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Comments 27

Self Sabotage & A Link-Up

Self Sabotage | Sheela Writes

Yes, we do sabotage ourselves.

And, often, without even realising it.


My husband insists I’m afraid of success.  I’m adamant he’s not making any sense.  I pour myself into every endeavour.  Heart.  Mind.  Soul.  And shoot for the stars.  For instance, when I was creating jewellery, I counted Courtney Love Cobain as well as The Veronicas and Kat Von D as regular clients.

During those 15 odd years of being in the PR industry, I worked on campaigns for Panerai, Loewe, Anna Sui Cosmetics, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Poltrona Frau, Veuve Clicquot, Sally Hansen NY, Dr Scholl, Tag Heuer, Krug and Hugo Boss.

So what was he talking about, I demanded, indignantly!!

Self Sabotage | Sheela WritesSelf Sabotage | Sheela Writes

Yes, the man responded, but do you also remember when Bergdorf Goodman asked to see samples of your designs, and you freaked out to the point of not even responding?  Or that time when the email arrived from Bloomingdale’s, inviting you to come over and present your collection to their buyers?  You literally turned green and almost passed out, refusing to reply?

Errr.  Right.  I’d forgotten about that.  Clearly, he hadn’t.


That’d be me, apparently.

I am my very own worse enemy. 

But then again, aren’t we all, for the most part?

Self Sabotage | Sheela WritesSelf Sabotage | Sheela Writes

Self-sabotage.  Or, as Gay Hendricks calls it in his book The Big Leap, the upper limit problem.  Some call it resistance.  Others (colloquially), upleveling.  Call it whatever you like, I’m fairly certain we’ve all experienced a variation of this in our lives.  Yet why is that?

From where I’m standing, I believe that when you achieve (or are close t0 achieving) success beyond anything you’ve ever experienced, or when you begin to take decided steps towards something you desire, one of two things will happen.  Either you do ultimately reach that goal, and celebrate the accomplishment.  Or (and more commonly), you’ll upper limit.


Here’s how I view things.  To accomplish more than you’ve ever known, you have to become a different person.  Physically, mentally, emotionally.  If your unconscious mind believes you don’t deserve that success, or that it isn’t even possible, you WILL self-sabotage.  I guarantee it.

Self Sabotage | Sheela WritesSelf Sabotage | Sheela Writes

Embroidered Poplin Top & Embellished Bag (Zara) | Fringed Jeans (NY & Co) | Sunnies & Bangles (thrifted) | Heels (Ami Clubwear)

You see, from birth up until around the age of 8, we make decisions about who we are based on what we’ve learned, and mostly from our parents.  Much like a computer (my techie man would be so proud of me for drawing this parallel), we “download” our beliefs, emotions, and thoughts into us as software, if you like.  These then set the parameters to define how much love, success, wealth and happiness we believe we can have deserve.  With this “operating system“, we embark into the great unknown, and so, armed with big dreams that our unconscious minds aren’t necessarily compliant with, little wonder we walk straight into rigid resistance.  Our bodies strain against that which they are not accustomed to.

In other words, we resist what we desire (and aspire) because we’re chemically addicted to the status quo.  To the person we’ve always been.

Of course, there are ways to go about this, thank heavens.  There are indeed techniques proven to work with that part of us which is holding us back from success.  As long as we’re willing to do the work, we can achieve whatever it is our heart desires.  We really can.  And I’ll share some of what I try to implement in the hopes of silencing that naysayer in my mind (although that’s a tale for another time).  After all, at the end of the day, it’s Sheela vs Sheela (or rather, you versus you), yes?

Self Sabotage | Sheela Writes

I expect the path may be a smidge smoother to travel once we accept that it shan’t be an easy journey.  That the more aware we are of identifying those triggers which are liable to hold us back, the better prepared we will be to face resistance.  And, ultimately, the more adept we will be at modifying ourselves to new circumstances.

Am I making sense?

As you ponder (and, hopefully, leave an opinion), do link-up?

Love, Sheela

p/s photos by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.


    • How true, Elise, awareness is but the beginning of the process. Thank you so much for prompting a follow-up post 🤗 and your kind words. I confess, I’m not quite used to wearing jeans that are less than form-hugging so this boyfriend thingy is all new to me xoxo


  1. robjodiefilogomo says

    I don’t know about this Sheela—is it sabotage or is it more of staying in the zones that we’re comfortable in? It can be a scary world out there….
    I find it’s much easier to analyze other people’s issues than my own—it’s hard to see the forest through the trees!
    Besides the real question could be “what is success” (truly different for all of us, yes?)


