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Self-sabotage. If you’re into self-help and spirituality, this is a term that comes up a lot. But what exactly does it mean? Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then we go out of our way to make sure it doesn’t happen. Yep! When your unconscious mind thinks it’s not ‘worthy’ of success, happiness or freedom, it will sabotage that very thing you want and normally this takes place when you have a certain level of finance, love, success or connection. And it shows up in many ways, it could be as simple as procrastination or we make up excuses as to ‘why’ we are avoiding exercise, drinking too much, being unhealthy or obsessive thinking with no action.

Working too hard is a common one way of sabotaging happiness, where you are indoors all the time and creating social isolation for yourself. Pessimism and anger, keeping you stuck in a problem or stuck to your past is another way you are sabotaging yourself. Or … if you are one of these perfectionists … where nothing is ever right or ready to be released, that is you not being ‘worthy’ of success.

An hour of pain is as long as a day of pleasure …

The decisions you make, the actions you take, and the habits you indulge in, are all based upon your beliefs and values. In fact, every part of your psyche is influenced in some way, shape or form by what brings you pleasure and what brings you pain. You are therefore who you are today because of how you have interpreted and acted upon the experience of pain and pleasure in your life. And as we all know action always begins with a decision!

We gravitate towards pleasure and seek to avoid pain, which means this, you will make most of your decisions based on acquiring pleasure while at the same time avoiding pain. This at times works in our favour and other times not so much because all of our decisions we make can have a consequence.

Let me explain … there is a varying degree of intensity when we think of pain and pleasure, depending on the strongest one at that very moment will have an impact on how we move forward.

So, let’s play this out… if there is this big audacious goal that you want to achieve and it may make you feel a little uncomfortable to begin with – there is short-term pain but in the long term brings you pleasure. And this can play out completely the other way around, you could go for a short-term pleasure which is having that chocolate ice-cream right now! Which, in turn, creates long term pain.

You see the higher the intensity of pain or pleasure the more of an influence it will have on the decision you are about to make.

Pleasure in failure can be addictive …

Some associate failure with pleasure, it makes them feel elevated and positive to fail. What!!! Yes, if during your growing years you have learned to associate failure with pleasure, then you may unconsciously want to fail in life because of some perceived pleasure which you get from failure.

Let’s go back in time … if as a child you received lots of love and attention after you had failed at something, then this may have created a connection between failure and pleasure in your unconscious mind. This is what I call tickling the monkey part of your brain, that emotional part of your brain that is driven by ‘reward’. And this could be as simple as taking yourself on a holiday after a break up of a relationship to take things off your mind … you can see how this can be quite addictive to failing.

This is often seen in people who have an entrepreneurial mindset: They love to fail, and fail quickly as this is their pivot point to change. And they see all pain, all hurt and all failure as a gain and not a loss.

They see growth is painful, change is painful and get pleasure from pain because they have this belief that nothing is as painful as staying the same, or staying stuck where they don’t belong, so they seek for variety and change, constantly!!

Pain changes people, it makes them trust less …

And then there are those that associate life change with pain and this is normally when life itself takes a turn, whether unexpected or expected, where they didn’t expect the change or want the change. This could be an end of a relationship, job or even losing a pet that created so much pain, that they made a decision to never own another pet again, although it brought them so much pleasure the intensity of the pain was stronger than the pleasure.

As you can see, as a result, it can cause you to sabotage things that could take your life in a new direction, such as a new job or a new relationship. With this kind of pain to change, you could have a low self-worth that can make you blind to many opportunities. The most visible manifestation of low self-worth is seen in romantic relationships, where an individual doesn’t believe that they can attract a person who is much more attractive than they are.

There are some abundant beliefs that we have about ourselves that are far from the truth. You don’t have to go too far to discover what they are, just think about an area of your life that you want to improve and check in with your beliefs, are they real or unrealistic? And do you have high expectations or low expectations?

You need to recognise which false belief is holding you hostage …

Beliefs that are unrealistic with overly high expectations are likely to be rejected by the unconscious mind, because such beliefs are too far out for the unconscious mind to accept as a real possibility. But … beliefs that are realistic with very low expectations are likely to be accepted by the unconscious mind, because those beliefs signal what the unconscious mind already holds to be true or possible. As a result, these are the things that you are most likely to achieve, have or do in your life.

And the trick is to monitor your self talk, meaning the way you talk to yourself is often a reflection of the beliefs inside your unconscious mind. If your self talk is negative, the good news is that once you are aware of negative self talk, you can then actively monitor your thoughts and change or replace the phrases that you use to something much more positive and empowering.