How to Stop Self Defeating Thoughts


I never thought I’d be a writer much less write a book. I knew how to write essay’s in high-school, and I’m fairly good at grammar, but although that’s real nice, it doesn’t make someone a good writer. There have been times on this journey of mine that I’ve almost given up. Sitting down at my silver laptop and writing words that I knew were there, have at times felt impossible. And that led to self-doubt, name calling, and uncertainty. I guess you could say that I’m pretty bad at letting self-defeating thoughts overwhelm my brain.

It’s something that I have to work at almost daily.

Here are examples of other thoughts I’ve had lately:

  • I don’t think she likes me.
  • I can’t do this.
  • This makes me look so fat.
  • I hate my face.
  • I’m not good enough to do this.
  • I wish I was more (fill in the blank)
  • I’m a terrible Mom.

I’m just being real.  And those are only SOME of the negative thoughts that float around in my brain, or maybe those are the only one’s I’ll divulge.

Oh, I don’t tell you that for your sympathy. I only tell you because I trust you. And I also trust that there are times that you, too, feel this way.

The truth is, self-defeating thoughts will come. They shouldn’t, but let’s be honest; they will come because we are human. The important thing is to recognize them and fight against them. Rather than thinking all of the thoughts above, we should make a conscience effort to change our thinking.

But, for now I’d like to offer something different. All of those thoughts I mentioned above had to do with “I,” didn’t they?




It’s pretty much all about me, huh?

This is pride to the ‘nth degree, wouldn’t you agree? And wow, do I feel small about right now.

Self defeat is a mask for pride.

Self-defeat is a mask for pride. #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

Don’t you see?

P-R-I-D-E. Let’s define it.

PRIDE: a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

You see, I can prance around all day with my kazoo’s and blow-outs in celebration of my pitty party, or I can recognize it for what it is, which is honestly a full blown gala of nothing but pride.

Because it isn’t all about me. No, not at all.

The minute those prideful thoughts start rearing their ugly heads, we have to stop them.

How to Overcome Self Defeating Thoughts

How do we change our self defeating thoughts?

Pray. Prayer changes things, and we need to change our thoughts, right? So pray. And sometimes doesn’t prayer seem like the “easy” answer?

I’m glad you agree.

Because it is.

It’s easy. 

It’s one of the most simplest things that Jesus Christ taught his disciples before He went to Heaven, so why do we make it so difficult?

Specifically, pray Philippians 4:8. (Thanks, Paul.)

Finally, my dear sister, fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.noble, —think about things like this that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re thinking; that’s the problem, nothing is excellent or praiseworthy where I’m concerned. Oh, friend, I get you. But here’s the thing. If we look at Philippians 4:8 and think about how Jesus Christ literally embodies what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable and noble, then it’s a no-brainer, right? We realize that it isn’t about us! Not one, single, bit!

Basically, when those negative, self-defeating thoughts come, we focus on Jesus Christ, who is all of these things found in Philippians 4:8. Jesus lives in me, therefore I can combat those ugly thoughts because of HIM. It’s about Him, not me. And, really, it’s just that simple.

I’d sure love to hear your thoughts, friends. Do you struggle with negative or self defeating thoughts? Can you call them for what they are, pride?


  1. Merlisa says:

    That is so true. I’ve been feeling like am not worth it and am not doing anything with my life. But yesterday I spoke to my mom and she encouraged me. Pray truly works. And it’s surely not about us but ALL about Him our savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for the encouragement also.😊

    • Shannon says:

      I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling this way, Merlisa! But, I’m SO glad you spoke to your Mom! Yes, prayer truly does work. Blessings to you my friend:-)

  2. So good Shannon and just what I needed to hear today! I appreciate your thoughts on this particular situation! Love you! 🙂

  3. Yes! Turning our pity parties into preaching parties with God’s truth front and center. I’m so guilty of self-defeating thoughts, fearful and anxious ones too, but leaning into God is the quickest remedy. It’s hard to be negative when our eyes our fixed on Him. Such great encouragement, friend. Hugs!

    • Shannon says:

      It’s amazing how those thoughts get shot down every time when we turn to God, Tiffany. It’s really so easy!!! Now, if we’ll just do it!

  4. I too have struggled with negative and self-defeated thoughts. I had actually never thought of it as pride, but you are so right that it is! Now, I know that I can’t allow those thoughts in because they tend to literally paralyze me from doing anything. I find that the importance of speaking the Word of God over ourselves in those moments is huge.

  5. Amen! It’s replacing those lies with God’s truth! Realizing those lies, as real as they seem, don’t define us. It truly is about Him and NOT US!!

  6. dawn says:

    This is so true! Prayer will stop those self-defeating thoughts like nothing else. I REALLY struggled with these types of thoughts when I was writing my own book. It’s a vulnerable, “put yourself out there” kind of process and it needs to be covered in prayer. Thank you for sharing this encouragement. I’m praying for you, friend!

  7. Lianna says:

    This is something that I’ve struggled with for so long (and still am struggling). But yes, thoughts of self-defeat really is a prideful issue which is something I never realized. If we don’t get to the root of the problem, thoughts of self-defeat will cause us to miss God’s purpose in our lives! Thank you so much for sharing some insights on how to battle self-defeating thoughts!

