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  • Writer's pictureLisa Coruzzi

The Lies We Love: 3 Archetypes of Self-Neglect

hand cutting of the strings of a human, a representation of the excuses we make to promote inaction

To refuse growth and to navigate life with a closed mind is to neglect yourself. Self-neglect is rooted in a lack of action, an avoidance of change, or an unwillingness to put forth effort to achieve what we desire. The effort humans do naturally commit to is telling ourselves lies and excuses that will "protect" us from effort. The typical ways humans neglect themselves can be classified into three archetypes:

The Inner Critic's Bestie

The inner critic is the voice inside your head that says you're not good enough, that the result is impossible, or that you are not capable enough or ready yet. All humans have an inner critic, but if you're the inner critic's bestie, you effectively believe that you will never achieve what you want, so you just sit still.

Side effects of trusting the inner critic: Dwelling, self-victimization, self deprecation, giving up in the absence of instant gratification, comparison to others

The Perfectionist

The perfectionist must do everything perfectly or not at all. If you're the perfectionist, you set impossibly high standards for yourself, inevitably fail to meet them, and then use that as proof that you just can't do it.

Side effects of perfectionism: A crippling fear of failure, self-criticism, diminishment of one's progress or accomplishments

The Complicator

The complicator makes things more difficult than they need to be. If you're the complicator, you find obstacles and add complexities that prevent yourself from taking action by overwhelming yourself.

Side effects of over complicating: Listing reasons why something cannot be done, having a problem for every solution, paralysis, hyper-analysis, intricate justification for inaction


Overcoming Self-Neglect

What all archetypes share in common: Various cycles of inner narrative that each result in a sense of helplessness. Each archetypes puts in elaborate work to craft a defendable reason to quit, or to never start in the first place.

The first step in overcoming self-sabotage is recognizing it for what it is. We must identify the lies and excuses we tell ourselves in their tracks. Once we recognize the behavior and patterns of thought, we can begin to shift our attention and energy towards solutions and action. I used to think of these as lazy-minded, but I realize these patterns take significant effort, time, and energy – but yield no progress. You just have to wake up one day and decide you want your effort, time, and energy to be put to more effective use.


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