Top 5 Self-Defeating Thoughts and How to Delete Them


You know that sneaky, annoyingly reliable voice in your head that has an uncanny ability to talk you out of doing that thing you’ve always longed to do? You’re not alone. That voice is a universal part of the human psyche commonly referred to in psychology as the Inner Critic. It’s also been called “Gremlin,” “Saboteur,” “Judge,” “Committee”… you get the picture. The purpose of the Inner Critic is to maintain the status quo. It wants you to believe that it’s keeping you safe but the Inner Critic brand of “safety” is the self-defeating kind. It holds you back when you try to go forward. Reliably, the bigger the leap, the louder the critic. It has a seemingly endless supply of reasons for why whatever plan you have in mind is stupid, dangerous, hopeless, or otherwise ill-advised. It’s particularly adept at taking a small piece of the truth and fabricating it into the blanket reason for stopping, or never starting.

The good news is, The Inner Critic doesn’t have to run your life. You get to choose whether to listen to it or not. The key is to start noticing when it shows up. To help you identify when The Inner Critic is present, here are five of the most common self-defeating critic-messages to look out for:

1. “I’m not enough”

Read: I’m not smart enough, skinny enough, outgoing enough, young enough, old enough, creative enough, strong enough, etc. This is a limiting belief that does not serve you.

2. “I’m too much”

Read: I’m too fat, ugly, emotional, needy, etc. Again, a limiting belief that does not serve you.

3. “Should”

Stop using this word immediately. That goes for conversations AND emails! It’s a disempowering word that implies you need fixing. Newsflash: you are not broken.

4. “I have to” and “I need to”

I call these “backdoor shoulds.” They are equally disempowering, implying that you are not at choice.

5. “Yes but” and “What if”

These are both arguments for why whatever it is that you want can’t happen. The reality is, they don’t actually prepare you for what shows up. They are ways to deflect.

Pay attention to when these words and phrases pop up for you. Better yet, drop each one from your vocabulary altogether! Play with using different words to articulate what’s going on and notice what happens when you choose something different. Instead of using “should”, try “will” or “won’t”. Instead of “have to / need to” try “want to / choose to.”


“I have to go to the gym because I look fat.”


“I want to go to the gym because it makes me feel strong.”

Notice the impact? Disempowered vs. Empowered.

You are ALWAYS stronger, smarter, and more resourceful than your Inner Critic would have you believe. Tune in to notice when it shows up. When it does, change the channel.

Shine on,


Gina Restani