How To Overcome Negative Self-Beliefs - How To Win a Man's Heart

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June 4, 2015

How To Overcome Negative Self-Beliefs

# 1. Follow the advice below

Dr. Randi Gunther

Many people have asked me over time what the most important characteristics are of people who are successful in relationships. Yes, they are people who know how to sacrifice, have a great sense of humor, are centered and self-honoring, authentic, and fun to be around. If they are, additionally, in love with life, that’s a bonus.

There are people who are just lucky to be born optimistic and resilient and wear well even when their relationships don’t always turn out just right. Many, though, become more worn down with each succeeding disappointment or disillusionment. They may start out with “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” but become eventually harbingers of their own doom and rethink life as “Nothing ventured, nothing lost.”

As those people give their best and still are either rejected or find themselves in relationships that are not working any more, they tend to crust over, keeping the most vulnerable parts of self hidden from view at the beginning of each new relationship. They get emotionally tough, anticipating that the next investment will be less likely to pay off, and become the predictors of their own failures by investing less and less. What parts of themselves they bury behind layers of self-protection, become more inert and less available when they do need to find them again.

That attitude, if not challenged, leads too often to bitterness, the precursor of pessimism. Pessimism about relationships has two paths: “potential quality partners are just not out there,” or, “my personal attributes are obviously not marketable.” Both conclusions insure that the outcome will be what people expect it to be. I.e., each succeeding relationship becomes less satisfying and more likely to end.

I hear these anguishing attitudes shared in the relationship laments my patients are suffering. They wonder what planet quality partners have migrated to, or intensely focus on all of the undesirable physical and emotional qualities they have that make them less desirable to those they might want. Maybe if they were just younger, or more successful, or more attractive? Perhaps if they hung out the right crowds or lived in a different place, amazing potential partners would show up.

Sadly, the longer they carry that expectation, the more likely it will become reality. If I had to come up with one personal characteristic that successfully counters that attitude, it is this: No matter how old, attractive, successful, or lucky a person might be, if he or she has the ability to love more deeply after loss, success in future relationships will be much more likely to happen.

I realize how hard that is to put into effect if many relationship failures have occurred or the right partners have just now shown up. Yet, I watch my patients re-assess their marketability, their options, and their attitudes and change the probabilities. I see them choose a different perspective, regain their sense of humor, start enjoying the fun of the adventure, maximize their value, and love what they do have to offer. They become more real, more authentic, and more open to transformation. They begin to take themselves much less seriously and much more sacredly.

So, the next time you date a hopeless, dejected, cynical, distrusting, sarcastic person, ask yourself what kind of a mirror you are looking in to. If it seems a little too familiar, take a better look at what you might be unconsciously projecting.

Dr. Randi Gunther –

# 2. Positive affirmations can help

Connie Clancy Fisher

We all have an inner guidance system that tells us to do this or not to do that. Some refer to this inner guidance system as our inner critic, inner pilot light, our small self or false self. Everything becomes a thought first then manifests into something positive or negative.

It is important to remember that what we focus on expands. If we focus on self-criticism and negativity, then our negative critical thoughts are likely to manifest. Rather, if we focus on shifting any negative thoughts to positive ones including self-praise then we will begin to believe those thoughts and live more productively. When you say something positive to yourself like, “great job” or “I approve of myself and my healthy decisions,” notice how that feels.

If you can feel happy and a sense of joy, perhaps even smile about saying those positive words, then it is much easier to accept the positivity in your life. You are allowing yourself to accept the healthy positive person whom you’ve always been.

What happens is that we hear others program their own negative thoughts (not your thoughts) into you and you internalize them until you believe that is who you are, i.e., not good enough, not smart enough,not lovable, not college material, will never amount to anything, and on and on. Be mindful that this programming is your inner doubt self talking to you, not the real you. The real, authentic you at the core level is the you that has always been ever since you entered this life. Our core just happens to get covered up with defenses we have to protect us from feeling the pain of what we are programmed to believe.

I work with many women who still struggle with their negative self-beliefs that started when these were programmed into them. One exercise I use to help them shift their negative beliefs into positive ones is to have them write a letter to their wise self from their wise self, the self beneath all the negativity and layers of defenses. Tell your wise self that you love and accept her and forgive her for any negative thoughts and beliefs that continue as this is a process that takes time. With repetition, any negative thoughts remaining will disappear and positive healing thoughts will enter. Write and repeat a list of positive affirmations thirty-three times for thirty-three days ( a Hindu Tradition) and any thoughts and feelings will begin to shift.

