Let´s talk a bit on self destructiveness. You know when you are your own worst critic and actually sabotage for yourself and limit your self growth and the ability to expand and nurture your gifts. It actually blinds you to see what you are and the qualities you reside in yourself.
So where to these destructive thoughts come from?
We often assume that because we think it, it comes solely from ourselves. But that is not the case you see. More so, the inner saboteur regurgitate words that we have heard elsewhere.
Let’s take the example of a sentence that my inner saboteur loves to throw at me: “You are not enough”.
Is it really coming from me or is this a sentence that I’ve heard over and over, until I internalised it?
Don’t get me wrong, this one was a voice shaping my inner struggle for years , and I don’t need anyone to tell me this to think it. But an inner saboteur voice is made much stronger if it echoes other people’s voices.
Does your saboteur take the voice of what you hear from the external world you exist in, a bully or someone in your life being overly critical?
Some voices will come from your childhood, some will come from traumatic events, some will come from society in general.
This is why you need to surround yourself with a supportive entourage. Otherwise the critics and putdowns from the outside will resonate with your inner critic and paralyse you.
To recognize and identify your inner saboteur is the most crucial step into fighting this voice. Since you need to fight this one. Or at least mark a statement and stop it from ruling your energy and mindset.
This is where things get tricky, because your inner saboteur is very clever. It disguises its poison under “rationalisation” or “realism”.
For example, mine tells me to “Oh you will screw up”, meaning never being enough.
And the problem is, it passes as “sensible” and it IS sensible to not spend too long celebrating something, because you always have to move and progress. But under the guise of “sensible”, it has prevented me to trust where I am and my abilities.
So to recognise its patterns and where it’s more likely to appear is valid.
Do you project your feelings onto someone och something else? Do you jump to conclusion? Do you over-generalise? Does your inner dialogue includes words like “always” or “never”?
These are all signs that your saboteur is in charge.
In order to silence your saboteur you need to challenge it. Question it and check its facts.
There are flaws in its reasoning so you need to prove it wrong.
Next time you start to doubt yourself worth, ask yourself if that is really true.
Is it true that you deserve less than others? That is is ok for others and yourself to step over you? Overpower your? Would you say these things to other people?
We tend to think that everything that comes out of our head is true, which is false and that means you can make the decision to entertain constructive thoughts only instead of destructive ones.
For example, let’s say that you are preparing to speak in public:
- Destructive thought: “Nobody will like it” ( Too final, gloomy and there’s nothing to do to change that)
- Positive thought: “I will rule” – (Too generic and there’s no proof or strategy)
- Constructive thought: “Now it’s time to prepare myself, practice and get down the core aspects of what I wish to communicate” (Open, it’s a strategy, and it’s believable)
If you do this mental exercise of training your thinking towards constructiveness, systematically you’ll notice a shift in your thought patterns and you will not trigger the saboteur as often as you used to, because it has nothing to hold on to and feed off from. So in other words, practice on giving that voice less airspace, food and nourishment. Instead start to feed a thought pattern that builds a stronger thinking path.
You probably won’t be able to change your self-destructive behaviors overnight, but you can use your failures to learn better ways of curbing them next time. Think about what made you choose to engage in a self-destructive behavior against your better judgment, then think about ways to circumnavigate that roadblock next time.
The Bottom Line
Self-destructive behavior is when you repeatedly do things that will harm you physically, mentally, or both. It can range from mild to life-threatening.
If you think you’re engaging in self-destructive behavior, you probably are. You don’t have to live this way. You deserve better.
See your doctor or find a qualified cognitive mental health professional. In therapy, you can work through the cause and effects of self-destructive behavior. Other things that do help is breath work, gentle yoga practice, hiking, jogging, weight lifting, creative work and sleep therapy. I highly recommend clinical hypnosis and also cognitive therapy. This book by Jeffrey Young/ Janet Klosko (PhDs), founders of Schema Therapy is a fantastic source to learn more. And I highly recommend this way of mental habilitation.
You can find new coping skills and practice alternate behaviors. You can live a happier, less self-destructive life.