Negative and Positive Self-Beliefs: A Useful List

06 Aug 2017


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Scroll through these two lists of Negative and Positive Self-Beliefs. Do you find that you beat yourself up by thinking any of these things far too often? And do you also experience good, life-affirming feelings not nearly often enough?

Unfortunately for people who have depression and low self-esteem, addictions, and other mental health problems, feeling negative about yourself tends to become a day-to-day norm. And just as unfortunately, having an ingrained set of quality, loving positive beliefs can seem pretty foreign.
​​Here’s the big problem. These types of Negative Beliefs (and a lack of healthy Positives) manifest in our adult lives as depression, poor coping skills, alcoholism, addictions, and self-destructive behaviors.

Far too often these beliefs, both the positives and the negatives, have their origins in a painful or abusive childhood. Maybe your parents told you that you would never amount to anything? Or perhaps they made you believe that you were inherently no-good?

Somewhere deep inside, I just know I’m not good enough.

Then there’s those positive, life-optimistic people that we all know. They look at themselves and effortlessly think, I am strong, I can succeed, and I deserve good things. We all wish we could be like this.

And one of the problems with wishing for these sorts of Positive Beliefs is that while you may WANT to believe them about yourself, it is so hard to accept them as a reality. There’s always that voice in the back of your head telling you that you’re just fooling yourself.

Negative and Positive Cognitions (Beliefs) like these are a typical part of any EMDR Therapy session. The idea is that by processing your beliefs (cognitions) with EMDR, your brain starts to automatically reject those painful negative self-beliefs and automatically replaces them with healthy positive ones.

These two lists are from the website of EMDR Therapist Edy Nathan MA, LCSW. She has some great articles on her blog about EMDR Therapy, women’s issues, addiction, and the treatment of grief.

And if you want to learn more about self-administered at-home EMDR Therapy, the Virtual EMDR Videos page is a good place to start. Have a look at the video called “So What Exactly is EMDR?” 

EMDR Eye Movement Therapy is used on things like depression, low self-esteem, addictive behaviors, PTSD, and managing grief and loss. 

So look through the lists and ask yourself (and please share honestly for the benefit of others), which of these Negatives reflect how you (unfortunately) really feel about yourself? And which of the Positives do you wish you felt instead?






View Comments

Georgia Inglis · 19 Jun 2018

Took EMDR therapy for a year and after reading both lists -/+ I realize How I've jumped from neg. to pos....but more work is needed to strengthened what I've experience. It was the most difficult and intense year but now I see the most successful and rewarding...luved your page


Jessica Netti · 19 Jun 2018

Karen, Thank you for sharing that, I could relate to all of it. You went through some bad storms but came out strong on the other side. I suffered from addiction also childhood trauma. But not a victim anymore! Jess


Karen · 19 Jun 2018

It gets easier! I'm 40 and it's take me 5 years of divorce and also addiction recovery and childhood insecurities to move to the positive list! The responsibility section should be bigger. The more you face the mistakes you made and realize you can't Changes others the more you become able to love yourself


Terra · 19 Jun 2018

I am an adult child if an alcoholic. With that said I've been diagnosed with ptsd. And I'm working on getting into recovery from substance abuse. I have all those negative things shown on your website. I hope that I can remember to at least remember the positive stuff, I can only imagine how good my life would be.


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