Some positive affirmations include:

– I love myself for who I am

– I am worthy to feel joy and love

– I deserve love

– I am healthy to give and receive love

You can make up what resonates with you and you will be amazed at the shift in your self-acceptance and self-love.

Connie Clancy Fisher, ED.D. –

# 3. Identify the belief, question it and follow the steps below

Jessica Hopkins

Fact or Fiction?

That’s really what we should be asking ourselves when we follow the trail of thoughts that follow one of our negative self-beliefs. Sometimes, we have told ourselves something for so long we start to believe it, and worse yet, we don’t even question the validity or where the thought came from.

So ask yourself, is this fact or fiction?

Is it a fact?

Hmmm. I seriously doubt it. It is my belief that we are good in nature, we may just get lost along the way. So you’ve decided your negative self-belief is fact. I challenge you to change your perspective. Instead of looking for evidence that only supports your negative self-belief, start opening up and look for alternatives. Look for evidence to counteract that belief as well! After all, how can you truly run with a thought or idea if you haven’t fairly looked at both sides of the equation?

Whose voice is that?

Painful messages are sneaky; they have a way of lingering, and holding onto us. Pretty soon, we forget that it isn’t our voice we allow to keep repeating in our head, it may be someone else’s. It may be helpful to ask yourself, whose voice it is or when did I pick up that message. You may be surprised that you’re carrying around someone else’s negative or unhealthy view of yourself, and claiming it as your own. If this thought or belief from someone else, is no longer serving you, why not toss it! We’re done carrying around other peoples baggage, we have enough of our own!

It’s tough being a woman.

I encourage you to take a second and actually think of all the confusing messages women get, on what it means to be a women. We are constantly bombarded with images, direct and indirect messages of what we are “suppose” to look like. We get the same messages about our personality, how we express our emotions, and how we should properly be carrying out our roles.

1. Challenge yourself on some of your own beliefs about what it means to be a woman. Really put some thought into these beliefs.

2. Now filter. How many of these beliefs of yours, come with some negative self-talk, if you don’t measure up.

3. Follow the steps from the list above.

a. Challenge those thoughts. Is it fact or fiction?

b. If it’s a fact – look to counteract, and look for evidence supporting the reverse

c. Whose voice is that? Identify where you picked up this message about being a women, and decide if it’s really working for you. If not, why not choose to toss it!

Jessica Hopkins, MA, NCC –

# 4. Flip your perspective

Margaret Bell

Are you trapped by negative self beliefs? You know those thoughts, those beliefs that remind you everything you are not, never going to be or have. Negative self beliefs keep you trapped. Mostly, they keep you safe. If you keep telling yourself, “I’m too old to find love,” “I am too ugly to be loved,” or “All the good ones are taken.” Than my friend, you are playing it safe. If you don’t try and you listen to those negative self beliefs, you are keeping yourself from being hurt. Yes, you might get hurt but you might find love.

What you need is a flip of perspective.

When you hear yourself saying, “I am too old to find love.” Prove yourself wrong, Google oldest person to get married. Or say, “I have years of experience, wisdom and love to share with someone else.”

If you find yourself saying, “I am too ugly, fat, broken, etc. to be loved.” Remind yourself that we all have baggage and there is someone out there who feels just as ugly, fat, broken, as you do. Remind yourself that this is your perception and what is one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. And yes, you are a treasure.

Feeling like all the “good ones are taken?” What is your definition of good one? Write your list of what you want in a partner. What are the most haves, the would likes and the deal breakers? Making a list puts your desires into perspective.

Challenging your perspective and flipping it, is a start to a more positive relationship with yourself. When you feel good about yourself and start to rid yourself of negative beliefs, you feel better about life. Before you know it, all those things you believed you couldn’t have because you just weren’t worth it, start appearing in your life. Because, you are worth it!

Margaret Bell, MA, NCC –

# 5. Follow the 6 tips below

Karen Thacker

When you believe the worst about yourself it sucks life-giving energy right out of you. Who wants that? No one! And yet, here you are allowing it to happen. What do you do?

1. Make sure your negative beliefs are not part of depression. Check out Save.Org Depression Checklist Follow the advice on the checklist about being diagnosed by a professional. If you are clinically diagnosed with depression, you may need medication to get the depression under control. The medication won’t take all the effects of depression away so work with a therapist as well.

