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Five Mental Mistakes That Lead to Self-Sabotage:

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Picture this: You're filled with enthusiasm for a specific project, only to find yourself engaging in actions that ultimately destroy it. This scenario arises from certain mental mistakes that lead to self-sabotage, often realized too late. These mistakes act as an all-consuming fire, leaving you feeling bewildered, drained, and frequently sorrowful.

The concept of self-sabotage finds its roots in humanistic psychology, signifying a contradiction to one's own desires. Despite often being unaware of it, the outcomes tend to yield undesirable consequences. As Morgan Scott Peck wisely stated, "Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it."


Self-sabotage involves consciously or unconsciously denying yourself something positive that holds the potential to transform your life.

If you find yourself prone to self-sabotage, this article might catch your interest. As Amelie Nothomb once said, "You want me to sabotage myself for you? You're on!" Self-sabotage arises from certain mental errors that often go unnoticed until it's too late. These mistakes act as destructive fires, leaving you confused, exhausted, and often saddened.


Understanding Self-Sabotage:

Self-sabotage stems from humanistic psychology and involves going against your own desires, often resulting in undesirable consequences. It entails denying yourself something positive that has the potential to bring about life-changing experiences.


Examples of Self-Sabotage:

Consider an athlete attending extra strength and conditioning sessions, experiencing improvement, yet deciding to prematurely terminate them against coaches and the trainers advice. This is an instance of self-sabotage, which encompasses behaviours aimed at causing harm, failure, and shattered dreams. It leads to the loss of what you truly desire and evokes negative emotions like anxiety, frustration, and sadness.

Exploring Self-Sabotaging Mental Mistakes:

Self-sabotage is not only a mistake that hampers decision-making but can also serve as a defense mechanism. For instance, if you've had a series of painful relationships, you might unconsciously self-sabotage your next one, seeking to avoid similar misery. Let's delve into five different ways you might engage in self-sabotage.


Refusing Help:

  • Avoiding assistance when you need it most can lead to discomfort. Emotions like pride or shame often support this stance. However, it's crucial to recognize the importance of seeking help when your coping capacity is insufficient. Allowing external support can serve as a valuable pressure-relief valve during times of frustration and feeling stuck.

Emotional Avoidance:

  • Repressing emotions is a mental mistake that detaches you from an essential part of yourself—your emotional self. Avoiding the experience of certain emotions doesn't make them disappear; they tend to resurface with greater intensity. Emotions offer valuable information, and acknowledging them empowers you to make necessary changes.

Fear of Setting Boundaries:

  • Establishing boundaries by expressing your wants, needs, and concerns is crucial for healthy relationships. Without clear boundaries, unpleasant situations can arise, as others lack the necessary information to adapt their behavior to your needs. Assertive communication, characterized by calm and reflective dialogue, is an effective way to set boundaries.

Negative Self-Talk:

  • Negative self-affirmations can deeply impact your self-concept and self-esteem. Repeatedly telling yourself phrases like "I'm not good enough for others" or "I'm a complete disaster" can be detrimental. Embracing positive affirmations fosters self-compassion and focuses on your strengths. Encouraging self-talk, such as "I've done well" or "I'm a winner," boosts self-confidence.

Resistance to Change:

  • Change is an inevitable part of life, and resisting it only hinders personal growth and self-sabotages. Embracing change means accepting it, even if it brings fear and uncertainty. Avoiding change only allows it to grow bigger and more daunting. To flow with change, consciously accept it, let go of avoidance, and face it head-on. Remember that change is an intrinsic aspect of life.

Identifying these common mental mistakes that lead to self-sabotage is the first step towards avoiding their negative consequences. By recognizing these patterns and making conscious efforts to rectify them, you can pave the way for personal growth and success before it's too late.

Embracing change is a powerful way to navigate its currents. And change for an athlete is inevitable. It entails accepting change wholeheartedly, even in the face of fear. Letting go of avoidance, confronting change head-on, and declaring, "Time to move on," are essential steps in this process. Athletes in particular need to understand that it requires engaging with the evolving reality consciously, fully aware that change is an integral aspect of life and sport itself.

These common mental mistakes can hinder progress and become dysfunctional if left unaddressed. However, by recognizing and identifying them, there is an opportunity to rectify them before they take a lasting toll, helping you to become the best athlete and person you can possible be.

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