Self-sabotage and how to avoid it

Quite often things will be going well in our life. All of a sudden, we do or say something that sabotages the happy moment. Why do we do it?

Gay Hendricks calls this ‘the upper limit’ in his book ‘The Big Leap’. The concept of the “upper limit” refers to self-imposed limitations or barriers that prevent individuals from achieving higher levels of success, happiness, and fulfilment in their lives.

As an example, you would have had a fantastic day at the office, your boss would have praised you for a job well done. On the way back home, you start thinking of all the chores at home and how you have to go back and do it all, that no one (either your partner or children) helps you at home. A day that was successful in many ways is now reduced to ‘my life is so hard’. This can be because you cannot accept praise from someone else and unconsciously you sabotage in another area of your life.

There can be many symptoms like this – illness/getting hurt, worry, squabbling, deflection, criticism and blame which can be signs of your ‘upper limit’ kicking in.

Recognizing and managing your upper limits involves self-awareness and taking proactive steps to overcome these limitations. Here’s a general approach to recognizing and managing your upper limits:

***Self-reflection and awareness: Take time for self-reflection and introspection to identify patterns or behaviours that may be limiting your progress or causing self-sabotage. Pay attention to areas of your life where you consistently encounter challenges or experience negative emotions.

***Notice self-sabotaging behaviours: Observe any self-sabotaging behaviours or thoughts that arise when you’re experiencing success or happiness. These can include feelings of unworthiness, fear of failure or success, guilt, shame, or a general sense of discomfort when things are going well.

***Identify your upper limit triggers: Explore the situations, events, or circumstances that tend to trigger your upper limit behaviours. These triggers could be related to relationships, money, health, career, or personal achievements. Understanding your specific triggers can help you recognize when you’re entering your upper limit zone.

***Develop self-compassion and self-acceptance: Practice self-compassion and acceptance by acknowledging that upper limits are a normal part of the human experience. Be kind to yourself and avoid self-judgment when you notice these patterns. Remember that recognizing and addressing your upper limits is a journey of personal growth.

***Challenge limiting beliefs: Examine the beliefs that underlie your upper limit behaviours. Are these beliefs based on fear, past experiences, or self-doubt? Question the validity of these beliefs and consider alternative perspectives that empower and support your growth.

***Take responsibility for your choices: Recognize that you have the power to make different choices and break free from your upper limits. Take responsibility for your own happiness and success by consciously choosing thoughts, behaviours, and actions that support your growth and well-being.

***Seek support and accountability: Engage with a coach, therapist, or trusted friend who can provide guidance, support, and feedback as you navigate your upper limits. Having someone to hold you accountable and provide an outside perspective can be invaluable in managing your growth.

***Practice self-care and self-nurturing: Prioritize self-care activities that nourish your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This can include activities like exercise, meditation, journaling, spending time in nature, pursuing hobbies, and cultivating positive relationships.

Remember that managing your upper limits is an ongoing process. It requires consistent self-reflection, self-awareness, and a commitment to personal growth. By recognizing and addressing your upper limits, you can break through self-imposed barriers and create a life of greater success, happiness, and fulfilment.