It’s not always the easiest thing to realize about ourselves, but sometimes we make decisions without our best interest in mind. What I mean is: I know I’ve made choices in my life that are self-defeating.
Self-defeating behavior often arises when we fear getting what we most want. This often is rooted in fearing we are not worth what we most want.
Self-defeating behavior can be recognized as a choice, an action, or a behavior that ultimately results in us being further from the intended goal.
For example, a few months ago I told myself I was going to start attending yoga class twice a week. I wanted to go for my mental, emotional, and physical health. Since I was going through a lot in life (changing careers, planning a future with my partner, traveling across the country for my sister’s wedding) I knew my anxiety would be increasing. And yoga often clears the cobwebs in the attic of my mind.
But then life got in the way. One day my ankle was hurting. Another day I had a stomach ache. The next week I convinced myself I hadn’t drunken enough water that day so, oh well, nothing I could do about it now! I once even chose to pluck my eyebrows right at the moment I was supposed to be leaving the house for a class, therefore making myself late and I just shrugged like where did the time go?
I kept sabotaging myself every time I tried to stick to my bi-weekly schedule.
And this pattern, of truly wanting something yet not being able to bring myself to go for it, is a pattern I habitually took part in when I was in the dating world.
I wanted a meaningful relationship. I wanted to connect with someone on an emotional, mental, and physical level. I wanted to be with someone who cleared the cobwebs in my mind and made me feel healthier and happier and fuller. And yet I always seemed to find an excuse to reach for something else.
Throughout college (and I recently read through some of my diaries from those days THAT WAS FUN) I repeatedly reached for men who weren’t quite the right fit. And even at the time I would identify they weren’t right. I could objectively identify how their actions were communicating they didn’t want to be with me. It wasn’t a huge mystery most of the time. I continually, blissfully, and painfully kept wanting guys who didn’t want me back.
But there is safety in this. There is comfort in this. And there is an odd reinforcement of your worst fears in this. It doesn’t take long to identify the way rejection and neglect makes you feel and it doesn’t take long for this feeling to feel familiar and possibly even “right.”
If you pick someone who isn’t right for you, you probably know in the back of your mind that things will eventually end. And this “knowing” alleviates fears in a backwards kind of way. Do you hear what I’m saying? When there is a real and true possibility of something real happening between you and another person, a whole world of unknowns and vulnerabilities explodes open. And that is often scarier than rejection.
Try and evaluate your patterns of who you go after in life and be aware of self-sabotaging tendencies. Analyze if you find a sense of safety in seeking a relationship with someone you may suspect isn’t the best fit for you. Then, push yourself to break that pattern.
And now, I need to get my pale, white ass to yoga.