Making our behaviour work for us - now!
When we continue to behave in a way which is not helpful to us, we are experiencing self-defeating behaviour. It doesn't seem to serve any purpose; yet to change can lead to us to think negatively: 'Why SHOULD I change?' So, instead of turning our self-defeating needs and wants down a notch, we unintentionally turn up the volume and they seem to 'shout out' louder. It just feels easier to 'give in'.
Yet we may discover that 'saying no' to ourselves can feel pretty good - once we get to grips with the initial struggle to resist carrying on in 'our usual way'! Changing our behaviour can improve the way we feel about ourselves and the way we see ourselves. It's a feeling we would probably like to experience more often.
Changing our behaviour can be good for self-esteem, confidence and relationships with others.
Our negative thoughts may trigger difficult emotions like anger, frustration and guilt. If we are to break this cycle it helps to reflect on when the behaviour started - what was going on at the time, identify the triggers, and reflect on what we can do to make our behaviour work for us - now.
For example, many of us find comfort in food. There are times when celery sticks, carrots and apples don't quite hit the spot. But our feelings need exploring before our unwanted food habits can begin to fade and new ones begin to develop. By reflecting upon our behaviour we may discover we have developed a habit of food hoarding - buying food in bulk 'just in case'. Yet we find ourselves tucking in all the same. After all,we can always buy some more... just in case. The chances are that this habit has its roots in our past;but we seem to have it on 'constant replay' without asking ourselves 'is it still working for me?' The cycle of eating as a reward followed by more eating can be broken.
This way of thinking applies to any behaviour which we consider to be self-defeating - a habit which is no longer useful to us: drugs, drink, gambling, relationships, work.
Consciously recognising what is negatively affecting our emotional well-being is an important step in gaining control over whatever behaviour we wish to change. The need to understand why we behave the way we do is a start to turning down the volume on our negative thinking. And at the same time increases the chances of bringing welcome changes which are of value to ourselves. Now.
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About Lyn Reed
I am a qualified and experienced counsellor offering a professional and confidential service to those who want to improve their emotional well-being. My empathetic and supportive approach can help clients make sense of their place in the world and by doing so, approach the future with renewed confidence, self-belief and inner strength.