How to Stop Self-Sabotaging: The Role of the Subconscious Mind

Do you find yourself sabotaging your own success on a daily basis? Do you feel like you’re your own worst enemy? That you’re constantly sabotaging yourself without even realizing it? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with self-sabotaging behaviors, and it can be difficult to break the cycle. When have we become our own worst critic, instead of believing in ourselves?

The roots of self-sabotage often lie in the subconscious mind. The subconscious is a powerful force which helps in the assimilation of so much of the daily information we absorb, but it is far from flawless.

Everyone has a little voice inside their head

The inner monologue is imprinted in our brains way before we can even know: it’s always been there, and it always will be. But where does that annoying voice come from? It roots in the subconscious, and the subconscious DOES NOT understand the concept of self-deprecating jokes, double meanings, etc. It takes EVERYTHING at face value, and it takes everything seriously.

For some of us, it means that even before we could talk, our subconscious had absorbed a lot of negative “facts” from the people around us. Later in life, we give it some more negativity with voicing bad comments about ourselves, making self-deprecating or exaggerating jokes, or calling ourselves an idiot when we forget our coffee at home and we’re halfway to the office. 

image: woman with an angel and a devil on her shoulders, captionned: which voice will you listen to?

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The subconscious does not know the difference. Everything is fact, and it always listens…

It takes things literally, and if you’ve been telling yourself for years that you’re not good enough, or that you’ll never amount to anything, those beliefs will be your truth.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Henry Ford

In general, mindset has a huge power over a person. In fact, I want to say that a good mindset is the most important thing you can have in your toolbox. To make it short, the difference between a positive and negative outlook on things can make or break many endeavours, projects, habits, etc.

Give YOURSELF some compassion!

You’d give it to almost anyone else, wouldn’t you? So why not you? Why not give yourself a break? Why not cut yourself some slack? You’re not undeserving of such things.

Your inner monologue is the meanest voice around, so I highly suggest you don’t listen to it. Give it the silent treatment for a while.

The role of the subconscious mind in self-sabotage is immense. However, there are ways to overcome these destructive behaviors.

As previously stated, our subconscious mind takes things at face value. Think back on all these “daily affirmations” and “gratitudes” etc. Just as much as you would absorb “I’m so useless”, you can absorb “I’m so awesome!”

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

The best part about all of that is that you don’t even have to believe in what you’re saying. The subconscious doesn’t know the difference! So go ahead, and fake it till you make it.

  • “I am grateful for…”
  • “I am abundant in…”
  • “Nothing can stop me”
  • “I am worthy”
  • “I am healthy”
  • “I am happy”
  • “My life is full of possibilities”
  • “I can, and will, succeed”

No seriously, fake it til you make it.

You know what happened when I started to make myself say these things in the mirror? I laughed. I was giggly and couldn’t keep a straight face because I physically cannot lie (it triggers the giggles and a huge, slightly terrifying smile) and I found these affirmations ridiculous. But I kept at it, because I know the power of the subconscious mind, and I wanted to reprogram my self-image.

It’s been a few weeks now, and let me tell you: it works like magic.

I still giggle in the mirror when I do my affirmations sometimes (because again, lying = giggles) whenever I swap for new wording, because I often go for wording that I don’t believe in.

But my subconscious can’t understand that.

Playing around with the subconscious is nothing less than consciously reprogramming yourself.

pictured: woman with sunglasses and a shirt that reads: I am enough
YOU are enough.

Stand up for yourself

The affirmations are one thing, but while you’re doing that, you still got this annoying voice in your brain telling you the opposite. Challenge it. You can do this two ways, and there is no better option, only which one you like best.

You can question its reasoning. With a certain level of disbelief, you simply go “what do you mean by that?” Bonus points for saying it out loud, but you don’t have to.

Or, you can tell it to shut up. Simple as that; you interrupt it, you don’t let the voice even finish its sentences.

Once again, bonus points for saying it aloud… but maybe not in public, or you’ll get some weird looks.

The Pep Talk Ted Talk

With those two previous tips, remind yourself that:

  1. You will progress at a speed that is your own, don’t compare yourself to others.
  2. You’re giving yourself a little pep talk, that’s all you’re doing. It’s nothing crazy, it’s simple and it costs nothing.
  3. Your subconscious had your entire life to be programmed negatively. While you can see some progress fairly early on, there will be relapses and you will need to keep the positive pep talks for as long as needed.
  4. Notice your inner monologue now, and in the next few days. Write down a couple of the meanest things it says. Keep an eye on it, and look back at what you wrote today. Your very own Before and After “pictures”!

Here is some more info on how to rework your mindset.

That’s about it for me

The self-help journey is a long one. It doesn’t matter if you have one, five, or eight disabilities, visible or not; reprogramming your mindset isn’t done in a week. Be nice to yourself, show mercy and leniency to yourself, and talk to yourself as if you were talking to a younger version of yourself, the most commonly used being a child.

When we were young, we had an adult to tell us that everything was gonna be okay. Show yourself that you care! Comfort your child self when it is sad or afraid. Just because we grew up into adults doesn’t mean that we don’t still need that feeling of safety and sanctuary that we used to have. Or never had, in some cases.

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