All roads do not lead to Rome

“Self-sabotageis when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.”

~ Alyce P. Coryn-Selby

I’ve been hearing this popular phrase since forever. And then one day, in a random conversation, someone was cloaking their deliberate poor choices in humor and claiming that said poor choices were in fact alternative means of reaching an intended outcome.

It was, of course, nonsense. But the phrase was used…all roads lead to Rome. Which made me laugh, and then not laugh.

And so I had to write a post about it.

Because guess what, all roads do not lead to Rome, whatever our Rome might be. With all due respect to creative problem-solving and the idea that many paths lead to the same destination, if you’re on the Jersey Turnpike, you’re going to get to places like East Brunswick…not the Colisseum.

‘Common sense’ dictates that when we want something, we don’t deliberately go about making sure we don’t get it. And yes, we’re all afraid of success to some extent, depending on the baggage we carry. But it’s one thing to doubt, hesitate and struggle, and quite another to sabotage ourselves in a way that guarantees failure…and do it over and over again.

Although I am known for making excuses for everyone, I do draw some lines. Except in clinically relevant situations, at some point everyone is bound to notice the exit sign off the highway says Brunswick and not Piazza del Colosseo. To keep going on at that point is a choice, one we don’t have an excuse for.

Sorry. I know it’s difficult and often painful to face our fears. But it’s even worse not to.

Everyone needs to be very clear on the fact that self-sabotage leads to a half-life, which might sound acceptable for a while at least, except that it doesn’t mean half the good and half the bad of a full life, but half as in ‘the bad half’…the empty one, the compromised one, the silent one.

And nobody wants or deserves that kind of ‘life’. We might not always make it to ‘Rome’, but we deserve to give ourselves a decent shot at it.


Check out Dr. Leon F. Selzer’s well written articles about self-sabotage and the roots of passive-aggressive behavior. I love his wonderful message:

“If, finally, we are to evolve into better, more compassionate human beings, we need to develop for others precisely the empathy and understanding we ourselves never received in growing up.”

Self-Sabotage as Passive Aggression towards the Self

Afraid to Rage: The Origins of Passive-Aggressive Behavior

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Christian Bogomil says:

    Kinda do all my shoe shopping at the Nike store, but I get your point, dreamer/seeker. Also never been to Rome though I hear a lot of it is in ruins. Not some place I’d CHOOSE to go, though I understand some find it romantic.

    But Erma Bombeck said it best “The grass is always greener over the septic tank.” I have NO idea what that means for sure, but I suspect it’s a treatise on how we get confused about what we want… and how we often loose our way getting it.

    I dunno where you’ll be leading us with the romp thru silence to light, but I’m going… And I’ll definitely read your book when you write it.

    -C Bogomil


  2. Joanna L. says:

    Thanks for the comment! I was very pleased with my Rome metaphor, so no teasing allowed. 🙂 As for the book, yes, working on that too.


  3. hope2391 says:

    I love this post. I have to agree self sabotage prevents so much in life. I think this is well written and I love the Rome metaphor. I look forward to reading more of your posts


  4. Joanna L. says:

    Thank you! So glad your enjoyed it and found it relevant.


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