Self-sabotage and the illusion of choice


Have you ever had a clear intention or set a goal but no matter how hard you tried, you actually ended up doing the exact opposite?

Or felt really bad for something you did or didn’t do, beating yourself up for not ‘choosing’ to act differently?

The term self-sabotage implies that you had a choice in that.

Because we all have choice right?  Afterall, there are good choices, bad choices….

Or are there?

How much choice do we really have?

The Spiritual Teacher Eckhart Tolle says:

“Choice implies consciousness – a high degree of consciousness.  Without it, you have no choice.  Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present.  Until you reach that point, you are unconscious, spiritually speaking.  This means that you are compelled to think, feel, and act in certain ways according to the conditioning of your mind.”

I would argue that the mind he refers to here is more exactly the entire autonomic nervous system and what we commonly refer to as the conscious and subconscious mind.

And our subconscious mind is actually what is running the show 95% of the time.

According to one of the pioneers of epigenetics Bruce Lipton, Ph. D.:

“The subconscious mind is a data base of stored programs, primarily derived from the programming a child receives from the last trimester of pregnancy through the first six years of life.  These are stimulus-response programs, that is “habits.” There is no thinking in these subconscious behaviors, it’s more like push the button, play the program.  Unfortunately, the downloaded programs comprising the subconscious data base are derived from recording the behavior of others (parents, siblings and community). AND … psychology reveals up to 70% of these “learned” behaviors are disempowering, self-sabotaging and limiting.”

So if child-hood conditioning creates your sub-conscious mind and your sub-conscious is running the show the majority of the time, how do you make changes?  How do you start to have a choice in your life?

How to get more choice in your life

Our nervous system wiring is plastic but stable.  In other words, change is possible but it is not easy.

The major component in enabling more choice in your life is Awareness.  Without awareness, the ability to self-reflect and to witness our thoughts and behaviours, there can be no choice and no change.

As awareness evolves, so does choice.

Awareness can be developed in a number of ways, several of which I teach.

One way is to reconnect with your body, to start to notice your impulses rather than over-ride them.


Once we recognise how limited choice really is, we can have compassion, understanding and patience with ourselves and others.  Basically everyone is doing the best they can with the options their conditioning makes available to them.  To have new options available takes awareness and often time.

There is no choice until there is.  It’s that simple.

If you want your life to go in a different direction to where your early conditioning may be taking you then get in touch and lets get started!

Book a 45 min strategy session with me here

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