Self Defeating Beliefs (SDBs)

by Jim on October 16, 2013

Self Defeating Beliefs are simply the LIES that we tell ourselves. They are the lies that tell us…

  • I can’t 
  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not worthy
  • I’m crap/scum/etc…
  • I won’t make it
  • It won’t get better

These are all lies that we tell ourselves. I know I’ve told myself many of these. They were so ingrained that I became a psychotherapist to literally re-train my brain…to know the truth about me: That I’m whole and complete.

get that the “whole and complete” belief is way out there for many of us…I know it used to be way out there for me, too. When I see clients and just people in general, that’s the vision I try to hold. Do I hold it all the time? Fuck no. When I’m in therapy with someone, though, that’s exactly what I see, and ironically enough, that’s what my client’s don’t see.

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen person after person after person with these lies that they tell themselves. And each has their own story as to how these beliefs got ingrained in their psyche. And it’s within our stories that, it’s my belief, that we need to go.

After all, don’t you question who told you these things in the first place? Because many times what you’ve been told about you wasn’t about you, but was about the person who told you these lies. So for you, who was it? Was it your mom, your dad, you uncle, your aunt? Did they tell your directly, or were they back handed messages?

Think about it. The messages that we receive when we’re kids…by 10 years old, that’s 10 years of messages at least, and 18 years if we haven’t left the home yet. When we’re 10 years old, our brains can’t defend against the messages that we’re stupid, that we just won’t get it, we’re not smart enough, or we’ll never amount to anything.

Like I’ve mentioned, many if not most of the times…it’s the person telling us those messages that feels these things within themselves. The screwed up thing is that they project these lies onto us as children. So if dad said to you that you’d never amount to anything, it’s super possible that that’s exactly what your father thinks of himself.

The thing is, as I said earlier, our little brains can’t defend against this. Why not? Because we were kids. You see, our brains aren’t fully developed till about 25 for women/about 26 for men. So when we take in these lies, we take them in without processing whether or not the message is accurate or true.

THEN what happens is that I no longer need my mom, dad, aunt, uncle, etc…to tell me these things. Why not? Because now I’ve learned to tell myself the lies that they once told me. Their voices are now ingrained as my own. In Therapy Land, these are called Self Defeating Beliefs, and that they are. They are stopping you, defeating you from taking your very next step you YOUR goal, to YOUR ambition, to YOUR dream.


What I tell my clients is what I’m now about to tell you. Your brain CAN re-wire itself. This is called  “Brain Plasticity,” which means that the brain, our brains, YOUR brain has the ability to re-route the very misunderstandings you have about yourself, and come to a different conclusion. A conclusion that you ARE enough. That you CAN do it. That you ARE worthy.

It all starts with the simplest frackin’ things. What simple things? Say nice things to you. Say nice things about you. For those of you who are isolating and just not connected. Mark it down as a WIN if you’ve showered, if you’ve brushed your teeth, if you got out of bed.

Regardless of what the thing is, mark it down as a win if you do something you set out to do, or even if you’ve done something towards getting that something done. No, don’t beat yourself up for not getting the thing done, focus on the part of the thing that you did get done.

Focus on any single thing/action/event that you consider a positive thing, a good thing. Whether you did it, or you saw it happen, mark that as a WIN. Then start keeping a list of WINS. Include the things that are so mundane that you don’t even think about them.

I’ll leave you with one of the things that really was a noticeable WIN for me. I remember SOOO many times when I’d be leaving to go someplace and I forgot my phone. When I first started noticing this pattern, I was judging me to no end. Inside I was beating myself up considerably. Ultimately I’d be late, and I’d be talking myself down all the way to the event.

Fast forward to now. IF I forget my phone (my wallet, whatever), I no longer beat myself up, but I say to myself: “Good catch.” “Good catch! I’m glad I caught that before I got too far. Well done. ”

The  result of the brain re-wiring is increased confidence, hope, and over all life satisfaction. It works.

So start.


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