Psychological Reactance: Why We Sabotage Our Own Goals
We hate the feeling of being bossed around, even when doing as we’re told is good for us.
Psychological reactance is our knee-jerk negative reaction to being told what to do.
Based on research, almost everyone has this mental reflex against being told what to do, especially when we feel that our freedom or autonomy is threatened.
Psychological reactance is why you hate it when your manager asks you to do a task and you feel you are being micromanaged. However, realtization dawns on you that the task was critical to your work and professional growth.
We often do things against our best interests because we want to protect our freedom to behave the way we want.
Psychological reactance isn’t really bad.
If you comply everytime with rules and instructions, you tend to be more vulnerable to manipulation.
It is not beneficial when, at times, it could prevent us from doing things that we should do — like be helpful to others.
This affects you deeply when you are trying to make, commitments and set goals dor yourself. Example, that impulse of “don’t tell me what to do!” can kick in even when it’s you telling yourself what to do.
This is because, it doesn’t feel like you telling yourself what to do. Rather it’s you from the past, when you made your schedule, telling yourself what to do right now.
With an awareness about psychological reactance, you have the power to recognize and disarm it.
Instead of flaking on commitments because of a knee-jerk feeling, you can change your perspective on the situation.
By changing the dialogue, you empower yourself. Now you’re in charge. You’re not being told what to do; you’re choosing to make time for something that matters to you.
Disarming psychological reactance takes practice, but it’s worth learning how to deal with this uncomfortable feeling that all too often leads us off track.
MORE LIKE THIS
Psychological reactance: how we react to the threat of losing our freedom