When perfectionism causes self sabotage: Getting in my way

What happens if I let go?

I’ve been self sabotaging for years. I realized this fact only recently.

I used to wonder why situations didn’t seem to “work out” or “fall into place.” Why was I constantly dissatisfied?

The answer: Me.

For years, I have been in my own way. I’ve found ways to sabotage those “what ifs” so that they never came to fruition. I’ve stood, unmoving, at the start of pathways, refusing to walk forward.

I’ve made choices knowing full well they were the wrong ones, going against the advice of therapists, family members, friends, and the healthy voice in my head.

Why? Why have I subconsciously chosen to remain stagnant in life? Why have I self sabotaged for so many years?

Because I’m a perfectionist. Because I’m terrified of change. Terrified of the unknown. Terrified of failing at unknown endeavors. If I don’t know if I can perfectly achieve something (even though the idea of “perfect” is relative, and, arguably, nonexistent), I choose not to attempt it. Sounds like a bad idea, right? It is.

But it’s safe. Sabotaging opportunities keeps me in a familiar place. Not taking risks saves me from those unknowns, from those potential failures. For years, I’ve subconsciously decided that it’s better to remain stagnant and not fail rather than take a risk and fail.

For the first time, I’m wondering if I still believe this.

I find myself daydreaming of other possibilities. Of those terrifying “what ifs.” Of not failing, but actually achieving opportunities and potential life paths.

For the first time, I’m wondering what could happen if I get out of my own way. What would happen if I let go of my perfectionism? What if I stopped self sabotaging? What if I let go of what’s keeping me protected from potential failures?

Letting go is scary. Stepping forward into unknown waters is a step I have hesitated to take. But to evolve as a person, isn’t it necessary?

Maybe it’s time I let go. Maybe it’s time I let go from the self sabotage that’s keeping me paralyzed, frozen in place. Maybe I should accept failing. Accept that unknowns aren’t always something to be feared. Unknowns can lead to positive experiences and possibilities. But I have to walk forward to find out.

Realizing that I self sabotage as a means of avoiding failure is a step forward in itself. Awareness is progress. But not only should I be aware of it: The trick now is to stop doing it.

For me, self sabotage has been a means of keeping me safe. While it’s a destructive technique of doing so, psychologically is does the job. It keeps me comfortable. Comfortable from those unknowns and potential failures. But as they say, sometimes you have to be uncomfortable with being uncomfortable until you’re comfortable.

I wonder if it’s time I start getting uncomfortable.

5 Comments

  1. Letting go is absolutely scary. We do get stuck in a comfort zone as it were, but you’re right – we can get too comfortable and that can lead to dissatisfaction.

    Letting go is hard but rewarding. Alas, start slow. Ease yourself into it. Then it isn’t so scary.

    Good luck.

  2. Thank you for sharing so honestly Rebecca. I have my own comfort zones, and to break free of them into unknown territory is really unnerving. That fear of failure is so real. But in the end when we are doing things we never thought possible it is indeed very freeing.

  3. I never thought I was a perfectionist. But after reading this, I identify with a lot of what you described. For some reason, seeing it in word form, makes it easier for me to see how I can embrace it.

    Thanks Becky! 🙂

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