2. I am a huge advocate of awareness. It’s the first thing I say. You HAVE to be aware of your thoughts and emotions, what’s going on within you, before you can create change. Sometimes we live life in this crazy autopilot state, rarely aware of what’s going on inside. So start taking the controls of your life back into your hands.

3. Ask yourself if the negative thoughts are based in reality. Would they be admissible in a court of law or are they made up by you? Are you catastrophizing, future tripping or creating a story. A statement like “I’ll never find a life partner” is all three: 1. You’re making the situation worse than it really is. 2. You cannot predict the future with 100% accuracy. 3. It’s a made up story.

4. Throw out the inaccurate negative belief and replace it with truth like, “I have not found my life partner yet and I am sad about that.” Leave it there. Don’t start turning on yourself.

5. Look at where you have control to change your situation. If it’s not having a life partner, are you making sure you are as healthy as you can be so when that person shows up you’re prepared? The best relationships are the ones where two whole people come together and can truly enjoy one another.

6. See the positives in your life. Change your focus from all that is bad to the good aspects of yourself and your life.

Karen Thacker, LPC –

# 6. Follow the 6 tips below

Amy Sherman

If you experience doubt, expect the worse and dwell on those thoughts, you are creating what you don’t want. This is perpetuating negative self-beliefs and showing self-sabotage at its best. Sabotage can be your greatest enemy and the results of this sabotage will disappoint every time. Instead, practice focusing on what you do want, not on what you don’t want and you will be surprised of the outcome. Here is what you can do right now!

1. When you wake up in the morning, put your attention on what you want for the day. Spend about one minute going over your goals and desires and visualize what you would like to happen. See it play out the way you want it to go and even rehearse your responses as if it actually happened.

2. Enjoy the feelings you will have if you already manifested what you are thinking. Make the feelings as intense as possible. Stay in those feelings for a few moments.

3. Surround yourself with things that remind you of your desired goals. In other words, look in a magazine for pictures of a happy couple on vacation, at home, at the movies. Spend time with people who have experienced what you want, whether its a terrific relationship, awesome job or great vacation spot.

4. Focus your thoughts on the things that bring you happiness and joy. It is very important to acknowledge all the good you DO have and to let others know. Always remember that no matter what your situation, there are always things to be grateful for.

5. Be proactive in creating your desires. Don’t just sit around and wait for things to happen. You will notice that once you set your mind on something, you will become more aware of people, resources and opportunities that are related to what you want. This makes it easier to go after it.

6. Know that everything is working in your favor. When you make a great business connection, acknowledge. When you lose 1 lb, acknowledge that. When you meet a great partner, acknowledge that, too. The more you recognize that things are working, the more it will continue to be created in your life.

If you make a commitment to stay focused on what you want, take actions daily to make it happen, keep your confidence that it will and maintain your gratitude, you will move forward in creating your desired and fulfilled life – and remove all those negative self-beliefs!

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC –

# 7. Follow the 6 tips below

Becky Bringewatt

Do you know how much your perceptions and expectations effect your experiences? It’s probably a bigger correlation than you think. We present our beliefs to the world around us through our actions, how we stand or move, how we talk about ourselves and about others, the activities we choose or do not choose. All of this stems from our beliefs about ourselves.

Most of us began formulating our unique belief systems when we were very young children. We learned that we were good at certain things and not so good at others. People told us how they expected us to behave and then told us how we were performing or living up to those ideals. Throughout our lives, situations have arisen that have confirmed or shown us that they weren’t true, and from there, we formed our beliefs about ourselves and others.

And, to top it off, we are always our own worst critics, noticing the smallest details of mistakes we have made, even though no one else would. Anytime someone repeats to us one of our negative beliefs, we grasp onto it and strengthen it until it becomes a definition of who we are. And then we act that out in the world.

Acting something out in the world attracts more of the same. We attract people who think or believe as we do, we attract situations that will confirm our beliefs, good or bad. And the more we are in these relationships and situations, the more we confirm what we’ve always been told: “I’m too fat, I’m bitchy, I don’t know how to have healthy relationships,” and so on. So what do you do about it?

1. The first step is always to recognize when you’re doing this. Notice the negative belief when it comes up, or even days afterwards, and notice how often it presents itself in your life.

2. Once you’ve begun to recognize a pattern, start to notice what happens before you go down the rabbit hole of the negative belief. This is called a trigger. It could be a feeling or a comment someone made or a thought you had.

3. Ask yourself where you learned this. You can sometimes hear the person’s voice saying the belief in your head, but other times, you might have to dig. Maybe it’s a comment your sister made or a bully when you were in grade school.

