We tend to think that most problems come from other people, like a grumpy spouse, a boss who is too bossy, or a driver who isn't paying attention. But we rarely admit the truth: we are often our own worst enemies.
Self-defeating behavior is when someone does things or has ways of thinking that hurt their own goals or well-being in the long run. These behaviors could be caused by a number of things, such as negative self-talk, low self-esteem, unresolved trauma from the past, or not having healthy ways to deal with stress.
Self-destructive behaviors can also be reinforced by rewards, like temporary relief from emotional pain, or by avoiding things that are feared to be bad. Self-defeating behaviors can be stopped if the person understands why they happen and learns better ways to deal with them.
Here are a few strategies for overcoming self-defeating behavior
Let go of victory.
Sometimes it's great to win, but you don't have to. People often make mistakes, waste money, and act irresponsibly because they want to win. On the other hand, sometimes it's better to admit defeat and try to learn from it.
Don't try to make everyone happy.
You can't always make everyone happy. People often do things that hurt themselves by rushing around and trying to please other people. You can lose your health and peace of mind if you try to make everyone happy all the time, whether at work or in your personal life.
Accept your flaws.
If you try to be perfect, you'll never be happy. Can you imagine great artists like Michelangelo taking years to finish the Sistine Chapel because it wasn't just right? There would never be any progress! It's part of being human to make mistakes, and most of the time, you're the only one who notices them.
Stop doing bad habits.
Most people today have bad digital habits, like constantly checking email or social media. Look at what you do with your time. Keep track of the minutes and hours to see how much time you waste on different things that don't work toward your goals in life.
Overcome your fears.
Fear keeps most people from living their lives with a higher purpose. You have to jump to fly, and you can't jump if you're not scared. Fear doesn't have to be a straight-up feeling of dread. It could be covered up by laziness or avoiding. What if you can't? But what if you CAN?
Stop acting like a lone wolf.
Even lone wolves need help every once in a while. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Your strong sense of independence may be hurting you more than it's helping you. Make friends, accept help, and ask for help when you need it, whether it's for work or for fun.
Let go of the guilt.
Even if you have a bad past, you should let yourself enjoy life. People can change and evolve, so don't let your past define you. Most of us have been taught that we have to work hard for other people and just have fun on the weekends, but you can break out of this way of thinking.
Keep in mind that this article is just a little something to get you thinking about you and your self-defeating behavior. How has that held you back in life? What do you want to do about it?
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