March 4, 2024

When We Sabotage Situations on the Brink of Success.


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Some people always seem to complete their projects and reach their goals. Others have a pattern of quitting or even sabotaging situations on the brink of success.

Most of us set at least some goals and have ways to stay on track. Accountability partners and systems of reward and punishment might propel us over the finish line. However, for those who commonly pull back just when they are about to achieve their aim, accessing the unconscious may reveal insights that can break the pattern at last.

Even those who consciously want to make a career change or achieve a less dramatic goal, such as exhibiting one’s artwork publicly, might have a hidden, unconscious desire to hold on to the dream of meeting the goal “someday.” They might find themselves not following through on their promise to themselves and then wondering why.

Part of them might genuinely wish to meet the goal. However, there may be a part of them that feels it’s better to keep a dream alive, so they take no steps to achieve it. That way, they don’t have to face potential failure.

If we continue on our way to achieving our goal, our hoped-for “someday” might not come: we might have trouble finding a job we like or convincing a gallery to let us show our artwork. The fear of failure and disappointment can be a hidden obstacle. It can seem much safer to simply give up, perhaps even at the last possible minute before we are about to achieve success.

Regardless of what we consciously think, believe, and feel, if we keep stopping short of the finish line, engaging our unconscious to gain information can help us move past the block and break the old habit of self-sabotage in the home stretch.

Within each of us is an inner wise person who has answers to our questions and insights that will help us to shatter old patterns. We can dialogue with that part of ourselves—or with the self that never seems to be able to commit to marriage, a career change, or whatever we say we want for ourselves.

A simple way to have a dialogue with the “self” that knows what is keeping us from achieving our dreams is to get into a meditative, calm state and simply pose three questions:

“What is blocking me from achieving my goal?”

“What do I have to let go of to achieve it?”

“What do I have to bring in to achieve it?”

We might have to release our fantasy of achieving the goal despite doing nothing to make that happen. We might also have to release our fear of failure. As for “what do I have to bring in,” it might be a desire for greater comfort with uncertainty and failure.

A dialogue with the inner self could go beyond the three questions I’ve posed here. We might ask for clarification of the answers we receive so that we better understand what our unconscious is trying to tell us. An inner dialogue like this might make all the difference in our ability to follow through with our conscious desire for personal transformation and achieve our goals.

Whatever form the answers come in, as thoughts, images, feelings, or words, it’s important that we allow ourselves to feel sad, disappointed, or even angry at ourselves as we face the truths our unconscious reveals. At least we’ll know why we stop when we want to keep going, why we procrastinate and distract ourselves, and why we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The good news is that a dialogue with our unconscious wisdom could teach us how to stop sabotaging ourselves and situations that are promising. It’s possible to realize we’re okay with failure because we can always create new goals and try different approaches to achieving them.

Shame over self-sabotage can end when we explore why we’re not crossing the finish line. If we fear the death of our dream and the sense of purpose it gives us, we must remember that we can always alter our dreams and create new ones.


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