How to Overcome Self-Defeating Thoughts and Feelings


Because you understand the power of words, you tend to be cautious about the words you speak to others. But what you say to yourself in the form of inner dialogue is also powerful. Your thoughts and feelings affect your attitudes, your motivations and your abilities. Overcome self-defeating thoughts and feelings by consciously choosing the words you use in your inner dialogue. The way you talk to yourself about your goals influences your progress toward your goal -- for good or for bad. Changing the language you use in your head helps you reach your goals.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Avoid self-talk that begins with phrases such as "I have to ...," "I need to..." or "I should..." These sorts of messages add to your anxiety, which encourages you to avoid doing anything at all. When you feel forced into action, you tend to resist by not moving forward with the project at hand. You tend to avoid things that stress you or make you feel incompetent.

  • Say, "I want to..." instead. This statement forms a positive concept within you about approaching the task. If you really want to do something, you get it done.

  • Tell yourself you are what you want to be. "I am ..." This statement is an affirmation. Instead of telling yourself you are weak, low and a loser, affirm that you are confident, powerful and successful.

  • Write down the affirmations you need to reprogram your thinking. Use these affirmations repeatedly. It literally reprograms your mind, so you believe you are elegant, feminine or ingenious, for example. Train your mind by repeating positive affirmations aloud.

  • Recognize your negative thoughts and feelings. On a bad day, pull out paper and pen. Write how you feel at that moment. "This situation makes me feel angry." "I feel so negative." "I feel like a quack." If you do not give your feelings space, just saying affirmations over these negative thoughts leaves you feeling empty rather than empowered. You resist embracing the positive, because you have not yet let go of the negative.

  • Give those negative thoughts and feelings a little space. Then, let them go long enough so you can move forward. Now write some positive affirmations, and see if you can embrace them rather than rejecting them.

Tips & Warnings

  • "When you are depressed, most often you think that you are worthless," states the Psych Central website. If you continue to have difficulty seeing yourself realistically, consult your doctor or a mental health professional who can help you.

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