1. People must love you or you will be miserable.

The truth of the matter is that nobody has to love you-not even your own mother. It would be nice if everybody did love you, but there are not guarantees that anybody will. Must is an absolute work which puts pressure on you to be perfect and to feel guilty if you're not. Your thoughts are telling you that you must do everything in your power to get people to love you or you will be a miserable person. This is an unrealistic goal.

2. Making mistakes is terrible.

The word "terrible" is a complete exaggeration. Making mistakes is inconvenient and human! You cannot learn from them if you think they are catastrophic. You only sink more deeply and spin your wheels trying to be "more perfect".

3. You are an awful human being.

This is another totally unrealistic thought. You are not an awful human being. You are the sum total of all your life experience. At times, you may have done some awful things during your life, but these things are not what you are.

4. It is terrible when things go wrong.

You may feel uncomfortable or anxious when things do not go as planned. But it is not "terrible". Life has lots of unpredictability. That's what makes it so fascinating. The word "terrible" again sets up a state of panic in your mind. The minute you start feeling how "terrible" everything is, you start feeling hopeless.

5. Your emotions can't be controlled.

This is untrue. "Can't" expresses helplessness. One way to control your emotions is to control self-defeating thoughts. These kind of thoughts can trigger destructive emotions.

6. You should really be worried about threatening situations.

According to the philosopher Plato, "Nothing in the affairs of men is worth worrying about". People who experience constant self-defeating thoughts tend to be chronic worriers. Being a good worrier is something you must practice and develop, because it is an acquired skill-you are not born with it. You don't have to be worried. You can be concerned. You can tell yourself that worrying accomplishes nothing. Threatening situations are uncomfortable but worrying about them only makes them worse.

7. Self-discipline is too hard to achieve.

"Too" is the key word here. Self-discipline can be very difficult at times, but it is not impossible to achieve. It takes perseverance and lots of repetitive and hard work. This statement is another example of how you set yourself up for failure which prevents you from making improvements.

8. You must depend upon other people.

There's that word "must" again, putting pressure on you to give up your independent thinking by always depending on others for what is "right", "wrong", "good", or "bad". Listen to yourself and learn to depend on yourself. Do not think that you are helpless and cannot do anything for yourself. You have intelligence and a good mind.

This statement is also an exaggeration in that it says, in effect , you must depend on others completely. True, you may need to lean on others now and then by asking their opinions. However, your decisions ultimately depend on you.

9. Your childhood must always affect you.

Yes, your childhood has much to do with who you are now, but it need not affect the way you run your life in the here-and-now. You can overcome the difficulties of your childhood. The first step is to recognize some of the things that happened in your childhood, forgive your parents and yourself for being less than perfect, and then go on with your life.

10. You just can't stand the way some people act.

Another exaggeration! Some of the things that people do and say will annoy you. Self-defeating thinking would have you believe that these people are the sum total of all their faults and annoying ways. You are expecting perfection from others.

You may think, sometimes, that you can't stand the way you act and perhaps respond negatively when others act in a way you find imperfect. Perceiving others as fearful, instead of "as attacking" you, will help you to treat them with gentleness and understanding.