-sabotage in its tracks. 

Some activities that can help in this endeavour include setting realistic goals, building positive self-talk, emphasising your strengths, and rewarding yourself when you do something well. 

Taking time to focus on yourself in activities such as meditation or yoga can also be helpful in reducing self-sabotaging tendencies, especially when done with a deeper relative mindfulness. 

Remember that self-sabotage can result from low self esteem so it is important to work towards the goal of increasing self esteem in order to break this cycle.

In Summary:

Self sabotage can occur for a variety of reasons, but low self esteem is one of the most common. 

When we dig deep to find out why we have such low self worth and make self-care a priority, it becomes easier to see how to overcome self sabotage and increase self esteem.  By combating self-sabotaging thoughts we make meaningful changes. 

It is important to understand that these behaviours are not easy to undo overnight – it takes time and dedication. 

If alcohol plays a part in our self-sabotaging behaviour pattern then seeking support can really help.  With proper education, self love, and self-care, however, you can work towards banishing self-sabotage from your life and allowing yourself to reach your fullest potential.