Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Identifying “Self-defeating” Behaviors (part 3 of 12)


Self-defeating beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors create anesthetizing habit patterns that keep us stuck in the past and prevent us from living life on an integrated conscious level. We end up living life on auto-pilot and are prevented from responding to our most precious moments in life–the here and now.

We must reclaim power over our lives and stop allowing outside people, situations, and influences to have control over our lives.  Life must become a series of new moments and not a stagnate reflection of our past.  As children, we may be victims; but as adults – we are volunteers.

3) Happiness Anxiety

Happiness Anxiety is a phenomenon that affects many people today.  This is having a fear of happiness – a fear of success.  A person will actually feel guilty when good things come to him.  This sounds crazy!  Everyone wants to be happy; everyone wants to be successful – don’t they?  Everyone may want to be successful, but do they deserve it?  We are all raised to believe that “good people” deserve happiness; “good people” deserve success.

But wait a minute!  I’ve done bad things.  I’ve lied to my spouse, cheated on an exam, took something that wasn’t mine, pretended I was sick when I really wasn’t, been lazy, gotten angry and yelled at my kids.  And because I’ve done bad things, that precludes me from being a “good person.”  And because I’m not “good,” I just know that if success or happiness comes my way, something big and bad is going to come around the corner and wipe it all out.  And the bigger the success and the bigger the happiness is, then the bigger this “big and bad thing coming around the corner” is going to be.  So, without realizing it, I will behave in a way to actually make it happen.  I will sabotage the one thing I want the most because on some deeper level I believe I don’t deserve it.

4)  Lying

Technically, lying is the fear of being found out for who you really are.  You do something wrong and you don’t want others to know.  When confronted, you lie.  When others find out you have lied about something, you lose respect, trust, approval, and credibility.  When performing other behaviors that may create disapproval, the focus usually is on one incident.  But when it comes to lying, the focus isn’t on the one thing you lied about, but on everything you have ever said.   No one can believe anything you’ve ever said or will say again until trust and credibility is restored.  This consequence is so shaming; the fear of being caught will drive liars to surprising lengths to protect their lies.

When a lie is told, it begets another and another.  The monitoring of lies creates a large amount of stress for the liar.

Lying is stressful due to the individual’s need to monitor:

1) their story,

2) eye contact,

3) facial expression,

4) tone of voice,

5) body position and movements, and

6) general attitude all at the same time.

Each lie reinforces the abiding fear of being caught or cornered and justifies the necessity of telling more lies to protect oneself.  This “cycle” of protecting oneself with lies, will eventually become a “conditioned” response that can become as extreme as automatically lying about everything, even things that don’t even need to be lied about. 

When lying becomes a behavior, the individual will develop automatic responses and have excuses for his behavior planned in advance.   A liar will always have a “Plan B” in mind just in case he needs to escape and figuring out what he can get away with will become exciting to him.

In others words, liars become “trapped” in a cycle of lying, protecting, concealing, and then lying again.

– excerpt from “Becoming Master of Your Own Destiny”

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July 9, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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