4. Find arguments that refute the belief. Think of times when things went differently than you expected and proved you wrong. Then strengthen them and give yourself more opportunities to do more of this.

5. Replace negative beliefs with more positive ones. Ask your friends to say nice things about you until you start to believe them, too. Do a meditation that focuses on positive thoughts.

6. Make friends with yourself. Stop judging yourself so harshly. Smile and be kind to you.

Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC –

# 8. Recognize your negative self-limiting beliefs and work towards changing them

Ashleigh Peterson

Why do we hold such negative beliefs about love? We have learned that love is a “fairy tale”. Watching all the princesses get swept off their feet by their prince teaches little girls what to expect and what love should “look like”. So, when reality kicks in and young girls start dating, they may get their heart broken. This disappointment turns into resentment which form lasting negative beliefs- which then create that reality.

So how do we conquer these negative beliefs to open ourselves up to real love?

First step- is recognizing your resentments, beliefs, feelings, doubts and disappointments. Do you have a group of girlfriends who you love to complain to and foster these negative beliefs about love, boys and end up feeling less deserving or less hopeful about ever finding something different? Talking about all the negative experiences may feel “healing” and relieving in the moment, but in the end it only results in feeling jaded and bitter. And the more jaded and bitter you feel, the more closed off you become, therefore your reality mirrors your feelings.

Start to notice every time you want to complain or say something negative about yourself, a situation, a partner, or past event that resulted in heartache. Maybe, you can then start to slow this process down enough to recognize these thoughts and can find acceptance.

Accepting that people and love are imperfect. It can hurt, sting, and be the best thing all at the same time. This doesn’t make it ok that you’ve been hurt, but it does make it ok and worth it to put yourself out there to try again. If you haven’t or can’t experience the lows, how can you experience the highs? You can choose to sit and watch people ride the roller-coaster, or you can jump on knowing at times it’s scary but also that adrenaline rush is totally worth it.

The key is acknowledging and accepting that you have fears, hurts, disappointments- due to some painful experiences- and you can either choose to let these become your reality and hold you back, or you can choose to act according to what really matters to you and allow yourself to be open and vulnerable even though you have these thoughts, beliefs and fears. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Your set back could be a set up for something amazing.

Ashleigh Peterson, MA, CACI –

# 9. Identify your critical thoughts and use the below coping skills

Lisa Resnick

Understand your negative thinking:

We live in a world where it is easy to be self-critical, compare ourselves to others, and internalize perfectionist cultural expectations.

As humans our thinking tends to be negative due to biological responses instilled in us long ago. This is a part of all of us, and is very much a reason that we think negative thoughts when we want something or have trouble achieving something (worry, anxiety and fear are all friends).
Know that our thoughts are our brain’s way of interpreting sensory information and that what we think is neither fact, nor truth, but perception.

Identify your core critical thoughts through mindfulness and gain awareness of their roots:

If we can know what we tell ourselves we can seek the root, process the emotions, and then take action to challenge whatever we tell ourselves. Do you know what you tell yourself? Pay attention. The next time you are in a situation that causes you emotion see what your thoughts tell you, see where your mind takes you, and if possible write down or journal whatever comes to mind. Once you are aware, or if you already are, it is important to understand where these feelings and thoughts are rooted in your experience, and to cope with past hurt, disappointment, or loss. How we feel about our self in relationship can often be rooted in our family dynamics and relationships with parents. If you need help with this processing, seek support and guidance.

Use coping skills to change or challenge thoughts:

Once you know about thinking, your specific self-criticism and where it originates, you can start to take steps to adjust your thinking. Please keep in mind that this is all a process like anything else and will likely occur over time, not overnight. There are many many techniques to challenge and change negative self-beliefs, so I will simply list a few.

– Challenge those thoughts, literally. Socratically dig into them and really question IF THEY ARE TRUE. Even if the past confirms this belief, there is no way to know what the future holds. Learn about cognitive distortions and the ways that we create our own (un)truths. Remind yourself that what you believe is only YOUR perspective and that there are always exceptions to every rule.

– Change those thoughts, by seeing yourself in a different light. BE POSITIVE with yourself, and instead of criticism, give yourself love and compassion. Acknowledge whatever hurts, but remind yourself that you deserve good things. Help yourself to see the reasons that your negative thoughts are untrue. Remind yourself of all of the positives in you and that we are all deserving of love. Take action to engage in activities that make you feel good about you, and to work to reinforce your confidence in yourself.

