Getting in your own way is another term for self-sabotage. Ultimately, we are the decision makers in our lives, whether it appears that way, or is hidden in metaphors and symbols.
In sharing with others how self-sabotage can appear, I am often asked why we continue to do it and where it comes from.
Self-sabotage is a protective behavior that we use when our internal mechanism feels fearful.
Everything we do is on some level, a re-enactment of our early childhood experiences, many of which we have imprinted as messages that create fear within us.
Sabotage is at work when a poor decision we have made, interferes with what is best for us. What we should be doing daily is living our lives authentically and fully. Robbing ourselves of that experience keeps us feeling small and powerless. And at some point, we will become angry, and that anger will hold us back too.
Maybe this is you: your reports are always late, riddled with the same type of mistakes over and over, eliciting from your boss a stern conversation. Or you cut corners and hope that no one notices (except that you lose respect for yourself). Sometimes you play the helpless victim when in fact, you could be making other choices and taking back your power. Or, things are not your fault and you blame others.
Where does it come from?
Self-sabotage is a coping behavior learned in our formative years.
The message we learned early on was "adapt to us," "fit in," or "don't make such a fuss," which as a child, we interpreted as: who you are is not acceptable, you need to make changes in order to survive.
Remember the adage that children should be seen and not heard?
My own skillfulness in denial kept following me like a shadow for years, always lurking over my shoulder, never in front of me, always visible after the damage was done. That denial dominoes into my business life; I had become a serial entrepreneur, having 4 careers and 22 jobs by the time I was 58.
The turning point for me involved several stressful events all intersecting at the same time, resulting in falling over my own financial cliff; I was forced to make a choice: survive by taking responsibility for my poor choices and gaining self-awareness, or abdicate responsibility and end up living in my cousin’s converted garage.
In examining my poor choices, I discovered my own self-sabotage, which I later learned came from fear.
In dismantling my paralyzing fear, I uncovered deeper issues that, for the first time, had an appropriate place for expression. I eventually became ready to face them, to work on healing them and, ultimately, to let go of them.
Learning to let go is the hardest thing to do. It is the linchpin; unless we can open up and free that internal fear, it will dominate our daily lives.
Once we understand the old protective mechanisms in our heads, we can start to see when they apply across the full spectrum of our lives, affecting how we handle all relationships, including our relationship with money.