Have you ever been awake at night overthinking an important project, phone call or issue you have to solve the next day, or afraid about how it will be an interview, meeting, or a date? This happens when our subconscious is probably acting in a self-preservation way to avoid failure and shame, often associated with self-sabotaging. It is crucial to understand and recognize what is overthinking and self-sabotaging to stop this, in special that this is what is acting against our chance of becoming successful in life.
In order to stop overthinking and self-sabotaging, it is crucial to understand and recognize these as defects where your mind is actively trying to avoid failure, pain or rejection. It could be one of the main causes of many life failures as your mind is self-limiting to avoid the worst outcomes.
The sabotaging habits and overthinking are many times done involuntarily. We are not aware that we may overthink a situation or event on a daily basis or find a threat that is not actually there. Moreover, with the fear of failure, we are afraid to act on certain things (e.g. ask your crush for a date). What can we do about it, and what is the safe way to stop overthinking and self-sabotaging?
Identifying the self-sabotaging and don’t overthink that.
Not a few times we may be in doubt when we have to accomplish or start something, a project, to make a decision or to proceed with an action you are avoiding for way too long. Not a few times, involuntarily, we are getting in our own way.
If there wasn’t for self-sabotaging, how easy would be to take every decision and action without thinking twice or having remorse? Well, it would actually be a disaster as you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between taking a right or wrong decision. This fear-like event limiting ourselves can fundamentally make the difference between us being the good or the bad guys.
But let’s not go that far, let’s think what can actually happen if you recognize self-sabotaging and you can work with it? Do you remember when you wanted to ask your crush out a few years back, however, you were afraid as she/he could reject you? You lost that chance now, that opportunity and you may not have it again. That is the self-sabotaging pattern which creates a state of fear and anxiety to avoid failure and shame.
Self-sabotaging isn’t just one thing and can have many causes that can negatively impact our decisions; however, recognizing it, you may be able to take the right decision without fear and limitations next time. It is a simple saying, “just do it”. But overthinking the fact that you recognize it may create a loop with no benefits of working this in your advantage.
Recognise self-sabotage in your typical thinking pattern and act on it.
It wouldn’t be hard to recognize your typical thinking pattern. Just try to take a situation, an event you had to deal with, where you know that self-sabotaging had a major impact, and analyze it. By analyzing it, you will be able to identify the flaws in your thinking pattern. Now take a few more similar events and analyze them.
By doing that, you will observe that there is a simple pattern where self-sabotaging can affect your decision. What could it be? The fear to act on it in the first place, or the verbosity when you actually take that decision? or it can be the “little voice” saying that “you cannot do it”. Each of these events is led by self-sabotage where your subconscious is acting in self-preservation, a way to safeguard and defend yourself.
Many times happens this even after an action has been completed when we often overthink our decisions and what could’ve been done differently. This is more than likely your brain trying to improve your further decisions and minimize the risk of failure and shame in the future.
Face the fear of failure, success or to act on things
To continue this as a timeline, after you were able to identify the self-sabotaging in your typical thinking behaviour and pattern, now you know what rests between you wanting to make a decision and the action of actually making that decision. It is the fear of failure, shame, pain, rejection, or basically to say, the fear for the worst outcome.
Have you been thinking that in general, maybe you are actually overthinking this? Well, probably, and in most cases, the overthinking is actually feeding the self-sabotaging. Now let me write down the first fear of failure I am thinking about myself as a real example.
I am writing this blog post, and I am feeding this blog. I often think that I may not be good enough to do it, that there are for sure other people superior to my intellect and with better studies, who can outsource me instantly. I may also fear that even success is a new territory for me, where I could easily fail because I have no experience with success. I am actually sabotaging myself with all these fears, with the fear to act and write articles. But analysing this, I’ve been missing one most crucial feature: Although this article or blog may not be the best, it is for sure different, and to say, the different approaches I am using as compared to a typical blog is what may make this different. This reason is good enough for me to continue to help others for free and to face my fears.
