emotional wellbeing Mandy Kloppers

Self Determination

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Dysfunctional childhoods

when you grow up in a dysfunctional environment, you rarely learn how to stick to your goals in a healthy way. When there is very little balance this affects a child’s development and their sense of stability. They learn negative patterns of behaviour by watching their parents and often end up becoming adults with little sense of what is best for their adult selves. This negative backdrop can lead us to internalise negative and self-limiting beliefs that prevent you from really going for what you want in life. You begin to believe that success is unattainable and settle for a lot less than you are capable of. Do you have self-limiting beliefs? What have you told yourself you can’t do?


When you have average levels of self-determination, your attempts at achieving goals are sporadic and self-sabotage can become a part of the mix. It’s as if there is an underlying belief that you are somehow not worthy or do not really deserve success. Self-determination is the ability to choose for yourself and carve out life through your own choices. When these choices have been undermined by a difficult upbringing you can automatically be at a disadvantage. Were you given negative messages when you were younger? Did your parents/teachers support you or undermine you?

It might be time to rethink the past and update your beliefs about yourself. I was told I was a liability and that I was in the way constantly by my parents. As a result, my self-worth was pretty low and it has taken years of therapy and learning not to listen to these old outdated views that have helped me to get back on track.

The theory of motivation

Psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan developed a theory of motivation which suggests that people tend to be driven by a need to grow and gain fulfilment. The first assumption of self-determination theory is that people are activity-directed toward growth. Gaining mastery over challenges and taking in new experiences are essential for developing a cohesive sense of self.

According to self-determination theory, people need to feel the following in order to achieve such psychological growth:

Competence: People need to gain mastery of tasks and learn different skills.

Connection or Relatedness: People need to experience a sense of belonging and attachment to other people.

Autonomous: People need to feel in control of their own behaviours and goals

The goal of self determination is to feel that who you can become has possibility. That you have choices and that there is no reason to fear failure – it’s more important to try than to never give challenges a go.

Value yourself

Know yourself and plan ahead and you will be on the right path to self-determination. Take action and monitor self-limiting beliefs. If you find yourself saying that you can’t do something, ask yourself why you think this way. Is there a real reason/evidence or are you engaging in negative thoughts?

Expect the best and get out there and DO something. Never fear failure, fear staying stagnant and avoiding opportunities.

Mandy X





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Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.