Lisa Resnick, MA, EdM, LPC –

# 10. Do things that bring out your sexy


How we feel about ourselves manifests in the way we carry ourselves. If we feel low and perceive ourselves as undesirable, that is what other people sense from us. We are attracted to people who smile and laugh. The important thing is to be yourself and appreciate where you are at in your life. Your experience is what you bring to the table. Someone who sees who you really are is going to appreciate the true beauty in you. Everyone ages and this is unavoidable. As we age, we worry that we are less attractive and that we won´t find love. Love is not about how you look, it is about who you are. Do you really want to attract someone without substance or integrity? If all we are focusing on is appearance, we can miss out on the depth of what a person truly has to offer. No one can validate us as powerfully as we can validate ourselves. It is about exuding power and confidence when we smile or in the way that we carry ourselves that makes us attractive.

Sex appeal and confidence comes from within. When looking for a mate, we often gravitate to those people that put out a positive vibe. Fake to until you make. Do small things for yourself. Get a massage or a facial. Go out with your friends and get a makeover or get manicure. Do things that bring out your sexy. The most sensual and sexual organ is the mind. Practice flirting and put yourself out there. Take a chance and you might be surprised. Don’t go out with the intention of finding someone. Go out with the intention of being you. It is important not to compare ourselves to others as we are all individual and unique in our beauty. Being comfortable in your own skin in and of itself is sexy because it exudes confidence and a knowing that you are beautiful.

Do not hand over your power over you because you think someone does not like the way you look. Other people´s opinions of us do not define who we are, we define who we are. You can clean someone up, but you can´t change a person´s heart. Love is about a connection, substance and nurturing the relationship and learning to love what is good for you. We may not always get what we want, but if we open our hearts, we may actually get what we need. Don´t be so attached to outcomes. Love yourself and you will be surprised what that love for yourself will attract. No one is without physical flaws and if someone cannot see or value your heart and what you bring to the relationship, then maybe that person is not for you. In the end, you want someone that sees you and who you are and knows your heart. Anything less is unacceptable.

Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT –

# 11. Follow the 6 steps listed below

Brooke Campbell

Negative self-beliefs block us from joy in our lives. Unfortunately many women buy into this negative messaging, often times believing them to be true. Dr. Brene Brown states in her book “Daring Greatly” that to live a whole-hearted life we must express vulnerability. Vulnerability is a feeling that many people hide from. One way we hide from vulnerability is by listening to our inner critic telling us untruths about ourselves.

1. Develop what Dr. Brene Brown calls “Shame Resilience”. If we start believing that we are unworthy of love and connection, we are letting our negative self-talk win. Instead, develop “shame resilience” and create new forms of self talk that include vulnerability: ex: “I’m feeling a bit scared about putting myself out there after being in a long term relationship. I’m enough with or without a relationship. I will practice self-compassion and love myself through this process of meeting new people”.

2. Practice Self-Compassion. – Women often create that negative tape that fosters a feeling of being unworthy or unlovable. When in the process of finding love, it is essential to practice self-compassion and be easy on yourself as you put your self out there.

3. Create your “Circle of Care”. – These are the people who are in your arena when you are needing support. These are the people who are able to show you empathy and compassion. Turn to these people when you’re feeling vulnerable and whenever the negative self-talk creeps in.

4. Reality-Check Yourself. – Whenever those inner critics pull you away from believing in yourself, practice the reality-checking technique where you ask yourself and even the people in your circle of care if you really are all those negative qualities you have formed about yourself. Often times, reality-checking puts our inner critic at bay and leaves us feeling more empowered.

5. Use Releasing Metaphors- As a drama therapist I use metaphors to help us release blocks we may be experiencing. Imagine what you may like to do with the negative-self beliefs that are getting in your way. Might you wish to crush them, send them away with the wind, bury them, or toss them out to see. Engage in this visualization to release negative self-talk.

6. Note where the negative self-beliefs stem from. Many times, after doing this work for a decade I’ve come to see a pattern that negative-self-talk often times has originated from people or places such as: a parent, a family member, a teacher, a school, a company, a boss, a friend, a spouse, a boyfriend etc. Where have you heard negative messaging about yourself? It may mean that the negative self-talk you’re experiencing are critical words which have been passed down to you which never had any bearing of truth. When negative comments come our way, these words represent what others actually thinking about themselves. When we can take charge of where negative statements are coming from, we can boundary ourselves from these people in order to surround ourselves with people who accept and love us as we are.

Brooke Campbell, MA, RDT-BCT, LCAT –

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