What is a self-defeating behavior?
A self-sabotaging behavior that distracts you from accomplishing tasks and goals can be called self-defeating. Let me give you an example:
Your husband complains that when he gets home, the house is never clean. So he leaves for work. There are four loads of laundry to wash, the bathroom needs to be cleaned and the carpet vacuumed, but you leave and shop for a pair of shoes you don’t really need, have lunch with a friend, go to the movies, and by the time you get home, hubby is home and angry that the place is still a wreck.
Let’s try a different example:
That corner office at work is very appealing, but instead of volunteering for the big projects that would give you the exposure for a promotion, you complete easy and mundane tasks that leave lots of time to surf the web while you’re at work.
This negative behavior sabotages your personal goals in life and you are robbed of the opportunities to excel. The accomplishment of attaining your dreams remains unfulfilled.
What causes self-defeating behavior?
People tend to act in a self-defeating manner if they have low self-esteem, emotional stress or their ego is threatened. I’m sure none of us have ever written a “to do” list that is impossible to accomplish or committed to so many projects that we ultimately failed in following through with one of them.
When you ignore the problem and focus on numbing the pain you feel with a temporary solution, those actions are usually fuel with irrational emotion. This type of emotion is founded not on fact, but on a victim attitude or self-defeating behaviors.
How can I stop self-defeating behaviors?
Just in case you ever fall into the trap of self-defeating behaviors, here are a few tips to help:
- Recognize you have a problem. Doing this first is the only way you will ever be able to start the process of helping yourself.
- Associate with positive people who look for the good instead of dwelling on the unpleasant.
- Finish the tasks that you start and don’t begin a new task until the first one is completed.
- Get rid of the people who insist on treating you poorly.
- Take time to enjoy yourself in carefree timelessness.
- Spend time with people who seek resolution to their problems and act upon the plan.
- Stop blaming other people for your unhappiness.
- Avoid highly charged emotional situations.
- Let other people help you. Being a victim isn’t going to be good for your self-perspective.
- Do not act like a door mat by overly self-sacrificing or by letting others take advantage of you.
- Love yourself. Recognize your value and accept the compliments other people give you because they are deserved.
When you look through a screened window, you can see the screen, but you also can see everything on the other side. The screen is flimsy, but it is still a barrier to the outside. In order to pass, you must open the screen.
The same holds true with your dreams and goals. They are within reach. You can see them. All you have to do is pull the screen aside and walk past those self-defeating behaviors towards the sunshine of accomplishment.