How to Use Thought Disputation to Improve Self-Esteem

July 7, 2019 Martha Lueck

What is thought disputation? Who should try it? How does thought disputation work? To learn more about the benefits of thought disputation and how to practice it, read this article.

Why I Need to Practice Thought Disputation

When negative thoughts arise, we often take them at face value with a passive attitude. But if we try to dispute negative thoughts, our thoughts about ourselves or a situation could change immensely.

I repeatedly heard the term thought disputation from my therapist. He noticed that most of the things I said about myself were negative. I said that I was stupid, ugly, and hopeless. I truly believed these thoughts, and they were very unhealthy. These thoughts sabotaged my self-esteem and interrupted my ability to live up to my full potential.

What Does Thought Disputation Look Like?

My therapist challenged me to use thought disputation and dispute the truth of my negative thoughts. So I wrote down the following disputations.

  • Even though I am not smart in every subject, that is okay. I am knowledgeable with computers and good at communication.
  • I earned my college degree. Therefore, I must be somewhat smart.
  • I do not think I look attractive because I spend too much time comparing my appearance to that of others. If I stop comparing myself, I will see my own beauty.
  • I have felt hopeless before, but I still made accomplishments. I will continue to accomplish new things in the future. Therefore, I am not hopeless.

Writing about how my thoughts were not true helped a little bit, but it did not change my desire to be better. So I disputed my thoughts even further by thinking about their worth. I wrote the following disputations.

  • Even though I would like to be smarter, it is not necessary. I am a hard worker and an enthusiastic learner. Those attributes are enough.
  • Even though I would like to look really pretty, it is not the most important thing. My character can help me stand out.
  • Even though I would like to have accomplished more things in my life by now, my life is a work in progress. I continue to learn and grow every day.

Dispute Your Own Thoughts

Was there ever a time when someone in your life told you that you were too hard on yourself? If so, what thoughts went through your mind? Try to recall some negative thoughts that you can dispute. Identifying thoughts to dispute is the first step to create a new perspective about yourself and life in general.

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2019, July 7). How to Use Thought Disputation to Improve Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Martha Lueck

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Lizanne Corbit
July, 7 2019 at 8:55 pm

Dispute your thoughts - love this. It can also be thought of as questioning your thoughts. This is something Byron Katie talks about, and I just love it. It's such a powerful way to hit the brakes, shift perspective, and take back control over the emotions. Great post.

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