Most of us have engaged in self-defeating behavior at one time or another. Many behaviors such as self-critical thoughts, negative self-talk, procrastination, avoidance, and addictions and can fall under the concept of self-defeating behavior. The following is an example of self-defeating behavior.
- Erin struggled with feelings of low self-esteem and self-critical thoughts. She believed other women were better looking and thought she was unattractive. One reason for this pattern was that Erin thought if she used self-depricating thoughts, if or when others said negative things to her, she would feel less hurt because she already “put herself down”. But in many ways, Erin was analogously putting a nail in the tire of her car before even driving on the road. Is it possible she might get a nail in her tire? Yes. But it is a low probability. What would someone say if they came along and saw Erin hammering a nail into her tire? What would they say if Erin said, “I’m afraid of running over a nail so I decided to just give myself a flat tire and get it over with”.
Don’t be like Erin and hammer a nail in your car tire.
It is important to identify and gain insight into self-defeating behavior such as self-critical thoughts. Then try to replace them with more self-enhancing and functional behaviors.