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Words By Tara Wagner

How to Stop “Self-Sabotaging” (Spoiler Alert: You’re Not)

Tara sitting and laughing on green pin-tucked couch beside large house plant

If you think that you’re struggling with self-sabotaging behaviors, I’ve got a perspective to share with you. In fact, I have shared this with countless female entrepreneurs, and it was the Ahha Moment that made all the difference for them. So, if you want to start taking the rightactions on the right things, watch/read this one on repeat.

Watch here or read below.

How to Stop “Self-Sabotaging” (Spoiler Alert: You’re Not) Click To Tweet

I hear women accusing themselves of this all the time, and worse, I hear women accusing each other of it all the time. And it literally pains me.

Please make sure you watch/read until the very end of this post, because I not only want to offer you a perspective shift to chew on, but also explain to you why I think it’s so important that we drop this whole self sabotage thing from our vocabulary completely.


Here’s the deal, there is no such thing as self-sabotage.

  • You’re not self-sabotaging when you pass up on a big opportunity.
  • You’re not self-sabotaging when you blow a big deal.
  • You’re not self-sabotaging when you’re dragging your feet taking action on something.
  • You’re not self-sabotaging when you fall off the wagon.

Neither your mind nor your body wants to sabotage you (it actually makes no sense at all) because it goes against the very programming in your cells.

You’re not self-sabotaging, you’re self-protecting.

Think about this, your mind and body are designed to function in what it deems as your best interests. That’s programmed into our DNA. It’s always trying to do the best for you based on the information or the bias that it has.

It either wants to do what it thinks will make you feel best, what it thinks will keep you the safest, or what it thinks will help you to meet your needs.

  • You’re self-protecting when you turn down that big opportunity.
  • You’re self-protecting when you sleep through that alarm clock and miss a deadline.
  • You’re self-protecting when you eat foods that make you feel like crap later.

And this is because your mind and body are designed to either protect you from what it finds scary, or from anything it thinks might threaten your ability to meet all of your needs.

All of them.


We have needs for things like safety and security, so getting up on stage (especially if you’ve had a bad experience) can seem to threaten those needs. So your mind either consciously or unconsciously will find a way to protect you and to protect your needs.

Have you ever gotten sick or injured right before a big opportunity? If so, you know what I mean.

A room full of chairs

Let me give you another example that I see all the time.

We have needs for love and support, right? Legitimate human needs for love and support.

But if you set a goal to do something – let’s say make more money than anyone you know has ever made – and you have a belief that that might threaten your ability to meet those needs for love and support…

Maybe you think that people will:

  • Judge you
  • Think that you’re greedy
  • Have all these opinions about you
  • Or reject you in some way

…you’re going to avoid the very thing that’s going to help you to meet your goals out of a desire to protect those needs.

Any time we sense a threat to our needs, we will go into self-protective mode in order to avoid those threats.

The same thing applies to your self-care, Boss Lady, which I know is a thing that we all struggle with.

But here’s the thing, we also have needs for ease and for comfort. So, self care goals can be something that are really hard to stick to, especially if our mind can’t find a way to still meet those other needs.

If your mind thinks it’s going to sacrifice on some needs, it’s going to give up on the whole shebang.

Let me say this againif your mind can see how what you’re doing is going to meet one need, but it’s grappling with how it might meet others, it’s just going to stick to what it knows.

And this can apply to anything, because we all have needs for order and security.

Any damn changes that you’re trying to make in your life, in your relationships, in your business, can get pushed to the back burner because the devil we know is always going to be preferred over the unintentional consequences that we fear.

The devil we know is always going to be preferred over the unintentional consequences that we fear. Click To Tweet

But, none of this is self-sabotaging because every behavior, every action, every reaction is an attempt to either meet or protect your own needs.

And calling it self-sabotage doesn’t help, because it doesn’t help you to identify, listen to, or find ways of honoring those needs.

Do you know what it does do?

It makes us frustrated with ourselves. It makes us start thinking “what the hell is wrong with me that I would actually sabotage something that’s good for me?

It demotivates us, and creates a lack of trust in ourselves and who we are or what we’re capable of.

It feeds a narrative that is neither true, nor helpful, because we’re not sabotaging ourselves, we’re protecting ourselves from some unintentional consequence, or some sacrifice that we think needs to go along with our choice.

Every self-sabotaging behavior, action, or reaction is an attempt to either meet or protect your own needs. -Tara Wagner Click To Tweet

And beating that self-sabotage drum is not going to help you meet those needs and it’s not going to help you solve the problem.

It’s like looking at the fever instead of the infection.

We can push, and push, and push against the symptoms, or actions, but the resistance isn’t just going to go away.

Woman in bd with a blanket over her head


First, stop accusing yourself of something you’re not capable of doing, and start calling to self-protection.

This brings in self forgiveness, and compassion, and it naturally reorients your focus to the only thing that will help you solve the problem, which is your needs.

Second, identify what those needs are, and then any fears or beliefs beneath them that might be influencing them:

  • What are you worried you might have to give up to be successful at this goal?
  • What have you always assumed would be necessary to make this happen?
  • What have you always assumed was true or would go along with it, even if you don’t like it?
  • What are these thoughts telling you about what you really need?
  • What are some new ways that you can approach your goal or desire in a way that also honors and meets those needs?

It’ll walk you through a visual of what I’m describing right now, with your actions, emotions, needs, beliefs, and how those influence one another. And it will offer you up some exercises to help you start the process of uncovering, or undoing this self-sabotaging/self-protecting thing.

Again, it’s free, it’s quick, and it might just blow your mind, but in a good way.

You can grab it for free by clicking the image below or click here to learn more!


Let me know your perspective on self sabotaging, and whether or not you found this perspective helpful.

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*This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.


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