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We are more than our thoughts: A Research Journal on Self-Sabotaging

Oftentimes, things do not go the way we wanted them to. Of course, some people spend much of their lives suffering from a fierce desire for food, drinks, gambling, or other temptations that cause painful damage to their health and relationships. However, the power of self-sabotaging is more subtle, such as people underestimating their abilities, suppressing emotions, blaming others, or accumulating dysfunctional and distorted beliefs.

Self-sabotaging happens when we destroy ourselves physically, mentally, or emotionally or purposefully hinder our own success and wellbeing by neglecting personal goals and values (Brenner, 2019). This is also known as behavioral dysregulation and can be conscious or unconscious depending on the level of our awareness. This is when we choose not to put the effort into important things because we keep on thinking that we are not smart enough or passionate enough to accomplish it which in a way verifies negative beliefs about ourselves. They feel uncomfortable when they are on the verge of success. They were told they would fail for the rest of their lives or told themselves that they would fail throughout their life. On the other hand, people who seem to be “perfectionists” are also prone to self-sabotaging whenever something goes wrong, as often happens, perfectionists revert to embarrassment towards themselves thinking that they disappointed everyone. Setting big goals for yourself can often be overwhelming. It is recommended to take small steps at a time so we won’t also overwork ourselves. Remember, small progress is still progress. This negative behavior is time-consuming and requires a lot of energy and work. A study by researchers at Indiana University reported counterintuitive results in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. In this case, they did not compromise their performance when they had the best cognitive resources, not when they were tired. Therefore, it takes a lot of energy to continue this behavior which can result in maladaptive outcomes.

Surely we want everything in our life to go smoothly as possible but we have to remember that we are human beings that ought to make mistakes so we can learn, but this is also not a reason for us to undervalue ourselves as it makes us feel worse. We need to learn the concept of being and having enough. For the people who constantly doubt themselves and undervalue themselves, we need to know that we are not perfect but we are capable of improving. Strive for excellence and improvement, not perfection. Make small improvements and record your progress towards achieving your desired goals and remind yourself that we are enough for ourselves and more than our thoughts.



[1] What Is Self-Sabotage? How to Help Stop the Vicious Cycle. (2021, April 22).

[2] Field, B. (2022, January 28). Why We Self-Sabotage and How To Stop the Cycle. Verywell Mind.

[3] Wilson, C. (2019). Self-Sabotage. Psychology Today. Psychology Today.


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