3 Subtle Ways You Self-Sabotage Your Own Life Without Realizing It

Put yourself first.

3 Subtle Ways You Self-Sabotage Your Own Life (And 9 Ways To Finally Put Yourself First) Getty Images

Self-sabotage is a major obstacle in life. And if you're always people-pleasing, it may be a red flag that you're not practicing the self-love that you need.

When I discovered that, I stopped living for everyone else and started learning to put myself first, I realized that I didn’t need anyone else to feel good about myself. Previously, I had extended myself to please others, to the detriment of myself.


RELATED: 12 Common Ways People Self-Sabotage Their Happiness

Learning how to be happy with yourself means learning to love yourself. How do you get there when you're surrounded by so many people whom you want to please?

You can recognize signs that you're sabotaging yourself because you focus on everyone else but yourself.

Here are 3 signs you self-sabotage your own life.

​1. You try to please everyone else

A tell-tale sign you're self-sabotaging your life is when you compromise yourself for the sake of pleasing others, as a way to feel good about yourself. In this way, you stop focusing on being who you are.


When you need others to feel good enough, you have no control over how you feel about yourself.

Perhaps you're sabotaging yourself by being all things to everyone except yourself. You can self-sabotage by pleasing everyone else so that you forget about your own needs.

You can subjugate your own needs in order to feel good about yourself. So, you end up abandoning your actual 'self' when your own needs do not get met.

You may be a self-sacrificer, caretaker, or rescuer in relationships. Perhaps you let other people’s needs take priority over yours. You may constantly invest in others, more than yourself.

The more you invest in others and not yourself, the more you self-sabotage your own life. You please everyone else so that you can feel wanted, forgetting to sort out your own life


Being an empath or co-dependent means that you meet the needs of others, not your own. When you do not love yourself, you focus on making others happy, so that you can feel good enough. So, you end up giving to others as a way to feel good about your actual self.

If you don't love the person you are, you will struggle to avoid self-sabotage. You end up pleasing everyone else at the expense of yourself until you run yourself down and need help for yourself.

The real reason you can't stop self-sabotaging can be your need to be wanted and not abandoned, which causes you to put the needs of others first. If you make yourself important to others then they will not leave you.

2. You end up living everyone else’s life and not your own

You end up being that go-to person for everyone else’s problems and end up ignoring your own. You invest in others but not in yourself, preferring to make others happy, so they will not leave you.


You can feel good or wanted by pleasing others, who end up needing you so that you can feel loved. In turn, you get praise, love, support, and connection. So, why would you give this up to fix your own life?

You might just feel abandoned or alone, if you stop focusing on others, or stop sabotaging your life.

You feel unworthy and alone when you focus on yourself, so you derail yourself in life, escaping from your unhappiness to avoid the dreaded fear of abandonment and being alone.

3. Your fear of rejection keeps you focused on others and not caring about yourself

By negating yourself and ignoring your needs, you make yourself unimportant and lack self-love. So you turn to others to feel good enough, so they can validate you because you cannot validate yourself.


When you do not invest in yourself, you can end up escaping the emptiness of living an unfulfilled life by distracting yourself from your feelings. By coping with addictions, infidelity, and other self-defeating behaviors, which end up destroying you.

The more you run away, the more the problems of life get bigger and engulf you, so you want to escape your 'self' until you lose grip on your own life. You lose yourself in trying to get away from yourself. You search for a way out of your feelings and can't stop self-sabotaging.

When you don't feel good enough, you can end up attracting partners who reflect what you think you're worth. You can let yourself put up with an abusive relationship, hoping to get the love you always wanted. Then you end up feeling beaten down and losing yourself in order to feel loved or good enough for others.

If you feel undeserving of love or fear being rejected, you can put up with a partner who doesn't love you back because it resonates with what you think about yourself.


You end up putting up with things that are not good for you, if it reflects what you think you're worth, without doing what is good for you.

