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Stop Sabotaging Yourself in 5 Easy Steps

Stop Sabotaging Yourself in 5 Easy Steps

If you find that you are not moving progressively in the direction of your dreams and goals, or that you begin projects and never finish them, most likely you are sabotaging yourself somewhere in the process. This could be from negative self-beliefs or unhealthy behaviors, a fear of failure or success, or a combination of these things. It is important to realize that sabotage will limit your ability to move toward your goals and the future that you desire.

In this article, I will share with you 5 steps to stop self-sabotage. Self-sabotage prevents or limits you from achieving your goals due to negative self-image, fears and a lack of confidence. Often times, we are our own biggest enemy. We have a mental tug-of-war between the conscious and the subconscious mind. The fear of failure, lack of confidence, and fear of change is in our subconscious mind, causing us much grief.

1. Discover why you are sabotaging yourself.

As crazy as it sounds, many people sabotage themselves on a routine basis. This isn’t done intentionally or even knowingly often times; it is just a mechanism that many have built up within themselves throughout the years that simply keeps them within their “comfort zone.” What they fail to realize is that they are actually missing out on some of the best things life could offer them if they only step out and defeat this ideology.

The reason why self-sabotage is prevalent is because it is an outer manifestation of an inner struggle with shame, anger, or unworthiness. To begin to make progress, it is vital that you identify the areas where you are practicing self-sabotage. Look at the various areas of your life, such as finances, health, career and relationships. Determine which areas you need to defeat this monster in.

To give you an example, I will present an overview of an eye-opening discovery I made concerning myself and why I was sabotaging myself.

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I bought myself a journal book for the purpose of getting back into writing after a time of inactivity. I had barely begun writing when negative voices and comments began to attack me. Why bother? You will never really do anything with your writing anyway. What makes you think you will progress this time? Who do you think you are? What do you think you could ever do for anyone else by your writing? They are all just dreams, not reality. And on and on it went.

I was being bullied by my own mind. For whatever reason, that day was the wrong day to pick on me! I decided then and there I was going to work this out. I was tired of living a life without fulfillment and purpose because every time I would try to succeed I would be shot down before barely beginning. I knew I needed to discover why I did this to myself, and I needed to look deep inside to combat this ugliness. It was high time for me to arise and conquer! After some soul searching of my own, I discovered I had a fear of rejection, ridicule or not being accepted. I had been feeding myself self-limiting negative beliefs and sabotaging my own progress in life.

2. Journal, journal, journal.

One of the best tools, I have found, when embarking on a course of self-discovery and change, is to invest in a journal-type notebook that allows you to write out the many things that you discover, feel and think.

A few simple guidelines about journal writing:

• There are no rules.

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• Write freely without concern with grammar.

• Express yourself openly.

• This is for your eyes only.

• Enjoy!

When you first begin to journal, it may be intimidating to see the empty page. Some people love an empty page and are full of thoughts and inspiration. Others may stare blankly at the page without any idea of what to say.

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The main thing is just to begin to WRITE. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. Whatever is on your mind, just begin to express it. There are many sites online that offer Journal Prompts to help you begin to write. I find the more freedom of expression you have in your journal the more useful it is. I love motivational and inspirational quotes! Sometimes I will just write a quote down and then it opens my mind for response.

Doodle, draw, or write down lyrics to songs you like. Whatever feels good to you, simply do it! I love having a splash of color so I add scrap booking material onto some of my pages or photos. You may just surprise yourself with how creative you can become.

3. Practice positive “mental chatter.”

One of the most powerful ways to destroy self-limiting beliefs is through positive self-talk. Whether you realize it or not, you talk to yourself every day. Self-talk is the conversation that goes on in your mind about your performance and behavior.Your self-talk is built by your thoughts. Apparently we each have over 50,000 thoughts each day (that must have been an interesting study!).

Most of us are involved in constant mental chatter. We talk to ourselves all day long and, unfortunately, this self -talk is frequently negative. Often it is peppered with guilt about our past or anxiety about our future. This negativity destroys our hope. Each conversation that you have with yourself reinforces in your mind who you are and what you are capable of and, most critically, builds or demolishes your self-esteem and self-worth.

The approach to changing the way you speak to yourself is quite simple and yet, it can be so difficult to put into practice merely because you are unaccustomed to speaking to yourself in positive ways.

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Once you begin to put this into practice, however, several things will happen. First, you will realize just how often you berate yourself. Secondly, you will begin to adjust the way you talk to yourself. Thirdly, you will begin to think differently about yourself, as your self-esteem and confidence builds.

4. Stop comparing yourself with others.

Do you constantly compare yourself to others? Comparison doesn’t motivate us to do more or be better; instead, it makes us feel even more inadequate. When we compare ourselves with others, we place unmerited worth on the person we are focused on. There are so many variables in each person’s life that it is unrealistic to try to be who they are. By comparing ourselves with others, we are lessening the view of our own beauty and potential. We are not made to be clones of one another. We need to be true to our authentic self rather than a replica of someone else. When we compare, we limit our own potential. We break away from our true selves by imitating or wanting to imitate someone else. There is nothing more liberating than being authentic!

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    5. Become your own best friend.

    How often do we overlook other people’s faults and mistakes and then come down hard on ourselves for the same type of behavior? We give time and attention to everyone in our world and leave no time to nurture ourselves. When dealing with self-sabotaging behavior, it is crucial to become your own best friend. Personally, I feel it is a vital key for anyone desiring to reach their potential and live a quality life. Self sabotage causes us to run away from ourselves and fill our days with activity. Set time aside to spend quality time doing things that you love to do.  Embark on a journey of self love and discovery. Unleash your true potential. You are an amazing person and it is time to end sabotaging yourself. Stop sabotaging yourself and live in freedom!

    Featured photo credit: Photo Pin via

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2019

    How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

    How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

    Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

    In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

    Step right up, don’t be shy!

    Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

    The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

    Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

    Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
    So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

    A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

    Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

    Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

    When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

    Culturally Conditioned

    We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

    I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

    The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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    Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

    Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

    Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

    1. Broadens Your Network

    After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

    2. Improves Your Communication Skills

    I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

    Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

    3. Continually Learning

    So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

    Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

    4. Increases Self Confidence

    Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

    Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

    So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

    How to Talk to Strangers

    Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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    1. Say Hello

    Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

    Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

    Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

    2. Ask About Them

    Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

    You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

    As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

    3. Just Do It

    One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

    When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

    Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

    4. Don’t Take It Personal

    One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

    When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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    5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

    I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

    One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

    6. Detach

    A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

    Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

    7. Share Your Stories

    Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

    To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

    So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

    8. Give a Compliment

    Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

    When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

    9. Relax Your Body Language

    If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

    When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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    If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

    10. Practice, Practice, Practice

    Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

    Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

    After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

    The Bottom Line

    As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

    There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

    Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

    Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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