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  • Writer's pictureStacy Taylor, LCSW

Do You Self-Sabotage?

You are your own best friend. Or are you? There are times when we look out for ourselves, when we protect ourselves from harm. But at other instances we may inadvertently sabotage ourselves, whether in relationships, work, with our kids. . anywhere for that matter.

Take the example of Joyce, who complains that she can’t get ahead at work. Even though Joyce has been employed at her company for 8 years, others have been promoted with less tenure.

What is Joyce doing to limit her promotional opportunities? For one, she tells her co-workers, even her boss, too much personal information, such as partying on the weekend. At times, Joyce dresses inappropriately for a professional workplace, so that her colleagues may not take her seriously Joyce also hasn’t taken advantage of the classes offered at her workplace to cultivate new skills.

Joyce is getting in her own way. Could you be doing the same? If so, you may feel frustrated and stymied. The good news is that there is much you can do to create change. It may be useful to take a good look at your behavior, as humbling and difficult as that might seem.

A woman I used to know, Rachel, did something risky and bold; she came up with a self-rating, and asked everyone she knew to fill it out honestly. Rachel learned some valuable things about her strengths and weaknesses that helped her to excel to a very high level career-wise.

What else can you do to change old patterns of behavior of self-sabotage? Here are some more ideas:

1. Pay attention to the behavior of someone whom you admire. What can you learn from them? What are you doing differently that may be thwarting your progress?

2. If you’re frustrated relationship-wise, for instance, you’re not meeting the right people, evaluate whether your expectations are realistic. Consider expanding your search to different kinds of people than you’ve dated before. For example, if you are thinking marriage, maybe children, that bad boy/girl may not be the true keeper. Perhaps look beyond excitement to potential partners who demonstrate loyalty, stability, and low drama.

3. Do you ruminate too much about the past? Continually reviewing past disappointments could unknowingly create new ones. Remember that the past is over. Learn what you can, and then try to let go.

4. Write down a list of your strengths. Most people have a huge list in their minds about their weaknesses! It’s time to keep in mind what you do right in the world, and build on this.

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