Off and on throughout my life, I have dwelled upon why anyone would be self-sabotaging. Most of us do it in one form or another. Some of us are dramatic and spectacular in our self-sabotage. We become alcoholics, drug addicts, and/or reckless gamblers. But even in milder forms, we procrastinate, we refuse to commit in a relationship we want, we become workaholics, we avoid writing that book, that letter, painting that painting, learning to play that musical instrument… on and on. I am pretty sure most people reading this are perhaps nodding and thinking “Oh yeah… I do _________” and silently filling in the blank. And even in less dramatic ways, we may hold on to such misguided beliefs as “No good deed goes unpunished” or any other self-limiting motto.
What benefits could self-sabotage produce for a person? As if in answer, while talking with a friend of mine, she said “Most people would rather be right than be happy.” It sounded uncomfortably correct. I asked her to elaborate. She said she felt many people prefer to continually act out what they learned in childhood, whether it made sense or not, rather than take the time and effort change their almost automatic behavior and responses. Most people feel familiar with old patterns, and even though an old pattern may be counter-productive or even painful, it is a recognizable ‘known’ rather than a risky ‘unknown.’
As an example, a person might only have relationships with lovers or partners who betray them, because when they were growing up, that may have been what they observed occurring with his or her parents. And so that pattern is familiar. As children, we are, to a degree, sponges that absorb everything we see. And we often accept what we see as ‘truth’ unless someone can disabuse us of that belief. You may be a person who lacks self-esteem because you were verbally or emotionally abused as a kid. It might be someone who procrastinates rather than risk failure, because they grew up with parents who did that. I am sure everyone can supply their own examples either from their lives or from observing friends or relatives.
And people can come to me as an astrologer for help breaking a self-destructive pattern in their lives, hoping astrology can shine a light on these habits. And in the course of examining this topic, I took another look at Saturn.
Saturn has traditionally been considered the planet symbolizing limitations. Modern astrology softens that idea, looking at Saturn as symbolizing focus, usefulness and practicality. It can also signify rigidity and inflexibility. And it represents the structures and patterns in our lives that we consider “real.” Or as I like to put it, Saturn symbolizes the “beliefs we think are facts.” And that, to me, is where we create these self-sabotaging behavioral patterns. We believe we are worthless, or we procrastinate, or we may avoid commitment due to unfortunate lessons we learned as children. But these are not facts; they are learned beliefs and they can change. Recognizing that concept is the first step in learning to be happy instead of being ‘right.’
It may not be easy to let go of these patterns, but transiting Saturn is often energizing planets in your birth chart, asking you to get ‘real.’ There is almost always an opportunity to let go of old limiting beliefs… but in order to go for happiness, we have to let go of comfort and take some risks.