What is Self betrayal? (and how to stop doing it)


You probably used some form of instinctive decision making as you wend your way through a busy life of social interactions and the complexities of work environments. Whether it be gut instinct, women’s intuition, or whatever name you want to give to your own sense of inner perception, there’s something in everyone which naturally knows what the best course of action is for themselves. But what happens when we ignore that crucial faculty; what does it mean when we commit an act of self-betrayal?

What does self betrayal look like?

Just because in certain moments you may understand what will be best for you, it doesn’t mean you will always go with that decision. Life can be hard to navigate, and instances of self-betrayal come up more often than you may think, in both minor and major situations.

Say you’re out with a group of friends, you’ve had a great time and are ready to happily call it a night. Your friends are in no mood to let you off the hook though and hassle you to stay out just a bit longer… You wake up the next day feeling a little sorry for yourself, and have a nice headache to boot. Or maybe it’s the other way around: you feel like letting loose but your partner reels you back home before you’re ready. Although relatively benign situations, you’ve still betrayed what your true self wanted.

Think of other social engagements you may have been pressured into, extra work you took to cover for someone else, or neglecting essential personal time because you didn’t want to offend someone by missing their event.

Self betrayal as a trauma response

On the surface it may seem as if we just want to make other people happy or lack discipline. When we dig deeper we often find that the seeds of self betrayal are planted early. Perhaps you grew up in an environment where please others was the norm or in a culture where you put the needs of others before your own.

Whatever the reason might be, we learn to go against our instincts, and doing this may be having a detrimental impact on your self-esteem and self-image.

Staying True

Things are rarely as black and white as “do what you feel like” though. Compassion for others and fluidity in decisions is also required. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t necessarily want to do, and that’s ok. Problems can arise when your inner voice is repeatedly squashed down. If you’re constantly being led or pushed around by others and ignoring your instincts, your self confidence can take a hit and your ability to make self-beneficial decisions may fade. You could wind up with a greatly diminished sense of self-worth.

It’s important to take the time to acknowledge the things you want, and which moments are most crucial to follow what your true self is saying. Simply writing down your feelings every day for 5 minutes can help you connect with your inner voice and help strengthen its presence in your life. Don’t be afraid to think of others but act selfishly, you deserve to live your life the way you want to.

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What is Self betrayal? (and how to stop doing it)