Thinking negatively about yourself
Thinking negatively about yourself
You might be wondering what to do about thinking negatively about yourself. You are lone with this. Many of us are often surrounded by negative thoughts, largely about ourselves. How many of us, however have tried to introspect and understand the cause of these feelings? If you pay attention to the negative thoughts of yourself, you may notice a defined pattern. You may know that these thoughts are not random but follow a theme. This theme is called a ‘core belief’ according to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) (Miller & Shelly, 2000, p. 135).
Core beliefs are the very essence of how we see ourselves, other people and the world. They are our most fundamental beliefs. Core beliefs do not develop over-night. They develop over time, usually from childhood and through the experience of significant life events. Core beliefs are rigid, strongly-held and inflexible. Core beliefs are maintained by the tendency to focus on information that supports the belief and ignores the evidence that contradicts it.
Based on our particular core beliefs, we can predict which kind of thoughts will flow into our mind in different situations. Thoughts like – “I’m useless”, “I’m a failure”, “I’m weak and incapable”, etc. are some common negative core beliefs. These are difficult to change because they have been with us for a long time, mostly from childhood. These are common in people who are depressed and can exacerbate or promote depression which may already be present.
When you are constantly thinking negatively about yourself, or fundamentally have negative views of yourself, you are biased to interpret negative outcomes as evidence of our shortcomings. That is when you are likely to start criticising yourself and give unwanted importance to your shortcomings. This affects the depressed mind to a greater extent and worsens the condition. Self-criticism basically gives more power to depression.
Depressed or not, a lot of us don’t even realize that we are thinking negatively. It seems to us that we are just reacting to the events in our lives, but actually our negative thinking may be creating those events in our lives, at least some extent. First, the thinking becomes negative, and then the events become negative. And now the question is HOW?
Well, every thought that we have is recorded by our subconscious mind. And the truth is that the subconscious mind doesn’t even check the validity of our thoughts. It literally takes our word for it. So, if you say, for example, “I am a failure” then your subconscious mind accepts it and gives it back to you saying– Yes, you are a failure, and then your thoughts are accurately recorded. Your subconscious mind then communicates directly with the quantum mind that manifests your reality. Just like the subconscious mind, the quantum mind always says yes (Quora, 2017).
Our thoughts basically create our reality, to a point. If we have negative thoughts every day, then those thoughts are going to manifest. Negativity grows. In terms of the connection of your negative thoughts with depression, it is extremely difficult to beat the battle of depression unless you overcome your negative thoughts and change your thought patterns. This is not necessarily easy, and this is one reason why we have trained therapists to help us, such as those trained in CBT, and branches of CBT such as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy. CBT challenges distorted thinking. It helps put things into perspective. It helps us to stop thinking negatively about ourselves.
Many times, these negative thoughts are caused by anxiety. Until you get your anxiety in check, you cannot get rid of them. The more you try to fight, the worse it gets. That is a bit like OCD too, the more you try to fight off thoughts, the stringer they come back. That’s why you need to get into a mindset that recognizes that negative thoughts are a normal part of anxiety, and are something that says nothing about you as a person. It
can be stressful having a negative thought, but it’s more stressful if you try to fight that thought away when your anxiety is pulling it back.
If you want to change your life and become more positive, you must change your thinking. If you wait for your life to change, in order to change your thinking, you will be over-flowing with negative thoughts forever. “If you’re tired of listening to harsh and negative judgments about yourself, it’s time to change the dial.” This can go a long way to recovery.
Best regards, Paul Inglis.
Miller, A. R. & Shelly, S. (2000). The complete idiots guide to personality profiles. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books.
Quora. (2017). Why is my thinking always negative? Retrieved October 31, 2018, from https://www.quora.com/Why-is-my-thinking-always-negative
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