“How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them” – Benjamin Franklin
We have all been our own worst enemy one time or another. We get in our own way and make things more difficult than they have to be. To our credit we are often unaware of our self-defeating habits, but nonetheless these habits are there in thought and action. We have limiting beliefs, insecurities, and inner-conflict that keep us stuck and misguided. We make decisions that we later regret and end up finding ourselves in the same situations we have always been in. No matter what we do to improve our lives, we will continue to go down the same crooked path until we take care of our self-defeating patterns. It can be helpful to take a look at what isn’t working once in a while so we can determine what can be done. If something isn’t working we can usually fix it. So, here are seven areas to be aware of that may be holding you back and keeping you from creating the life you desire.
1. Fear of failure
Fear of failure relates to all areas of life, whether it is relationships, career, or personal. In any one area it can prevent us from living a meaningful and rich life because we will stay stuck. We will never move beyond our comfort zone with fear in the driver’s seat. When we make decisions based on fear we are limiting ourselves from the life we are born to live because fear is an emotion of survival. Fear is about avoidance and keeping safe instead of striving to be and experience more. If we want to thrive we must live from a place of courage, inspiration, and faith. Start expanding your comfort zone to break this pattern.
2. Saying “I don’t know how!”
Many people stay stuck and misguided because they don’t know “exactly” what they need to do. They are afraid to take any action until they feel like they know everything they need to know. Believing we don’t “know how” to do something is a poor excuse in today’s world. We can learn anything and develop the skills and tools to capture what we want. Information is at our finger tips. Go out there and gather the information you need. Learn everything you can about what you want and don’t hesitate to take action and accomplish it!
3. An inflated ego
Many people’s worst enemy is their ego and self-image. When we get caught up in our image and how other people perceive us we will certainly make misguided choices. Our ego prevents us from being our true self and connecting with others effectively. The ego will keep us in a cycle of trying to prove our self-worth, be right, and be better than others. This is a self-defeating pattern because it will keep us thinking rigidly. We will become judgmental, critical, and blaming. We won’t reach out for help or acknowledging our weaknesses. Practice being more vulnerable and allow yourself to be wrong. Find a way to humble yourself this week.
4. Bad habits
Small bad habits can be a major barrier to our success and happiness. It is easy to fall into unhealthy patterns when we’re under pressure and not paying attention, and before we know it our habits are driving our decision making. What habits do you circle back to even though you know they are causing you more harm than good? For me this is alcohol. I never feel at my best after consuming alcohol, but the habit still persists if I don’t have plan to engage in more healthy and productive activities. Remember to pay attention to your daily actions and incorporate healthy habits to replace the unhealthy ones.
5. Burning bridges
We may not like everyone we encounter but this doesn’t mean we have to make enemies. We can learn to have positive interactions with others even when we disagree. Burning bridges only leads us to be isolated from others and prevents us from making the valuable connections that will serve our growth and progress. Let go of the expectation that others own you something, and always focus on treating others how you want to be treated. When we are focused on serving others instead of taking from others we are less likely to burn bridges.
6. Not learning from mistakes
We all have an opportunity to learn from mistakes. This is how we develop wisdom. As long as we learn something from our mistakes we can use failure as opportunities to grow. Be willing to learn from your past and recognize you will make more mistakes. Keep moving forward in the face of obstacles.
Acceptance of our weakness, uncertainties, and mistakes is the first step to moving forward, and it a catalyst to move past almost all of these other obstacles. When we are in denial of our bad habits and weaknesses we will be stuck because we won’t work on ourselves or make improvements. Awareness of our weaknesses is a blessing because it is the only way we can improve. If something isn’t working, fix it! Don’t pretend it isn’t working. I hope these disrupting behavior patterns are more clear and present in your awareness after this post. We all have the opportunity to better our life when we start by working on ourselves. We can disarm our self-defeating patterns when we practice being aware and intentional day by day.