Making Space

Musings about authenticity and the subconscious layers protecting it.

Why We Self-Sabotage (and how to break free)

healing limiting beliefs sabotage Apr 29, 2022
Broken railroad tracks

Why we Self-Sabotage & How to Break Free 

Recently I responded to a post in our Making Space Community about why we sabotage.

There are many reasons, but today I’m focusing on this one: we sabotage ourselves in order to uphold beliefs we created as a small child.

Most of the time we aren’t even aware of these beliefs because they’re locked into our subconscious, under the surface. Even though they’re influencing all our decisions, we can’t see them, and they fly under the radar (remember, the subconscious is 90% of our operating system).

We’re left asking ourselves, “why did I just do that?” or “why do I keep doing this?” or “there’s a part of me that just won’t stop!”

Most of us have created some kind of subconscious programming and beliefs around 3 pivotal areas:

  1.  Feeling not good enough in some way

Not good enough, not smart enough, not good looking enough, not (fill in the blank) enough.

  1. What I want isn’t available to me

Think of a goal you have. Something you want, but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get it. Deep down, subconsciously, you may have a belief that you don’t deserve it, or that it’s just not available to you.

  1. Fear of being authentic (being different from our peers or family)

This is not logical, it’s very primal; subconscious; generational.

Not fitting in at school or at home can feel really scary as a little one – you’re relying on the people around you to keep you alive, keep you safe because you can’t yet take care of yourself. And if you feel like you’re different, it could feel like at risk of being left behind. Being ostracized would be a real subconscious fear you would want to avoid at all costs.


Our subconscious takes these beliefs and filters, deletes, distorts, and generalizes reality and information coming in to align to those beliefs and make you “right”.

Which means you won’t see other choices, solutions, or make things easy for yourself because that would contradict your belief system and make you “wrong”.

So, although it looks like sabotage to your logical, conscious, adult brain – it’s actually completely aligned to your inner child’s subconscious beliefs. That’s the tension you’re experiencing when you sabotage (it’s also why we do inner child work in my program Making Space).


Sabotage Defined

I define sabotage as recurring habits, default behavior, or any subconscious way you keep yourself feeling safe when you’re out of your comfort zone.

It’s a paradox, because in order to achieve any new goal – we MUST be out of our comfort zone. 

So, if we don’t allow that or can’t sustain the discomfort in that – it reinforces our original belief that what we want isn’t available to us, or we aren’t good enough. 


(Check out my post on how to interrupt these patterns here).


Why We Get Caught In Cycles and Repeated Patterns

You can see how crucial your awareness is. Without awareness of your beliefs or where they come from, it can feel disempowering; like life is happening “to you”, and you have no control. It’s an energy drain.

Feeling disempowered doesn’t often lead to change; instead, it creates cycles and repeated patterns of self-sabotage, which reinforces the feelings of not having control and feeling helpless, which creates more sabotage. It’s a nasty cycle.


How to Break Free

For the purposes of a blog and keeping it short and sweet; breaking free requires 3 ingredients:

  1. Awareness (increase self-awareness)
  2. Choice (give yourself more than 2 choices)
  3. Empowerment (following through with new choices)

To bring awareness to your subconscious beliefs is empowering, because you realize they can be changed, and you can change. It gets you out of that cycle of sabotage and helplessness. It’s empowering.

As adults we have 3 things we didn’t have as children: new perspectives, new information, and most importantly: choice.

I’ve often said if you’re not actively updating your subconscious mind, you *may* be walking around with beliefs you created as a small child. When we disrupt those old beliefs, we’re no longer required to uphold them. We give ourselves more and better choices. Empowering, and kryptonite for sabotage.


With awareness come choice. With choice comes change.


Updating your subconscious beliefs in hypnotherapy is powerful because it brings awareness to your old beliefs, allows you to update your programming with new and improved beliefs, leaving a glow of empowerment, and driving change.  

Remember, when you update your subconscious mind in hypnotherapy, you’re also positively influencing 90% of your operating system. It’s powerful stuff.

This is what we do in my 6-week online program Making Space. It’s the foundational work of removing helplessness and victimhood and creating empowerment, creating choices to stop sabotaging yourself (and living authentically), and reach your goals.

Listen to the Podcast

Making Space with Jen Pillipow

Themes: authenticity, goals, entrepreneurship, spirituality, self-awareness, empowerment, personal development and growth.


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