Four Ways to Overcome Negative Feelings and Self-Defeating Thoughts

Feelings Affect Our Thoughts and Behaviors

In a recent article in Mindful magazine, Tchiki Davis describes how self-criticism and low self-worth can hold us back. Her well-being survey revealed that feelings of positive self-worth were the best predictor of happiness–even more so than feelings of gratitude or having strong personal relationships.[1]

Simply put, feelings affect our thoughts and behaviors. When we feel bad about ourselves, we unconsciously act in ways that end up confirming our beliefs and can end up in a negative cycle.

I encourage you to read the full article, because Ms. Davis explains in detail why these four things will help you to start to promote positive self-views and begin to change the patterns of your life. Meanwhile, I hope my summary will pique your interest:

1. Figure out your needs

People tend to feel badly about themselves when they feel powerless to get their needs met—so you can start this process by figuring out what your needs are. If you’re having a hard time figuring out your needs, just reflect on times in your life when you weren’t thriving. What was missing?

2. Live authentically

If your needs are being met, this step is easy. Just keep them in mind, and don’t stray too far from living a life that is authentically yours. You’ll find that you now have more positive views of yourself because you decided what matters to you and are willing to stand up for yourself.

3. Forgive yourself

Almost everyone has said something hurtful, forgotten an important event, or betrayed someone they love. It helps to remember that our mistakes do not define us. Forgive yourself, and give yourself credit for trying not to make the same mistakes again.

4. Celebrate your quirks

When we cherish our eccentricities and celebrate our flaws, we begin to develop a deep love for ourselves just as we are. Don’t forget to keep growing, though! Keep your eyes and ears open to the people you trust. Listen when they tell you that you have work to do on yourself. Feeling positively about ourselves takes effort. But by changing our views, we can change our lives.[2]


[1] Tchiki Davis, “Four Ways to Overcome Self-Defeating Thoughts, Mindful, Oct. 24, 2016.

[2] Ibid.