We’ve all been there. In those moments late at night or early in the day, when we’re standing in a crowd or completely alone, when those little thoughts creep in and settle themselves in the deepest corners of our minds.
"You’re not good enough. They’re better than you. You don’t deserve anything."
Self-defeating thoughts can come when we least expect them and tear down our self-esteem and break our spirits. So how can we stand up to them and choose joy instead? Well, today we’re going to talk about just that, with five ways to overcome self-defeating thoughts.
1. Test your reality.
The first step in overcoming negative thoughts is to recognize that they are first and foremost in your head, and are not real. When you start to experience self-defeating thoughts, take time to question why you feel this way, what is making you think this and how it is not accurate.
Some questions to consider are: What is my evidence for this thought? Is it my interpretation, or factual? Would anyone else say this about me? When you challenge your negative thoughts, your brain will start to come back to reality, and recognize the overt inaccuracies.
2. Put it in perspective.
Sometimes when we experience self-defeating thoughts, our emotions overcome us and blow situations incredibly out of proportion. When issues like this occur, the best way to calm down and embrace positivity is to put everything in perspective.
Questions to ask yourself when this happens are those such as: Is the situation really as bad as it seems? What’s the worst possible outcome, and how likely is it? How much will this matter in one year, five years, ten years? Putting situations into perspective will not only help to calm your nerves, but will also help eliminate those pestering negative thoughts in your head.
3. Create a happy place.
If self-defeating thoughts are something you continually struggle with, try setting up a happy place for you go to when you feel overwhelmed. For instance, ask friends, families and loved ones to write notes or letters about how much they love you. Save them all up, and when you feel negativity seeping in, break out your happy place and soak up the love.
Include things that actually make you happy in your space. If you’re a visual person, put together a poster of pictures with your loved ones. Create a playlist with your favorite music to listen to. Whatever brings you joy, compile it and save it for a rainy day.
4. Establish a support system.
Like we said, everyone experiences self-defeating thoughts at some point. If you find yourself struggling more often than not, bring together some trustworthy friends and family as a support system for when you’re feeling down. Compile phone numbers, email addresses and information of those willing to talk to you when you need it.
Then, whenever you feel doubtful thoughts seeping in, use your support system to fall back on. We’re all here to support each other. After all, what are friends and family for?
5. Change your language.
Finally, and most importantly, overcome your self-defeating thoughts by changing your language. Whenever a negative thought comes, change your thought process into something positive you can feel good about.
For example, “I suck at math,” can change to “math isn’t my strong suit, but I’m an excellent writer.” Or “I’m not good enough,” could be “my friends love me, and they think I am good enough.”
When it comes to self-defeating thoughts, there’s no sure-fire way to beat them. However, there are a number of steps you can put in place to overcome them as best as possible. The most important thing is to lean on those around you for support, and focus on coming through the other side with a more positive outlook on life.