Self-Handicapping: My thoughts, Journey and Advice

We’ve all been there… it’s 1am and you have somewhere important to be the next day, work, class, your nephews birthday party. All of these important things are ya know important but you really don’t feel like going. So you don’t set your alarm “on accident” and you tell yourself “if I get up, I get up. If I don’t I’ll just tell everyone I’ve overslept… everyone will forgive me.” The important thing is while everyone will forgive you, you’re opening up a hole that is really hard to get out of.

In one of my classes this past week the topic up for discussion was self-handicapping. This is something everyone has done at one point or another, but others make a chronic habit of it, myself included. Some examples of self-handicapping are: exaggerating illnesses, drinking or substance abuse, staying out to late before a big day at work or school, underachievement and procrastination. Self-handicapping is something that plagues those with low self-esteem and in some cases can make it worse. It’s a vicious cycle that can weigh on a persons happiness, limit success and cause poor achievement over time.

I have a had a personal struggle with self-handicapping and let me be the first one to say that it’s not something that you notice is happening. I always knew that I was a terrible procrastinator but it wasn’t until I reached college that noticed how big of a problem it truly was. I saw people around me succeeding even though I knew deep down that I had the potential to succeed as well. That is an incredibly hard pill to swallow because there is nothing worse than being the person to get in the way of your own success.

If you feel like you’re not living up to your potential my main word of advice is to first pinpoint the problem. Acknowledge your behaviors that drag you down. If you’ve been repeatedly procrastinating with work or school, let yourself know and hold yourself accountable.  This is not an easy task. I personally like to avoid this acknowledgment and shift the blame to someone else (which is destructive to interpersonal relationships, another post for another day).

Once you acknowledge these behaviors, pick one to change and motivate yourself. I personally have found that incentives work the best for me (especially food ♥). While I was pregnant with Reynold I had a particularly had time with going to work. I drove 30-40 minutes to work everyday and stood on my feet anywhere from four to eight hours at a time. That is incredibly hard on a woman carrying a baby… anyway I would exaggerate my morning sickness to get out of working. I started to notice  it becoming a problem when I was in my third trimester and morning sickness was a thing in the past. SO to help remedy the problem I gave myself an incentive. I told myself that if I went to work everyday during a work week I could stop and get Fusian on the way home (if you’re concerned, my sushi never had fish on it while I was pregnant). After that I started showing up for all my scheduled shifts up until Reynold was born.

My last piece of advice is to find someone to help you hold yourself accountable. This person needs to be helpful and understanding of your situation and knows when to push you when you need it. This person can be a significant other, a parent, sibling or best friend. The bottom line is sometimes all we need is a little help and support, don’t be afraid to reach out for it. This person will understand that you are trying to better yourself for the long run. Brian is someone that has never been afraid to push me towards success. He is my person that I rely on to hold me accountable when I can’t do so myself. Any achievement that I have obtained over the last three years has been because I have someone pushing me away from my self-handicapping behaviors and towards success.

Self-handicapping is something that can definitely be managed over time and even eliminated with the proper care. I hope you can use this to your advice to your advantage to jump start your self improvement journey. Do not be afraid to reach out to a local licensed counselor for further assistance! Also, please note that this is my advice on this topic and it comes from a place of personal experience. I really hope this advice helps you and don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

This Past Weekend

SO Brian works nights throughout the week. Usually the weekends are our only time that we get to spend together as a family. My favorite days of those weekends would have to be Saturdays, which I’m sure A LOT of families enjoy. Typically we’ll sleep in a little bit (if Reynold allows it..) spend our mornings working out, stop by the local farmers market and relax the rest of the afternoon with video games, TV or just fun talks and baby time. Brian and I like to make this night our date night if we can find a babysitter. I know sounds like a dream right? Well that is if everything goes as planned. I don’t think we have EVER been able to fit all of those things into one Saturday, but that’s what having a kid will do to ya.

This past Saturday was one of those days that I was just itching to get out of the house. I get like this sometimes where I’ll just get so stir crazy that it starts to effect my mood and my overall happiness. Usually a quick trip to target will suffice but I seriously needed like a big adventure. So Brian’s idea was the mall… no seriously this was a good plan I swear. We were going to drop Reynold off with Brian’s parents, go to the mall, walk around for a bit, get some coffee (hey there Starbucks) and then leave and catch up with some friends. Good plan right? It would be enough to get my stir-craziness and relax me for the weeks to come.

Well… that’s not how things worked out. Right off the bat Brian and I had a misunderstanding about if we we’re taking Reynold to the mall or not. In retrospect my anger over this was a little over zealous; yes we could have taken him with us but I hate being THAT lady with the stroller trying to fit through racks and knocking things off of displays… not to mention you have to search far and wide for an elevator. Okay okay see I was being terribly stubborn about this. SO after dropping Reynold off and heading to the mall we get a call right as we were pulling in. It was our friends telling us that they were heading to the restaurant we were going to meet them at later that night. Brian makes the executive decision to cut down our mall time. Which is fine. We got coffee and headed over to a boutique, had an unnecessarily long chat with a sales associate (I get it girl, you have to get those sales), and then left the mall. About thirty minutes later we get to the restaurant and get some waters ordered. Before the waitress gets back we get a call from Brian’s Mom. Currently Reynold is dealing with a flare up of eczema and it had gotten increasingly worse since we had left. So we left and were back home before 9:30.

SO we get home and the first thing we do is get Reynold ready for bed, I feed him and get him down before 10:00 (woo!). At this point I’m thinking, hey at least something has gone right tonight. I decide to celebrate with a bubble bath, a glass of wine and some Skyrim (by the way, thank you Brian for the nintendo Switch, I have always dreamed of playing Skyrim in the bathtub). After about thirty minutes of everything being absolutely amazing I hear shuffling and crying coming from down the hall. Even though Brian probably can handle getting him back to sleep I decide to get out anyway because ya know why not. As I go to get out of the tub my arm hits my phone and it PLUMMETS into the water. Awesome. At least it’s “water-resistant”.

After about two hours of intermittent crying and a snack along the way, we finally get Reynold to fall back asleep (in his own bed I might add). At 1am Brian and I just cut the day as a loss and went to sleep.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not mad about how my day turned out, just a little bit frustrated that things didn’t go as planned. We fixed everything by literally staying in bed until 1pm the next day. In retrospect I don’t think my frustrations were even justified. I’m slowing learning to lower my expectations for a fun Saturday night, because that’s what you do as a parent. Not every weekend has to be eventful, but sometimes you just gotta get out and do something.

Ps. if you’re wondering, my phone is okay…. I think. AND Reynolds eczema is almost nonexistent. Yay!