When I suffered from an eating disorder, I knew something was wrong. Every day, I would take new resolutions to be healthy and take care of myself, and yet I fell back into sabotaging behaviors.
I recently came across this quote and it really resonated with me:
"Self-sabotage is misguided self-love". ~ Brad Yates
The sabotaging behavior is a means to cope. Essentially, our psyche will do whatever it can to protect us because deep down we actually love ourselves.
Just like parents can be overprotective of their children, a part of our psyche can be that parent.
When we try to overcome a destructive habit or we try to start something new and scary, that "helicopter parent" part in us will do everything it can to keep us safe to the detriment of staying stuck in old habits and sabotaging behaviors.
If you've been trying to let go of biting your nails, change your eating habits, start a business, tackle organizing the attic, or telling someone how you really feel, there is always a big UNKNOWN.
Will I be missing out? What will people think? Will I be overwhelmed? How will I cope? Will I be rejected? Will I fail? Who will I be without this habit?
There's no way of knowing unless we try; at the same time, we can't white-knuckle ourselves into action because that part of ourselves trying to keep us safe will do everything it can to keep us in a *known* sense of self.
And soon enough, we will hit a wall and fall back to the same old behaviors.
To it, unknow = danger. And it needs soothing.
When you deal with self-sabotage...
Notice what comes up when you take - or think of taking - the first step out of your comfort zone.
Acknowledge the part of you that feels scared (of missing out, of what people will think, of failing, etc.).
Regulate the nervous system as you do so, (tapping, deep breathing, noticing somatic sensations...) so you can slowly feel at ease with the new habit/activity/exposure.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Rewiring our reactions takes practice. It's not a magic wound in action: "poof" your fears are gone. It is everyday work, exposure and commitment. And over time, shifts will start happening.
In conclusion, this is an invitation to let go of the old rhetoric that we need to push these feelings away because they are perceived as getting in the way.
The only way out of self-sabotage is not *away* from these feelings of misguided self-love but *through*.