How To Deal With Self-Defeating Behaviors? #CauseAChatter

Get out of your comfort zone, accept the change, be positive, be resilient, perseverance is the key to success are few things that we keep on listening. And why not? People who have growth mindset are the ones who follow all of these and are more successful in life. Most of us are aware about all these qualities but still there is something that holds us back and we fail to understand the real cause.  In my experience, people who fail to learn the lessons that life teaches them fall under the prey of self – defeating behaviour.

Self- defeating behavior works against your own interest. It keeps you away from the goals that you have set for yourself . They are distracting, self-loathing and self- sabotaging. Nothing can drive you crazier than knowing that you have been keeping yourself away from gaining love, success and happiness which you deserve and desire. Self-defeating behavior occurs when impulse wins over awareness. It might give you quick gratification but you will long for lasting satisfaction, it might give you immediate relief but ultimate resolution is what will make you happier. It is like a coping mechanism, which can make you feel better for a while but can be really be nasty in long run. Self defeating behavior is your biggest enemy, the earlier you get rid of it the better it is for you. There are many self defeating behaviours,  to name a few

  • Procastinating
  • Holding a grudge
  • Trying to change others or having expectations from them
  • Waiting until it’s too late
  • Always having to be right
  • Letting fear run your life
  • Becoming obsessive or compulsive
  • Feeling sorry for yourself

As with the most persistent patterns,  this behavior has roots in childhood experience.  Children who are abused or neglected in their childhood, feel unprotected and alone. Then there are children who do not lack affection but are not given adequate guidance, grow up feeling incompetent an incapable.  In both these cases they end up with stubborn self defeating behaviours. This kind of behavior are quite impulsive and people act without regard for long term consequences.

How to deal with such impulsive behavior?

3 Awareness Level

  1. Physical Awareness : Take a pause and notice what you feel and where you feel it.  As we know impulses begin as physical sensation. It could be your gut,  head, chest or any other part of your body.
  2. Emotional Awareness: Ask yourself the reasons for feeling stressed out or tensed. Try to connect your physical sensation with your emotions.
  3. Impulse Awareness: What action do you feel like talking when are going through such emotions?

Once you understand these three awareness level the next thing that you need to ask yourself is, what the outcomes are likely to be, if you take any action? Once you become aware about the consequences it helps you to deal better with any situation and in turn can keep you ready with the alternatives which can be more constructive.

Do it Now

Stop procrastinating. We procrastinate not because we are lazy but because we are lonely. It’s a human nature, we always look for a support or an accountability partner.  That little push from someone can actually makes a hell lot of difference. A procrastinator can become an activator when he or she is around others. That’s why we have jogging buddies, study groups and collaborators.


Can you fix something until you admit it’s broken?  No right?  Acceptance is the catalyst for change. Once you accept that there is a problem , you can find a solution.  The longer you persist in self defeating behavior the more likely you are to lose the respect and trust of people. God also help people who are ready to help themselves.

Self love

Self-love surrounds you with positive feeling about yourself, it encompasses not only how you treat yourself but also your thoughts and feelings about yourself . So, when you conceptualize self-love, you can try to imagine what you would do for yourself, how you talk to yourself, and how you feel about yourself that reflects love and concern. There are times when you feel really low and not confident about yourself or the things you do, self love will not let you loose hope. Practice certain things in your life that can bring self love in action.

  • Positive self talk
  • Forgiving yourself when you mess up
  • Meeting your own needs
  • Be assertive
  • Do not let others take advantage of you or hurt you
  • Prioritizing your health and wellbeing
  • Prioritizing mindfulness
  • Spend time around people who are supportive and avoid negative people
  • Ask for help
  • Set realistic goal with challenges
  • Accept the imperfections

Learn to say NO

Many of us struggle to say no, fearing rejection, anger or just the uncertainty of what the other person’s response will be. Our people-pleasing is often rooted in childhood. We might have been raised to be a good girl or boy, praised for being “mummy’s little helper”, or we might not have been given enough attention, and so sought it by pleasing others, even at the expense of ourselves. Not saying No not just takes away your precious time , time that you could have used in more productive things but can also lead to self and other’s manipulation. Warren Buffet famously said: “Successful people say no to almost everything.” Saying no allows you to say yes to what is important to you. It allows you to be a better person because when you say yes, it comes from a good place, not from resentment or fear.

Be Authentic

You don’t have to put up an act to make a good impression. Remember if you fail to express disapproval, the unacceptable traits can become habitual. Be yourself from the beginning of a relationship. Why would you want to be involved with someone who doesn’t like you for you. Being fake is the most dangerous self defeating behavior as there comes a time in every relationship when the parties let their guards down. The longer they have been concealed, the greater the disruption to the relationship.

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight for a very long time” ~ Andre Gide

Professional Help

Believe in yourself, nothing is impossible but even after doing all of these if you still feel that you need professional help, do not hesitate as meeting with a counselor or psychologist can be an important part of reducing unhealthy behaviors. A psychologist can help you to identify triggers that lead to your self-defeating behaviors and provide tools to help you replace them with healthier options. 

“Share and Seek Help as Every Story Matters”

This Post is Part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter Campaign

12 Replies to “How To Deal With Self-Defeating Behaviors? #CauseAChatter”

  1. This is such an important post. Self-defeating behaviour is the last thing one needs. Fighting with oneself is tough. Bringing about personal changes, habits and thoughts can be difficult. It is very easy to suggest changes but to execute them, requires grit and determination.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Always having to be right – if we see it then we often term it as over confidence.But going by the definition that when impulse wins over awareness, this points seems valid. Alike any other issues related to self, this one should also be addressed asap.
    Currently, I am preparing a podcast episode on the same topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow loved the post Swati. I agree many times the real enemy stay inside us who prevent our growth and make us compel to do things out of fear and insecurity. I loved all the suggestions shared by you in this post. surrounding yourself with positive people can help a lot and there is no harm in taking professional advice, if things feel out of control.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Learning to say “NO” needs some major skills and I am still learning that. It is indeed important to keep our mental peace at priority rather than being a people pleaser. This is such a well-written post, absolutely loved reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. True…. self defeating behaviors can have such a negative impact. I remember having pity parties in my head and ruining my entire day. Recognizing them is the best way to avoid them. And practicing mindfulness, meditation can help too.

    Liked by 1 person

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