Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do to please someone else? I’m going to assume yes. We all have experienced some form of forgetting our own needs or desires for another. What often don’t realize is how we turn our backs on ourselves in these moments – the self betrayal.

Self betrayal is a really common thing, but something we often ignore or are blinded to. By becoming aware of the patterns that lead to this feeling, we can take the steps to redirect our behavior to treat ourselves with more love and respect.

Signs of Self Betrayal

Some signs of self betrayal may be pretty obvious, like staying in obviously unhealthy relationships or careers, even though you know how bad it is for you. However, there are small moments of self-betrayal that may not be so obvious at the moment, like going to the birthday party when you really needed a night by yourself on the couch.

By recognizing some examples of self betrayal, you develop a radar for these situations. With your radar in tune, you can make adjustments when you notice it happening. You can stop the pattern.

Keeping a Job You Hate

Most people have experienced this one – you stay at a job you despise for a list of excuses that feel really important. You definitely need a paycheck and will stay in a job when the money is good. There may also be doubt about whether you can find a new position or if you’re good enough for something else.

The fear keeps you stuck in self-betrayal.

You despise it for a reason. Perhaps the job doesn’t challenge or inspire you. If management or your co-workers treat you terribly or the company has a toxic culture and you continue to stay because of fear, it’s a version of denying yourself something better.

woman with a laptop reading
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Staying in a Bad Relationship

This is one I’ve experienced a lot of. When you love a person or love the idea of your relationship, it can be really hard to leave. But by staying, you sacrifice yourself and your needs.

When people stay in relationships that aren’t serving them, they’ll generally chip away at who they are, their beliefs, and what they believe to be acceptable in order to “make it work.” You may, like me, even find yourself turning a blind eye to mistreatment because you believe that if you were better, the problems would go away.

This is a painful version of self betrayal because you make the relationship with this other person more important than the relationship you have with yourself.

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Being Self Critical

Hear me out – I’m all for taking extreme ownership for your life and behavior, but being nitpicky and nasty to yourself is just uncool. When you criticize your appearance, who you are, and any other list of injustices you’ve created in your mind, you’re being a bully to yourself.

Harsh language thrown as yourself is not going to encourage you to do better, it just drives a deeper wedge in the relationship you have with yourself. This is like yelling at your best friend for something you don’t like. That feels like betrayal, right?

Not Speaking Up for Yourself

This is a hard one to recognize because it’s one of the little self betrayals that happens often. This might happen when you back down on your idea in a company meeting or allow your co-worker to speak over you. It can happen when someone crosses a boundary, which you ignore, or you don’t speak out for your needs.

I used to do this in simple ways, like not sharing my meal needs. It would be very easy to ask, “Can we make sure the restaurant we choose for dinner has a few vegan options for me please?” Instead, I’d hope the spring salad and bread would suffice.

Plus, when you start advocating for yourself and your needs, you do the opposite of self-betrayal – you start building self trust!

Another version of this? Saying “yes” when you really want to say “no.”

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Being a Shape Shifter

Another category I used to be brilliant at! This is another subtle way we don’t honor our true selves – by pretending to be something we’re not or hiding parts of who you are. It’s like a chameleon – you shift how you look and act based on the people you’re around.

While this is somewhat natural in some settings, such as how you speak to your grandmother vs your best gal pal, it can also eat away at your authenticity. When you aren’t allowing your true personality to shine – nerdiness and weird things included – you’re betraying those parts of who you are.

All of you deserves to be seen!

This is just a small list of ways I see women betray themselves. We do it all to often, we stop feeling the pain of it, but it’s still there. There’s still a deep sorrow when we slow down and witness this behavior.

By continuing to grow your self belief, you may recognize more and more patterns where you don’t honor your worth. Be gentle when yourself when you notice these. You’re doing your best, always. Be patient as you evolve.

I’m curious, which category hit home with you? Drop a comment down below with a commitment to yourself on how you’ll make some baby steps towards change.

I believe in you!