Self-reliance: A Path To Stress And Discouragement

Self-reliance: a path to Stress and Discouragement

We could think that self-demand is a positive attitude and state of mind, since it helps us improve and give our best. However, when self-demand takes us to the limit We feel exhaustion, stress, and eventually discouragement. When does self-demand become a problem?

This difficulty of a psychological and emotional nature frequently occurs in the workplace, although it can also impact other areas of our lives. It is about always living focused on giving the best, getting ahead of everything, with a perfectionist attitude and always looking for the icing on the cake. This leads us to a state of alert, which is a reflection of anxiety and insecurity.

What is this self-demand leading you to? To what extent does it make your well-being too dependent on what happens?

In this article we are going to delve into the root of that self-demand that does not work for us and how to solve it. What I am going to tell you is based on real cases of people that I have accompanied in their change processes as a psychologist and coach (you can see my work at In these processes we discover that behind self-demand there are problems of insecurity, anxiety and personal validation.

This problem is more common than we think today, so we are going to delve into it so that you can solve it today.

The meaning of self-demand

When we push ourselves because we want to achieve a good result (professional or personal) it is in itself a positive value. If your motivation is personal achievement, pushing yourself will make you feel good. The problem comes when that self-demand is conditioned by fear of the results or depends on comparisons or personal validation.

Self-demand, in this sense, is a reflection of the fear that our own self-concept will be called into question. This can lead us to attitudes of co-dependence at work (accumulating too much work, or everything depending on you), having difficulties communicating assertively, anxiety, and over time fatigue and discouragement.

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What are the different causes of this dysfunctional self-demand?

The root of self-demand

When self-demand becomes dysfunctional and we reach that stress and discouragement, it is the result that your well-being is not depending mainly on you, but on external factors that you cannot control.
We live in a state of alert, where we constantly observe if they are valued, if the results are good or perfect, and this can lead us to two possible situations: 1. demanding ourselves excessively and feeling that it is never enough (which exhausts us); 2. paralyze ourselves (because we think it will never be enough, which is discouraging).

There are several psychological and emotional causes for this problem.

1. Need for personal validation

Human beings need to feel valuable. However, when that value depends on others, we tend to feel frustrated and self-demand increases. Because? Because we cannot control how others validate or value them. This is due to a system of expectations and comparisons that does not work for you.

2. Fear of the result

Expectations about what you can or cannot give also depend on fear of the outcome or how others perceive and value you. Fear is not a problem in itself, since it is a valid and necessary emotion. The problem is manage fear functionally in such a way that it is too frequent and conditions you too much.

Insecurity is also a form of fear related to your view of yourself and your capabilities.

3. Co-dependence

If dependence is feeling that you need the other in an essential way to be well, co-dependence is feel that others depend on you, because otherwise the results will not be optimal. This can happen both at work (when you have a position of responsibility) and in your personal life (especially with family).

Co-dependency makes us accumulate tasks, supervise too much, not trust or try to be in control. All this leads us to anxiety and anguish.

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4. Opaque or unassertive communication

Finally, when we demand too much from ourselves we communicate in an opaque or unassertive way, precisely because we fear the result if we express our limits about what we want, don’t want, can or cannot.

These are the usual causes that lead us to demand too much of ourselves. Now, how do we solve it?

Solve self-demand to be at peace

If you are in this situation, first of all I send you a lot of encouragement and, above all, confidence to resolve it. When self-demand leads you to stress, it is a result of a system of life and relationships or work that does not work, and that is related to your way of understanding and managing what you feel and valuing yourself.

However, the solution is not to schedule a few short sessions, but to live a deep and practical change process where you get to the root of the problem and solve it in a stable way, so that this change becomes part of you. This helps you live and relate in a more positive and realistic way, and it also helps us be even more productive at work (because we know where the limits are).

These are the four keys to solving the problem.

1. Go to the root of the problem

As I told you, scheduling sessions just to reflect on why you demand so much of yourself can be a relief but it does not imply real solutions. To solve the problem we have to go to its root: How are you building your self-esteem? What does your way of valuing yourself consist of? And above all, what are the specific changes we have to introduce for all this to change?

Pushing yourself is okay if it is related to a motivation for personal achievement, never with validation from others.

2. Manage your emotions

Feeling certain fears or insecurity is sometimes functional. The problem comes when they are too frequent, intense and long-lasting. Learn to understand and manage your emotions (through different and concrete behaviors) helps you relativize them, make them more functional, and above all to generate other emotional states, such as acceptance (knowing what depends on you and what does not) and trust (which leads you to communicate assertively, establish limits, and seek more self-care).

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3. Functional self-esteem

Functional self-esteem is built when your well-being depends mainly on you, what you do and how you do it. In this sense, it is necessary to focus more on personal care, harmonize work or personal life with other areas, find balance and apply concrete changes to live with more well-being and security.

4. Action plan and constant company

In addition to working with all parts of your personality (since everything is related), it is essential to work with a concrete action plan that will lead you to the change you need.

This is something we work on in a process of change. First we see what is happening, how you now manage what is happening and what is not working. Then, with this action plan we apply the changes you need to reduce this self-demand and improve your well-being. Finally, we work with all parts of your personality (belief system, self-esteem, relationships, communication, emotions) so that it is internalized and that well-being is stable.

For the process to work, it is also important that the company be constant, not just with sporadic sessions. This is the reason why I accompany you as a psychologist and coach on a daily basis, so that you feel the company and we can face what is happening at the moment. In addition, you have weekly tools and sessions to achieve it safely.

If that is what you want, remember that in Human Empowerment or in my Psychology and Mind profile you can contact me to schedule a first session and see how we can solve it.

I send you lots of encouragement and above all confidence, Rubén Camacho Psychologist and coach