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Self-Defeating Thoughts and How to Overcome Them

I wanted to check in with you about your thoughts. Have you been feeling overly negative about a situation or just life in general? 

I want to give you some ways to recognize and push back against those self-defeating thoughts.

Self-defeating thoughts are any negative views you have about yourself, those around you, and even the world at large.

Here are 10 types of self-defeating thoughts to watch out for and how to overcome them:

Personalization:  It’s all about me – my fault – I did it wrong – they hate me – I am the only one who can do this. 

Solution:  How do you know?  Prove it, or consider other possibilities.   


Control Fallacies:Either you have no control or you can control everything. 

-Solution:  Let go of what you can’t control and be realistic about what you really can control.   


Fallacy of Fairness: You think everything should be fair.  

Solution:  Life is not fair. Accepting this will help you have more realistic expectations.    


Blaming:  You don’t take responsibility for your choices and project fault onto others.   

Solution:  Take responsibility for your choices, including your feelings.  Nobody else can make you feel or do anything.  How you feel or react is up to you.  


Shoulds:  Words like should, ought and must foster impossible expectations and result in disappointment, resentment and failure.   
-Solution:  Flexibility is the key here – give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt.   


Emotional Reasoning:  A belief that your emotions are based in truth. 

-Solution: Challenge emotions with logic – look for exceptions that are reasonable and possible.



Filtering:  Focus to the negative to the exclusion of the positive. 

-Solution:  When you are thinking/feeling bad, try to do the opposite.   


Black & White Thinking: Things are good or bad – it’s all or nothing with no middle ground 

-Solution: Look for the exception to your point of view – yes, but. . . 


Overgeneralization:  Exaggerate or take things to the extreme. 

-Solution: Avoid words like always, never, every, all, none, everybody, and nobody.  Question the extremes – is there any time that is not true?   


Mind Reading: Making assumptions about an outcome or someone’s motivation  

-Solution: Can you really know what’s going to happen or why something happens?  How can you know for sure?  What are other possibilities?  


Catastrophizing:  AKA awfulizing – expecting and projecting the worst  

-Solution: Remember that there is usually more than one possible outcome and the worst catastrophe usually does not happen.   

Becoming aware of your thoughts can help you break the cycle of negativity in your mind. Recognizing when you are in your own way mentally can make all the difference between stress & peace. Choose to crush those self-defeating thoughts because babe you are anything but defeated.

Whatever you are facing, you got this.

Til next time,