    • Poignant food for thought, my friend. Indeed, is it an act of sabotage or merely a knee-jerk defense mechanism reaction? I don’t know. But I do know that you too have given me the idea for a subsequent post so thank you, Jodie, very much xoxo


    • I haven’t shared why I stopped actually 😊 initially, it was because I grew so tired of copycats replicating my designs, using inferior materials so they could charge much less. When you invest your heart and soul into creating something, not only are you fiercely proud and protective, it also hurts like hell when your designs and ideas are copied then claimed as being those of others. Later, when I developed SLE, my skin sensitivities no longer allowed me to come into prolonged contact with metals (no matter if they’re 24K gold) so any notion of picking things up again went downhill very quickly xoxo


  2. You are absolutely making sense! It’s a scary world out here but since you already been there and you are a pro (just admit it), that part of your world should welcome you back in with open arms! 🙂 Love your outfit too! Those pops of red are the perfect accessory!

    xx, Chanda


    • Hahaha!!! Thank you, Chanda, but I’m still prone to many an anxiety attack and act of royally screwing myself up GRIN I may be in my mid 40s but not everything gets easier with time. Thank you so much. I must say that Zara has quite outdone itself with its last few collections. I do think many pieces are overpriced yet it’s hard to not click that Buy Now button xoxo


  3. Yes, I totally understand what you’re talking about… I admit I have been guilty of self-sabotaging on more than one occasion, and fearing success, too. Is it maybe because a lot of women are expected to be ‘good girls’, and we’re afraid that if we reach our ambitious goals, people won’t like us anymore? Or maybe it’s our own messed-up, dysfunctional parents who screw us up by giving us mixed messages, expecting us to ‘succeed’, yet punishing us when we do?


    • You know, Tiina, I hadn’t thought of it that way but I think you make excellent points. Society expects us to be domestic divas and goddesses in bed, best friend to all save ourselves, and heaven help us should we excel at the workplace. I’ve been blessed to not have experienced that sort of an upbringing. More than likely because my mother was debunking the norm even then (she was editorial chief at the Borneo Literature Bureau by the late 70s) so that was never anything I had to deal with. Thank the gods above. But I know what you’re saying. And you’re very right.


  4. I do think that we are often our own worst enemy and hold ourselves back.

    But then again, I also think that I don’t necessarily always need to reach “the next level” anymore. As I’m growing older, I think I’m more and more happy with what I have and can find true joy in that (which to me is one of the keys to happiness). Now, maybe I’m self-sabotaging with these thoughts, but I don’t think so… 🙂

    Andrea’s Wellness Notes


    • As Jodie so rightly suggests, perhaps the question should be more of, “What success means”, and I’m quite certain our responses are different at every different phase of our lives. Reaching that next level may not be a priority for everyone anymore, and that’s perfectly normal. So too is the desire to go all the way to the top. At the end of the day, it’s what makes you happy that matters most, just don’t screw yourself en route to reaching that happy place 😜


  5. Oh we definitely sabotage ourselves when it comes to fashion too, sometimes we don’t mean to but other times I think we do it on purpose. Fringe-hem jeans have been all the rage this year and your pair is fabulous and how you styled it is lovely with the unique knot-front blouse. Now I want some fringe jeans myself. Hope all is well my friend. Miss you, Sheela.

    Welcome by and join my new Thursday Moda linkup this week. =) Share your awesome style with my readers. Thanks, Ada.



    • How right you are, Ada. I hadn’t even thought of it from a sartorial perspective so thank you!!! One of my favorite bits of writing (and blogging) is how we find inspiration in not just posts from others but also from the viewpoints and comments from our peers xoxoxo


    • Oh my gosh, me too, Laurie!!! I’m such a goofy, dorky, awkward person in real life and I am more often than not tongue-tied. Can’t talk. An absolute mess in social events. You can’t possibly be the same, my friend, you were at that London Blogger meet, weren’t you? XOXOXOXO


  6. shelbeeontheedge1 says

    Perfect, Sheela! I needed this little kick in the ass today. I have a big dream of something and I have been sitting it the business plan for weeks now…fearful of taking the next step. I need to get on it. But the fear does keep immobilizing me. So thank you for the little push!

    And I am loving this casual denim look on you, my friend! Fabulous as usual.



    • GO FOR IT, Shelbee’s, go forth and kick ass. You so deserve to be acknowledged as the superstar you already are to me and those who know you xoxo


    • Thank you, Suzanne 🙂 it’s something I personally try to avoid and not think about as much as possible. And yes, feigning ignorance (and avoidance) are clear acts of self-sabotage GRIN


  7. Paula says

    So well written. I love the upper limit concept. You have captured exactly what I do … all the time. And, of course, I love your outfit!



  8. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. I think everyone once in a while self-sabotages without even noticing. Often it is a self-sabotage on the long run.


  9. I totally get the whole fear of success thing and how we can be our own worst enemy. It can be paralyzing at times. I love the look you’re sporting, with the fringes and rockin’ red shoes. Thanks for adding your post to my Fine-whatever link up.



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