This is a real example it pops in my head instantly, and I recognize it that I am actually sabotaging myself with the fear of failure and even success, where there may be a lack of confidence. Now, think about how this affects your life and you in general when you have to make some special decisions where the odds are not in your favor. What can you do differently to minimize and eliminate the risk of failure, shame or rejection?
Gain confidence, trust and don’t overthink every decision
What would be one of the biggest counterparts of self-sabotaging? It is indeed, confidence. When you are confident and trust yourself that you will make the right decision and do the right thing in your case, the subconscious is suppressed by logical thinking and decision making, minimizing that fear of failure.
One of the tips would be not to overthink every decision you have to make. Just decide without thinking too much about the outcome, such as, if you feel you deserve a promotion at your workplace, you can talk directly to your boss and stop overthinking the fear of rejection. (please, if this is what you are going to do, make sure you still think twice, do not hold me responsible for your actions. For more information, please refer to Terms and Conditions of this website).
Your logical thinking should know when to act or make a decision, or not. I am not underlining by far that now you should face this fear of failure and take all the decision you were unable to take them in the past, even if you feel confident you should do it. Make sure that you analyze the situation without overthinking it, and act in those which comes in your favor without any major impact in your personal, professional or love life. When I spoke before to recognize the self-sabotage in your typical thinking pattern, you should do it so without changing your typical thinking pattern which makes you be… you.
Stop overestimating risk and try new approaches.
As I did mention before, self-sabotaging is a way your subconscious mind is trying to safeguard, to defend yourself minimizing the risk of failure by overestimating it in the first place. When you perceive failure exceedingly, the fear of possible outcome normally stops you from accomplishing something important.
By simply recognizing that when you have a decision to make, you overthink it too much and greatly overestimate the risk, it is good to “take a step back” and visualize the process as a whole. One of the ways I do it, I am trying to “send my mind into the future and perceive this action as memory, how much did it actually impact my life? Well, no negative impact? Then why I am afraid to take this decision?“
There are some other different approaches to boost your confidence and minimize the fear of failure to stop self-sabotaging; however, most of the approaches I recommend is actually to previsualize the process and action as a whole and how much impact can it have, to “lower the barrier” to be less restrictive with yourself, such as don’t overthink any more small decisions with no impact in your life and reduce the thinking process to a minimum about a more important decision to make.
Do not delay and avoid your decisions.
Now that we covered practical decisions and how to act accordingly, let’s talk about another flaw which is part of self-sabotaging: delaying or totally avoiding your decision. Do you remember when I mentioned talking to your crush, as an example? That is the total avoidance of the decision.
Do not get me wrong, also delaying is pretty bad. You wanted to start a project, and however, although you are not afraid to start it or fear that you may fail it, you keep delaying it. And is not the time you need or anything else. In fact, you have no idea why you are delaying it. Are you going out of your comfort zone? Probably not. In fact, is the self-sabotaging which is acting involuntarily without for us to realize it. Sometimes, the self-sabotaging is acting for no reason.
Of course, not everyone has the same limits of delaying things, and this also reflects the person itself: Don’t forget, each of us is different in our own ways, socially, mentally, physically and spiritually, the reason we act differently than each other, where it also could be the reason some people have the nerve to take a better decision than others.
Conclusion on how to stop overthinking and self-sabotaging
Do not forget that each person is different and perceive these tips on total different lengths; however, I made sure that the information I submitted is as correct and clear as possible. I hope this article helped you recognise and consider stopping overthinking and self-sabotaging.
Although this is not a process lightly to consider and act on, it may take time and a great deal to make this work. Just be careful on your own decisions and weight them accordingly.
For now, I have to say goodbye, and I hope to see you around. Take care, and stay safe!
Emily Sullivan, the insightful Editor-in-Chief of lifeisloaded.com, is a passionate advocate for personal and professional growth. With over a decade of experience in the field of self-improvement, Emily has dedicated her career to empowering individuals to unlock their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.
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