Why You Sabotage Yourself

. 2 min read

People, especially highly motivated and ambitious people, sabotage themselves from time to time. This should come as no surprise. You've probably sabotaged yourself in the past, perhaps even right now, and therefore, I wonder: have you ever looked for an answer to why you do it? Probably yes. So what was the answer you found?

Fyodor Dostoevsky would say that people sabotage themselves to prove that they're not piano keys - meaning, that you're a living human being, not some inanimate object that can be manipulated and controlled much like a puppet master controls a puppet. It's not rational, it doesn't help you get where you want to go, but it proves that you own yourself.

Another reason you sabotage yourself could be because you have got so used to the feeling of being the best you that an additional upgrade doesn't feel like anything anymore. You long for the rush of becoming better, and since the traditional means don't cut it anymore, you take a step back - become a lesser version of yourself - so that you can rise back up again and feel the excitement that comes with progress.

A third reason could be one of the most natural human drives: the desire to fall, to let go to your carnal desires. Especially if you've been in an order (fear of life) state for too long; nothing feels better than to give up control if you've exercised extreme control for a good while.

Whatever the reason, three things are clear:

  1. To sabotage yourself is completely normal and human.
  2. Sabotaging yourself can cause an opposite reaction that propels you into a new level of the best you.
  3. It's a nice hack that not only reminds you that you own yourself, but also allows you to shake up the status quo a bit.

So if you want to use self-sabotage to make a change for the better - you can do it. But perhaps you think you want to extinguish the inclination to sabotage yourself completely. Can you do that?

Maybe. Theoretically, I think it's possible - you only need to remind yourself regularly of the climb still ahead of you (and believe that it's there) and of the fact that you chose this mountain yourself (and believe that you did).

Psychologically, though, I reckon it'll be extremely difficult.

And completely unnecessary.