  8. Melanie Redd says:

    What a great word, Shannon!
    I love this part, “Pray. Prayer changes things, and we need to change our thoughts, right? So pray.”
    I’m sharing this one today so others can be encouraged as well!
    Sure do appreciate you~

  9. Shelvi shah says:

    I do like your motivational thought.
    But when i have negative thoughts like “i can’t do that” , “i am fat” , “i dont know what to do” , etc. kind of thoughts , i am unable change them to positive – with a prayer. If i think positive or start praying , i just start crying. Those big tears comes in my eyes instantly. I don’t know why 😔
    Actually , i want to share something. I hope you will guide me through.
    Being frank, i completed with my graduation(,2 years back,with a KT in 1 semester. I cleared that, but i am still without bachelor’s certificate. I am very lazy & i dont like to go alone at some crowded places, like university of here. They are very rude.
    With that degree course, i was doing diploma in fashion designing,but i left that course after completing half and wasted my father’s money. I left that coz i got a strong feeling that ‘i cant do this,its not for my kind people’. Thereafter i did mehendi course , i am quite well in this then all other things i do,but sadly i left that too, thinking that ‘i am not good as them in this’ and again wasted my father’s money.
    I don’t want to study in commerce ahead coz its out of my understansing power.
    After that, i did pearl stringing diploma course , that too with comparatively high cost, and i am not that good at it but my parents and all say that you are doing well and should go ahead. But i dont feel that i am good at it. And now i am doing nothing , just sitting at home being lazy.
    All those negative thoughts which come across my mind are actually the truth – that’s what i feel.
    My parents and some relatives & friend have encouraged me lots of time but i feel i can’t do it.
    My friend suggested me to teach in a school with her, but that also goes with a backward thought that “i can’t do it,and what if i can’t complete the syllabus? or what if i teach thosr students something wrong?”..
    Please do help me ,what should i do ?
    I don’t want to waste my father’s money.
    And i don’t have much time,as i have wasted lots of time in thinking what to do..
    And my family are now searching for good guy for my arranged marraige..
    Do help me.
    And i felt that you are a perfect person to share with and get guidance..
    Sorry for this much long comment and wasting your time in reading my comment(if you read).

    • Shannon says:

      Sweet Shelvi, I’m so sorry you are going through all of this. First of all, you are NOT wasting my time! I want to point you to God. The way to Him is through Jesus, prayer and the bible! You are beautiful, you are His daughter, and you ARE a princess. Until you can grasp on to that, Shelvi, things won’t change for you. God made you. He has a plan and a purpose for you! HE BELIEVES IN YOU, SO YOU SHOULD BELIEVE IN YOU. You can do ALL things through Christ because HE gives you strength! Rise up Shelvi! God has much work for you to do!!! Rise up girl, rise up!!

      • Shelvi shah says:

        Thank you so much for taking some time for me and replying me..
        Your reply is completely true..
        But still, i don’t have such self confidence to boost up myself..
        Guide me through some daily practice of changing my thoughts to positive ones.
        You know, you are the first stranger to whom ,i am sharing all my thoughts..
        Again thank you so very much. I feel good talking to you .. And hope for positive reply from you. I really want to change my thoughts

        • Shannon says:

          Sweet Shelvi- stay in the word, my friend…stay in the word. It’s our armor and our source! We all have self-defeating thoughts- you are not alone, friend. Feel free to comment any time here!! I am praying for you today!

  10. Susan Green says:

    Thanks Shannon, you have been reading my mail. LOL. I speak the same negative thoughts and then some, I pray, the thoughts subside but it seems they come back shortly. I love Philippians 4:8; as you said above I keep the focus on me, and I am always from some of them. Now when I pray this scripture I will focus on Jesus.

    • Shannon says:

      Hey there Susan! I’ve been reading my own mail, too! Eeek! Honestly we all go through times like this- but we have the benefit of having God’s word. It’s all we need!

  11. Christina Blaney says:

    This was on target for me. I’ve been reading and studying about pride and haughtiness the last couple of months. I just finished reading “Humility” by Andrew Murray.

    My life coach has encouraged me to do this study. Her & I have been talking about my self abuse. I think lowly of myself.

    I never thought about the “I” in my statements. Some of mine are:
    “I” do everything wrong.
    “I” am not pretty.
    “I” am not wanted.
    “I” am overweight.
    These are just a few.

    I have been taught that I must use God’s Word to battle Satan’s lies. I’m trying really hard to do that. I’m also trying to go into my prayer closet and cry out to the Lord. It’s NOT easy, but I’m doing better.

    I would like to encourage other women to learn what God says. We can write it on a post it. Put it on our bathroom mirror, on our steering wheel, on the fridge. We can put it just about everywhere. We just need to make sure we can see it. We MUST be armed with the sword of the Spirit each and every second of every day.

    I thank God that He used you as a vessel to speak truth in my life. I will continue to seek humility instead of pride and haughtiness.

    • Shannon says:

      Wow Christina- you are so self-aware. Praise the Lord that you have sought counseling via a life coach. You are a blessing to many, no doubt! Thank you for your words of encouragment to others and for stopping by! xoxoxox

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