Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Why Do You “Shoot Yourself in the Foot?” (part 4 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.

5)  Betrayal

People who betray others usually have low self-esteem, some level of paranoia, and an inherent distrust of others.  They look for character flaws in others, are suspicious of others, and their feelings are easily hurt. Because they have been hurt, they develop resentment toward others and want others to hurt as they do.  They believe they cannot count on others, and therefore, they feel betrayed.  Because they feel betrayed by others, they then feel justified in betraying others.  At times they may feel ashamed, but will make excuses why it’s not all that bad or why it’s fair. 

6)  Procrastination

Procrastination is basically living in denial – avoiding reality and responsibility.  Procrastinators are always putting things off until later.  Believing things will just go away or pretending things really all that bad or hoping someone else will take care of it, does not solve problems.  Whenever you close the door on reality, it will slip in through the window and bite you on the butt.

Problems don’t go away just because you refuse to look at them.  They grow larger and get worse until they are overwhelming.  The more overwhelmed a procrastinator becomes, the less able he is to deal with it.  Eventually, the procrastinator will become slothful and apathetic, losing all ambition and desire to do to anything.

7)  People Pleasing

People pleasers get their validation of worth from pleasing others.  They take on the job of making others happy and in doing so, feel good about themselves. They feel that other people’s needs and opinions are more important than their own, and therefore, they must please others to be accepted.  Because they must please others, they are unable to say “No” even when they know they should and will never admit when something really bothers them.  They refuse to “rock the boat” or “make any waves” and will even accept unacceptable behavior.  In other words, people pleasers live at the whim of the people they are trying to please.

Best characterized by self-neglect, people pleasers are placating, compliant, and always agreeable.  They will give in to avoid making someone mad and will often find themselves “walking on eggshells.”  Because they are concerned with “keeping the peace,” they avoid talking about problems and often find themselves apologizing for things that aren’t even their fault.

Because they won’t speak up for themselves, their wants and needs aren’t heard.  And because they can’t allow themselves to be angry and jeopardize losing someone’s approval, they will feel hurt instead.

It’s easier for a people pleaser to end a primary relationship than it is to make a binding commitment, because making a commitment would mean revealing self – in other words, getting real.  Getting real would mean sharing one’s wants and needs, opinions and beliefs, likes and dislikes and this might not please someone.

Again, because he’s jumping through all these hoops, taking abuse, and still not receiving enough validation, a people pleaser will develop resentment towards the very people he’s trying to please.

8)  Stealing

Most people don’t identify having this self-defeating behavior because they don’t steal money or things.  But money isn’t the only thing that can be stolen – what about time, ambition, confidence, trust, sense of self?

Consider “Stealing” as: justifying my needs as more important than another person’s needs.

When you consider this, you now may identify times when you should have taken your children somewhere but was “too busy,” times when you promised someone you would do something but didn’t follow through, times you may have gossiped about someone because you were envious of them, or times you compared yourself to someone and found them “less than.”

Stealing is self-defeating because it separates you from others.

– excerpt from “Becoming Master of Your Own Destiny”


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June 7, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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