Fear, along with low self-esteem, eventually leads to self-sabotage. I know. For years I was the queen of self-sabotage. My self-image was not consistent with how the world saw me. I achieved a great deal of business success selling real estate when I was in my early 20s.
I would literally look in the mirror trying to find the strong assertive person the outside world was seeing. All I could see was someone who was putting up a big front to appear cool. I was confused by my personal success when I was young because I had nothing nurturing or positive in my life to which I could relate the personal growth.
At the time, I wasn’t sure why I was getting all this money and acclaim. I didn’t think I was worthy of it, and believed that I didn’t deserve success or happiness. I achieved the level of business success because I was highly skilled, but my low self-esteem drove me to throw it all away.
The consequences of my low self-esteem and self-sabotage were many. If I can, I’d like to save you from the same fate by parting the curtain.
First, my personal life: I felt unworthy of my first husband, but you wouldn’t have known it by the way I treated him. My self-sabotaging brain decided the way to keep him was to tear him down to my level so he would feel lucky to have anyone, even me. Then he wouldn’t leave me.
I still get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach thinking about how I hurt myself, my personal development and other people with my low self-esteem. Don’t ever kid yourself into thinking your level of self-esteem isn’t influencing the quality of life for people around you.
In my business life, the self-sabotage was straightforward. I would achieve a great deal of business success until it got too uncomfortable for my self-image to handle, and then I would destroy my achievement and my work/life balance.
I’d make my job undesirable by having a conflict or a philosophical difference where I would have to leave to maintain my ‘higher ground’. Some of these were pretty elaborate, so I could feel superior when I left.
Similar circumstances happen more often than you’d think. I see them played out by friends and co-workers over and over throughout the years. They’re easy to spot for someone like me, a former self-saboteur.
Self-sabotage is a self-fulfilling prophecy that puts people back in their comfort zone of “I knew it would all go away sooner or later. Nothing good ever lasts.”
See, I grew up in the land of “Who do you think you are?” This is still a common message kids receive today. It can be difficult reconciling personal success with that message. Without a strong positive self-image, all success is temporary.
On the positive side, another self-fulfilling prophecy is that if you “act as if” you are self-assured, knowledgeable and have work/life balance, you will become exactly that.
You’ve heard the saying, “Fake it until you make it.” This is not being phony. To become more positive, you have to start somewhere, and this is the first step towards personal growth.
The key to building self-esteem is to know that your opinion is the only one that counts. Others just influence your opinions. You can accept or reject what they say about your personal development.
High self-esteem is a gift you can only give to yourself. It’s a very valuable gift.