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How People Sabotage Themselves
by Dan Langerock
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How People Sabotage Themselves
by Dan Langerock

We have all seen people who seem to have it all together destroy themselves by what they do after they find success in whatever field. It is a perplexing scene to watch, much like seeing someone win the lottery for millions of dollars and end up bankrupt, as most of those who win it do. Let's look at some of the ways people sabotage themselves:

Low self-esteem

Some people have been so beaten down in their lives by the opinions and actions of others that they cannot believe when something good happens to them, and consequently blow the opportunity or never take it at all. It is a hard problem to surmount because every time you see something good in your life, you wonder if it is really true and if there is a catch since this can't be happening to you--disbelieving that you deserve such a wonderful thing.

Another way this can happen is when we allow our friends and family to tell us what is right for us and what is not. People are often well-meaning in giving advice, but you are the one who has to live your life, not someone else. Sometimes we are so anxious to get advice from others that we get too much or ask the wrong people. Don't just ask anyone, only those who will be honest with you and have your best interests at heart, not someone who could care less.

Alcohol, drugs, smoking, and other substances

It doesn't matter how this gets started, but it continues until it ruins your life. One good rule is, "Don't start anything in your life you may one day have to quit". Whatever people get out of these substances, it derails their health and eventually their success. It may look rosy for a while, but the consequences are there nonetheless following behind this person the rest of their lives: broken relationships, health problems, and death.

One man I worked with at a restaurant took a smoking break every half hour in the restroom. He was fired! This happens with patients in hospitals also, going outside to smoke when they are not supposed to. It just shows where people's priorities are.


The world revolves around this person, or so they think. But it doesn't! Their only thought is "I" without thinking what they are doing to others as they clamber their way to the top. Many times, these people are controlling and that makes it even worse. They miss the blessing of giving to others because they are so mindful of themselves alone. The Bible says that what we give out in life will return to us in a manifold way. If it is negative, then negative will return to us such as judging others, selfishness, and the like. If it is a positive thing like love and kindness, that too will be rewarded in like manner. What are you giving out in your life? Is it something you wish to see returned to you again in greater measure?

Family and Friends

One man I once worked with had a pager and kept getting calls from girlfriends and others while he was working. You can imagine he didn't last very long on the job. A person's work should be just that, work, not a time to communicate with friends and family unless it is an emergency or during break times.

Another way this happens is the family and friends come to the person's work for all kinds of reasons, interrupting the work schedule. This can get old with the employer after a while and cause eventual termination.


People tend to rate themselves by how busy they are. This seems to give them a sort of worth, perhaps bragging rights. The problem with busyness is that when we are overly occupied we can miss out on what would really be a help to us because we don't have time to take on anymore. Trim down what you are involved in to what really matters to you, that will give you a sense of satisfaction or help you attain a future goal. We need wisdom to know what to say "yes" and "no" to in our lives, not just taking whatever comes onto our schedule.

It is the same principle with debt. If you are deep in debt, you cannot help others when they need it, including yourself, because there is no more stretch left in your money.


It is a changing world we live in. The things we took for granted we could say without reprisal are no longer allowed. Take the issue of sexual harassment: an off-color comment can get you fired if people take it wrong. Sometimes just an innocent comment can get you in trouble nowadays. Let the Holy Spirit help you with this, filtering what is said as well as what is received by your mind. There is no room for those attitudes in today's modern world. Those who don't conform will find themselves without employment among other things.

Complaining is another one. Have you ever worked with someone who is always finding fault with everything? It gets so you don't want to be around that person. Eventually, that type of person will no longer be working just because they have an underlying unhappiness in their life. Try distracting the subject to other topics or point out what this person is saying in a way like this perhaps, "Are you listening to what you are saying?"


Many people get hurt from others' words or attitudes and get further away from God because of it. They sometimes give the excuse that there are too many hypocrites but hypocrisy is everywhere you go, so that would preclude you from going to the grocery store, the movies, restaurants and anywhere else. Hypocrites go all of these places, not just church. The Bible says if we don't forgive others, God will not forgive us. What a sobering thought! Forgiveness can be hard to do but it is a mandate not an option if we want to have a good life. Eventually this attitude comes out in physical symptoms in our bodies if we fail to forgive. As a result you are robbing yourself of the many blessings God wants to give you.


Everyone has these, but some seem to wallow in a continual stream of trouble. They bring this to work and it upsets everyone around. Instead of solving their problems, some people just keep repeating the same ones causing stress and other issues. The way to help this type of person is to encourage them to solve the problems in their lives instead of just playing with them, and not doing anything about them..


We choose to fret about what may or is happening in our lives. and thereby sabotage the peace God wants to give us in any situation. We cannot control all that transpires in our lives but we can choose what reaction we will have toward it. The responses you choose in your life will help determine what kind of existence you will have. God has a lot bigger shoulders than we do, but we tend to want to shoulder everything ourselves. \

Taking care of yourself

This includes vitamins, eating right and regularly, going to the doctor as needed and a host of other items. Many people sabotage themselves because they don't pay attention to their bodies and end up deathly sick, cranky all the time,or hard to get along with etc. If you don't take care of yourself, who will? It is like if we only could have one car our whole lives instead of being able to go out and buy one whenever we wanted. How much better would we take care of that car if this was the case.

The same is true of your body. You only get one model, and there are no trade-ins. So why aren't you taking care of yourself to the max? I have noticed by observation that the things we do and don't do now have consequences ten or twenty years down the line. For instance, your eating habits now will influence how your body works later on. So you could call it an investment by doing the proper things for yourself now. You reap the dividends at a later date. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If you haven't taken care of yourself then that will show up later also.

Sabotage of oneself can be a subtle thing we don't realize we are doing. It is only when we stop to look what is happening in our lives that we can see the mistakes we have made in the past as well as the ones we are headed toward. Be conscious of what you are doing at all times, and why. These things can only affect us if we allow them to because we have a choice in the matter. Examine your life to see if there are any ways you are sabotaging yourself, for it will pay big dividends in a better life for you.

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Member Comments
Member Date
DeAnna Brooks 04 Nov 2005
Nice job! Makes a person take a good hard look at themselves ... you laid bare a lot of areas that we struggle with. God bless.


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