If you attack yourself for being not good enough, you can accept others who are not good for you, who reflect the way you feel about yourself.

RELATED: 20 Easy Ways To Be Good To Yourself Today

So you can put up with things that are not good for you when you feel not good enough, hoping to find a partner who can make you feel good enough. Yet, you attract exactly what you think you are, not who you really are.

The truth is, you are looking for love in others, instead of finding love within yourself.

In actual fact, no one can change the way you feel about yourself if you don't accept yourself as good enough. The more you turn to others to feel good enough, the more you lose yourself and can't stop sabotaging yourself.


If you can't see your real worth, loving yourself becomes even more difficult and you'll keep sabotaging yourself.

When you spot these signs of self-sabotage, you can still change how you feel about yourself and treat yourself differently.

Here are 9 ways to love yourself and stop sabotaging your own life.

1. Start prioritizing yourself and focusing on yourself, instead of putting everyone else first.

2. Listen to yourself and be true to your own needs and wants. Ask yourself, "How do I feel about this situation?" or "Is this what I want?"

3. Learn to be kinder to yourself and not beat yourself up or punish yourself.

4. Express yourself by being assertive. Set limits or boundaries and say "no".


5. You will be less resentful to others when you take better care of your own needs, instead of feeling run down and exhausted by making others happy.

6. When things go wrong, remember to look at the whole picture, not the worst-case scenario. Look for any signs that you can keep going, that it’s not the end of the world. Look for the solution not just focus on the problem.

7. Ask yourself what your goals are, or what is most important to you and make that your mission statement, so you don’t derail from yourself.

8. Make a commitment to honor yourself and stay true to yourself, as part of harnessing self-love.

9. When you want to give up or lose sight of your goals, ask yourself, "How will this benefit me if I give up now?"


You can find self-love within yourself instead of relying on others to validate you.

Focus on yourself instead of seeking approval and love from others, which only compromises yourself. You can overcome self-sabotaging behavior by changing the way you see yourself.

Real change comes from changing the way you treat yourself, rather than looking for happiness outside of yourself.

When you give to yourself you will be truly available for yourself in order to build yourself. When you focus on yourself, you will stop sabotaging yourself and derailing from your goals.


When you find your life purpose, you can find fulfillment within yourself, regain strength, and gain clarity and self-direction. Most importantly you can take back control over yourself, and not let the internal critic take control of you, and stop sabotaging you.

You can avoid focusing on the things that matter to you if they cause you to feel not good about yourself. When you're feeling the empty void within yourself, you can give up or run away from your feelings, in order to escape how you feel about yourself.

You attempt to feel better when you please people, to prevent yourself from feeling not good enough.

Instead, getting in touch with your feelings and working through them can be the antidote to prevent sabotaging yourself. When you change the way you feel about yourself, you change the way you treat yourself, by not putting up with things that are not good for you.


The more you escape the critical voice inside of you, the more you sabotage yourself to avoid how you feel, until you address your feelings

When you do not feel good or haven't invested in yourself, you can end up self-sabotaging to feel better about yourself. The truth is, these feelings don’t reflect your true self, so don’t let them sabotage you.

If you self-sabotage by giving up on yourself and seek love in others to feel good enough, then you will continue to feel not good about yourself.

When I stopped focusing on everyone else, I was free to achieve my own aspirations and live according to my real self, and not living according to everyone else's life.


If you recognize these signs of sabotaging yourself, you can overcome this by having love for yourself, rather than looking for love outside of yourself.

When you change how you feel about yourself, you will change how you treat yourself. Once you overcome your internal saboteur, you will recognize your real worth, and change the way you treat yourself and avoid self-sacrificing behavior that works against you.

RELATED: The Subtle-Yet-Obvious Reason You Don't Love Yourself — Yet

Nancy Carbone is a relationship therapist who works with overcoming self-sabotaging behavior. If you detect signs of self-sabotage you can visit her website or sign up for her newsletter.