Five Steps to Overcome Self-Sabotage

“Believe in your heart that you’re meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles.”
~ Roy Bennett

Understanding Self-Sabotage

In the simplest form, anything from within that hinders us from achieving a better version of ourselves is self-sabotage. 

Ha, that was easy, but the truth is the roots of self-sabotage run deep, so we fail to recognize it on the surface. Self-sabotage holds us back from achieving our true purpose or walking the path of our calling.

It’s easy to be stuck in a pattern of self-sabotage as we’re brought up with the notion that we need to excel in school, then university, get a good job and keep achieving monetary success. 

Then one day, your inner voice says, but I wanted to become an actor, and the life you’re currently living is what your parents wanted. You convince yourself that you’re doing well, and to fill the void you start working out more or partying harder on the weekends.

Suppressing this inner calling that holds your true desire is nothing but self-sabotage. Debi Silber in the video below gives us a more detailed look into the various kinds of self-sabotage.

Stop Sabotaging Yourself | Debi Silber | TEDxFultonStreet

“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.” ~ Frank Zappa

Yes, thank’s Frank, though that may come across as a little harsh, in reality it’s all empowering. If it’s your fault it also means that you have the power to turn your life around and stop sabotaging yourself.

Overcoming Self-Sabotage

From Debi’s video it becomes quite clear, that an increasing number of people prefer to stick to a familiar pain and suppress the discomfort of their inner calling. Breaking out of the comfort zone isn’t easy, and neither is finding the cause and working on the reason of your self-sabotage. So why do we get stuck in self-sabotage?

“The comfort zone is a psychological state in which one feels familiar, safe, at ease, and secure. If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones.”  ~ Roy T. Bennett


Here are a few ways how we can identify and overcome self-sabotage ~

Identify the behaviour that triggers self-sabotage

Our habits are the first place that we should look at, this again is a tricky situation as cognitive dissonance is generally going to trigger here. For me personally I’m a gamer, and I have been told multiple times that I spend too much time gaming. 

This isn’t a new habit, it started in childhood and is here with me to date. My mother, wife, friends everyone has tried bringing it to my notice, but I always find a way to justify my addiction. (it took me a few seconds to consider if I should call it an addiction) 

If I could cut down on my gaming time and use the time more fruitfully for work and family and find balance, many aspects of my life will improve, which is what I’m trying to do now. 

Journaling and evening meditations can help you identify the patterns in your behaviour that lead to self-sabotage. What kind of behaviour stops you from achieving your highest potential? 

It doesn’t have to be just addiction, it can be a way of thinking, a voice in the head, a belief that is holding you back. The next step helps you identify this voice and work on it.

Identify the voice that leads to self-sabotage

Our past experiences are one of the main reasons why we end up in situations that lead to self-sabotage. For children with a rough childhood, traumatic relationships or those who have suffered abuse, all of this shapes our perspective. We tend to see the world through the lens of these perspectives, which in turn shapes our experiences.

Shirzad Chamine explains to us that there are nine kinds of voices that lead to self-sabotage in the upcoming video. The controller, victim, hyper-achiever, avoider, pleaser etc. are a few of them.

He calls them the Saboteurs, the voice that keeps judging other people, the voice that can’t say no and forces you to please other people. To gain control over these voices, we need to firstly be able to identify them.

It’s not necessary that only people who have had negative experiences operate with saboteurs, but even people who have not faced trauma. For example people who have not responded to their calling will have at least one, if not more saboteurs.

While the opposite of the Saboteur is the Sage, the positive intelligence brain, whose main focus is on thriving. In the picture above you can see the emotions related to each of these brain types. 

Shirzad states that once you identify the Saboteur’s voice, you need to change it to the Sage’s voice. Every time you do it you end up rewriting your brain in a positive way. Eventually you end up hearing the voice of the sage instead of the saboteur. 

Go ahead and watch the video below as it will really help with identification of the voice of self-sabotage and confronting it.

Know your inner saboteurs: Shirzad Chamine at TEDxStanford

Expand or Contract Your Circle

“To be of good quality, you have to excuse yourself from the presence of shallow and callow minded individuals.”  ~ Michael Bassey Johnson

As they say birds of a feather flock together. It’s important to take some time and see who you’re hanging out with, not just your friends, but even your associates at work, your family.

Are any of these people operating from the Saboteurs perspective? If yes, consider bringing it to their notice. But if they are not willing to change, it might just make matters worse. Although at times it makes sense to distance yourself from them, self-care is an essential part of the process.

Similarly invest your time in people who build you up, those who show the emotional signs of a positive intelligent brain can help you grow and rub off on you as well. 

Stick with It

One of the most important parts is sticking to it, the science does not work if you do it randomly. Everytime you hear the voice or have negative thoughts you need to check where they stem from.

It does get tough when you’re at work or in the midst of something but that’s why I mentioned the evening meditation where you play back your day before you go to bed so you can spot behaviour that you may not have caught.

Motivation is a key factor to this, so come up with a treat list. If I manage to confront my judgmental behaviour and let the sage out three times today, I get a brownie. Whatever motivates you, come up with a plan, set some goals, this is for a better yourself, you got to go out and get it!

Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends

Gotta love The Beatles and Joe Cocker, and yes if you find sticking to it difficult, get a friend or family member that you’re dependable on to help you stick to your goals.

It’s always nice to have someone to talk to and discuss your challenges and successes. Plus they can also help with the observation part when you’re around them and give your observer a much-needed break.

With a trusted partner you can open up to discussing perspectives and worldviews that shape your reality and figure out where you need assistance in growing.

“Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself. Believe in yourself, your abilities and your own potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for.” ~ Roy T. Bennett


I hope this article helps you get some clarity on the entire self-sabotage scenario and puts forth constructive steps to confront the saboteurs in the head! Heal well friends, the world needs more people operating from the sage perspective!

Image Sources:

Self-Sabotage by Lazaro Hurtado
Self-Sabotage by Sasa Nemec

Please share, it really helps! :) <3

A Psychonaut who believes that humans have tremendous unharnessed powers within. To be immersed in the boundless gifts of nature and being self-sufficient is my Ikigai. With years of web tech experience, I founded and maintain Fractal Enlightenment.
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