4 Common Behaviors That Secretly Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

When the therapist Lizandra Leigertwood’s friend asked her to borrow a large sum of money, she immediately had an answer in mind: no. But instead, she said yes. It hurt both her and the relationship.

“Eventually, because I didn’t have healthy boundaries, it made the friendship strained,” said Leigertwood, therapist at New Frame Counseling & Psychotherapy. “Not only did I not get the loan back, but I felt resentful. It wasn’t just because my friend wasn’t a very good friend – part of the problem was me not communicate or assert my limits.”

It’s one of many behaviors that can make us angry with ourselves (or even hate ourselves). Here are some other underhanded actions that hinder your ability to feel self-love, along with the steps to take afterward.


Directly disregarding our personal boundaries is just one of the ways we self-sabotage.

“For example, we might get over an ex and start to feel good about ourselves, but end up sleeping with them, leaving us reeling from the pain of the initial breakup again,” Hannah Beckett says. Pratt, a psychotherapist with WellSpace Consulting. “Or, we might be close to a promotion at work, but walk out the day before a big presentation and fail to impress when it counts. A very common form of self-sabotage is procrastination.

If you’ve ever had these experiences, you know how easy it is to give in to these temptations and think that everything will be fine. But then, when the results are bad, we (understandably) feel upset.

The fix: Reflect on the thoughts and emotions behind your self-sabotaging behaviors.

“Often, sneaky behaviors hint at much deeper negative core beliefs, such as ‘I’m not enough’ or ‘I’ll never succeed in life,'” Beckett-Pratt said. “Even if they’re not nice, they’re familiar and we keep them that way by subconsciously confirming them with sneaky behaviors.”

She suggested keeping an open mind and ‘experimenting’ with new behaviors, ‘rather than criticizing and setting rules for ourselves, which we are likely to rebel against, returning to self-sabotage. “. These new behaviors are usually the ones that are more useful in the long run.

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Lying by omission or on purpose, even if you think it’s harmless, can contribute to negative feelings.

Lying by omission or commission

We can lie to others either directly (by commission) or by omitting crucial information (by omission). This can include lying about where we’re going or what we’re doing, or secretly picking up an unhealthy habit.

“It can often cause us to feel shame and guilt, and hate ourselves for doing them or feeling the way we feel that leads to the behaviors,” Cassandra Fallon, therapist and regional clinic director at Thriveworks told Colorado Springs.

The fix: If you get tired of doing this, Fallon recommended asking for help.

“When we’re catching up, getting help is a great first step, whether it’s from those around us, self-exploration, or finding a personal coach, mentor, or from a mental health professional,” she said. “Some of us may even seek time with our best friends to help us understand what triggers our behavior, our fears [and] stress factors. Self-loathing or self-hatred can mean we need [to] explore the people we have in our lives [and] the way we live our lives.

negative interior monologue

With all the diet talk and self-help content, negative self-talk can sneak in before we notice. You might tell yourself cruel things about your intelligence, looks, or talents. You may feel a constant and urgent need to “better” yourself.

“We tell ourselves things that we wouldn’t dream of saying out loud to another person,” Leigertwood said.. “Negative self-talk can be incredibly insidious and can lurk beneath everyday thoughts. People don’t usually want to think they hate themselves, but self-abuse isn’t an act of self-love.

The fix: Leigertwood recommended keeping a journal or mood diary to help you stay aware of this negative talk. Once you recognize the thoughts, challenge them in order to have a more balanced view.

When you actively practice self-compassion through self-care practices and self-kindness, it can help you turn your negative self-talk into more nurturing and calming statements,” she said.

“True self-love requires a constant and deliberate commitment to congruence and self-awareness over a long period of time; it’s the antithesis of sneaky behavior.

-Hannah Beckett-Pratt

Behaviors or choices that don’t match who you are

Have you ever done something and then thought, “That’s not me”? This is incongruous behavior.

“Incongruence refers to when our behaviors are somewhat different from our internal experiences; they don’t reflect our true thoughts and feelings,” Beckett-Pratt said.

An example she gave is when you have a secret affair that you know is unsustainable and harmful. “Such behaviors alienate us from ourselves and ultimately leave us with a sense of loss, loneliness, frustration and dissatisfaction,” she added.

So if acting in this way makes us feel so bad, why are we engaging in it? “Fear underlies most sneaky behavior, whether it’s the fear of failing or even the fear of succeeding in living and being what we really want,” Beckett-Pratt continued.

Also, sometimes we feel pressured to act a certain way because of the holidays or pop culture. “Instead of considering what health means to us and the best way to achieve it in our current lifestyle, we just jump on the latest diet trend and then blame and shame ourselves for a few more weeks. late when we can’t maintain it,” she mentioned.

The Leigertwood experience saying “yes” when she meant “no” is another example. She explained why we might fall into this trap, saying, “We think that by saying ‘yes’ when we mean ‘no’, we’re nice, but it’s really especially mean to ourselves. When we treat ourselves badly, it can open the door for others to do the same.

The fix: When you notice that you’ve engaged in this kind of behavior, be compassionate with yourself – which is easier said than done, I know! – and try to do better next time.

“If your incongruity seems to appeal to people, try putting your own needs first,” Beckett-Pratt suggested. “When a friend asks you where you’d like to eat, choose a place instead of saying you don’t mind.”

Afterwards, focus on how the result made you feel and if it’s a feeling you want to feel again. It can encourage you to make healthy changes.

If it’s hard for you not to please people, she recommended asking people to hold you accountable, telling them about your struggles and your goals.

Leigertwood recommended listening to your body and your emotions. When you feel angry or resentful, you know your behavior needs to change.

“Give yourself some time to think before responding with an answer. Even if it means telling people you’ll come back later once you’ve had a chance to think,” she said. can give you the space you need to determine if you’re sincere about your ‘yes’.”

Practicing self-love in this way can be tricky, and we’re going to get it wrong. It’s OK! Remember that it is important to practice self-compassion as best you can throughout all of this. Like author Lori Deschene said“We can’t hate ourselves in a version of ourselves that we can love.”

Beckett-Pratt reminds us that self-love isn’t just a daily pill to take. “True self-love requires a constant and deliberate commitment to congruence and self-awareness over a long period of time; it’s the antithesis of sneaky behavior.

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