Why do some people tend to be so extreme in their behaviors that they become destructive? What is the origin of this weakness of unhealthy extreme behaviors?
Adjusting to past levels of anxiety. When we’ve experienced a chronically tension-filled or volatile environment we may seek extreme, high-adrenaline behaviors to make us feel alive. We need to have an experience that rises higher than our internal level of anxiety.
Compensating for depression. In the face of a deep, dark depression, we may engage in extreme or dangerous behaviors. We do this in order to feel something other than depression.
Self-punishment and self-validation. If we’ve come from abusive backgrounds we may engage in extreme and dangerous behaviors in order to force the world to punish us so that we can prove to ourselves that we’re as bad as we’ve been led to believe we are.
Quieting feelings. When guilt or anxiety rise up in us, we may seek to quiet it with something more powerful, something that conceals or cloaks our feelings of guilt or anxiety.
Forcing correction. We may engage in extreme or dangerous behaviors in order to dare fate and try to force its hand. We may have begun to feel that we don’t care about ourselves. We may dare the rest of the world to show us that it cares, even if this is done with a negative or punishing response.
Altering mood. We may engage in extreme behaviors to eliminate feelings of boredom, emptiness, sadness, or grief.
Perfectionism. We may think that everything has to be perfect and drive ourselves to extreme behaviors in order to accomplish this.
Self-hate. We may hate ourselves and seek our own destruction. We may hate someone else and seek to punish him or her with our destructive behaviors.
Altering image. We may feel the pressure of maintaining a good image and want to change it from good to bad.
Extreme beliefs. We may hold to extreme beliefs that lead to extreme behavior.
So, how do we overcome the weakness of extreme behavior?
* Acknowledge our weakness. We need to acknowledge that we’re investing a great deal of energy in a destructive weakness that could be invested instead in the greatness that belongs to us.
*Evaluate our motives. When it comes to extremes, the difference between greatness and tragedy is whether or not the motives and methods are meant for good. The rudiments of greatness are found in extreme behaviors. There we find the ability, determination, and courage to take risks.
*Determine our focus. We need to determine who we want to be and let that determination drive how we choose to behave.
* Seek accountability. We need to share our vision of who we want to be with someone who’ll hold us accountable for our actions.1
1 Winning Over Weaknesses, by: Jesse Dillinger