12 Self-Sabotaging Mindsets That Are Holding You Back

The human mind is a funny thing. We all like to think that we know exactly how our own mind works, on a behavioral and emotional level at least, but in reality, our minds trick us all the time.

Here are just 12 self-sabotaging mindsets you may have developed over your lifetime that feel so natural to you, you wouldn’t even fully be aware they’re keeping you from living the life you really want to be living.

1. Focusing too much on the negative and not enough on the positive.

Everyone does this. I can think of lots of people I know who have accomplished so much, yet aren’t happy. They have big houses, nice cars, great jobs, lots of money, loving spouses and wonderful children—but many of them are unknowingly making themselves feel miserable because they’re so focused on all the things that are unfavorable or going wrong in their lives.

2. Being a perfectionist.

Perfectionists are often deathly afraid of making mistakes, and they set extremely high expectations for themselves. As someone who has struggled with perfectionism for a long time, I know how it works. Perfectionists don’t even realize that what they’re really doing is convincing themselves they’ll never be good enough, and as a result they either become paralyzed from moving forward or they set out on an endless journey toward impossibly ambitious goals that may never be reached.

3. Waiting for the right time, the right place, the right person or the right feeling to come along.

Procrastinators, this is your big enemy. It’s never the right time, is it? You have to wait until you get that specific feeling or that big opportunity or that burst of motivation to finally take action. You treat time as if you have an unlimited amount of it, and you never fully realize just how much of it you’re wasting as the days, weeks, months and years go by.

4. Feeling entitled.

As a millennial, I know this all too well. Entitled people feel as if they have an inherent right to something, regardless of their situation or how much effort they put in to try and achieve it. From my experience, this type of mindset inflates the ego and makes you come up with all sorts of ridiculously irrelevant reasons why you shouldn’t have to struggle or suffer as much as somebody else while trying to achieve something.

5. Believing that you need to please everyone else.

If you feel the need to prove your worth to others, then your self-esteem needs work. Approval seekers don’t realize that real happiness and fulfillment comes from within, nor are they really willing to see that they’ll never be able to please absolutely everyone.

6. Comparing yourself to others.

Comparing your life to the lives of others is an unfair way to measure your worth or level of success. No two people are exactly the same, so why should your lives be? Not only is it an unhealthy mindset, but it can also lead to bitterness, jealousy and resentment toward others if you let those feelings get to you.

7. Never getting over your past.

We all have things we don’t like about our pasts, and sometimes we never fully realize how much we let our fixations on past events and mistakes affect us in the present. People who can’t learn lessons from their past mistakes and then find a way to let go remain imprisoned in their minds by a former time.

8. Feeling like you need to play it safe all the time.

Everything worth striving for requires taking risks. Some people who come up with the most unlikely worst case scenarios in their minds often end up convincing themselves that they couldn’t bare the possibility of them happening. As a result, they never end up making any real progress.

9. Believing that you have to do everything yourself.

Perfectionists are big on this. They want everything done their own way, and they want to receive praise for it all when it’s done. Not accepting help from others is a good way to cause a lot of unnecessary struggle for yourself.

10. Believing that accomplishing some big goal will finally make you happy.

External things that exist in the world outside of you can never truly make you happy. After you get it, that sense of euphoria eventually fades away and you go looking for something else to achieve or stimulate you. It’s an endless cycle that can only be broken by looking inside yourself for real happiness.

11. Always playing the victim.

The victim mindset really goes hand-in-hand with negative thinking. Victims rarely ever take responsibility for themselves because they feel that everything is out of their control. Even if that is true, everyone has to accept and take responsibility for whatever circumstances they’re faced with if they really want to change their lives.

12. Never truly being honest with yourself.

Lastly, here’s the big one. If you can figure this one out, you can fix all the other 11 bad mindsets on this list. You have to set aside all your insecurities, your fears, your egotistical desires, and any strong beliefs or opinions you’ve formed about yourself so that you can get as closely aligned with reality as possible. If you can see yourself for how you truly are—the good and the bad—without judgment and instead with full acceptance, then you can do anything.

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Photo Credit: Gabriela Pinto


William C
William C8 months ago


Lesa D
Lesa D8 months ago

it is a matter of disabling your own land 'minds' & setting your self up for success rather than failure...

thank you Elise...

Paola S
Past Member about a year ago

Thank you

Carl R
Carl Rabout a year ago


Carl R
Carl Rabout a year ago


Carl R
Carl Rabout a year ago


Peggy B
Peggy Babout a year ago

Good to know

Sue H
Sue Habout a year ago

Thanks for sharing

Sierra B.
Sierra B2 years ago

I am a perfectionist, no doubt about it. When I'm at school, and I have really big assignments, like an essay, I am forever taking out things and adding things and then taking them out again because what I was writing didnt sound good enough to me. I do not do very well in group settings, like groups in school, I am more of a loner, and I like to do my work by myself and not be disturbed by other people.I am always comparing myself to others, and I have tried so much to stop doing that. I can never really get over my past, because I feel like I have reminders of my painful past everywhere I go.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.