It’s not always easy to see why you may be self-sabotaging your success because it’s not easy to see your true underlying intentions. This comes up often in coaching. While in the coaching process, if things don’t progress naturally or a client seems blocked from taking obvious action toward a goal, there is likely an unseen or unspoken fear-based intention that is conflicting with their conscious intention to follow their authentic desire that is causing them to self- sabotage. Fear based intention are unconscious beliefs that are usually a result of believing some “lie” about yourself that you have chosen to believe. The “lie” is usually some variation of believing that you are not safe, are not in control or are not loved. For example, if you have a desire to lose weight, but your unconscious belief is that you could lose your husband or your friends (and lose approval/love), or you would become noticeable (no longer safe inside your fat), then the buried belief would keep you from succeeding if the emotion emanating from it is stronger than the feeling of achieving your goal. People tend to seek consistency in their beliefs and perceptions.  Whether you know it or not, you may be holding on to certain beliefs about yourself as sacred truths about who you are and what you are capable of.  When you have a conflicting desire, you create what is called cognitive dissonance, which is another name for having conflicting intentions. The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between unconscious beliefs and desired conscious goals and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance. If you feel fear or anxiety related to achieving your desired goal, then you know it’s your subconscious mind wrestling with two contradictory truths or beliefs such as “I am a fat person” and “I am healthy and fit and at my best weight.” But the good news is, the fear and anxiety you are feeling is evidence that you are successfully integrating the new idea into your subconscious mind; and if you persist toward your goal in spite of the fear, you will overcome the old programming. Through coaching and your awareness of the belief connected to the conflicting emotion, you can begin to let go of the unwanted feelings and beliefs and begin replacing those old worn out thought patterns with new, more supportive, constructive or nurturing ones.

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Debra Betterly, PhD is an Integrative Wellness & Life Coach and Metaphysician whose passion is to help women expand their health, joy and purpose in midlife and beyond.

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