Nobody likes to be lied to. Am I right? We want people to be honest with us. If someone lies to us, how can we trust them? Well…I am going to be honest with you and tell you that it is very possible that you have been lying to yourself. Really???
We don’t call it a lie, in counselling a better word might be “a distortion”, but it is really the same as lie. So many of us do it on a daily basis, multiple times a day and we really don’t know we are doing it. Because we don’t know we are doing it, we believe it and accept it. Counselling is a good place to discover what distortions we have formed over the years and with a little help we can learn to replace the distortion with truth.
Part I of Ten Common Distortions that are commonly used.
- Negative Filters
This is when we regularly put a negative spin on things. It may be about our appearance, our accomplishments, our performance at work, etc. Some people never feel like they measure up. They don’t receive a compliment very well because we don’t believe we deserve it and withdraw.
- Dismiss the Positive
This happens when we believe that any positive experience is just a fluke and that good things really don’t happen to you. If someone gives you a compliment, you think they likely don’t really mean it or they want something from you.
- All or Nothing Thinking
All or nothing thinking tends to use “always” or “never”. Like, “I never win” or “I always lose”. All or nothing thinking may also dismiss when we don’t do something as well as we hoped. We feel like a failure because we don’t measure up to our own standards.
“I didn’t get an A on that last test so I guess I am just not very smart”. People that overgeneralize look for things to convince themselves that everything will go wrong or that everything is awful. Listening or watching the news may draw some people into this type of thinking.
- Quick Conclusion (Mind Reading and Predictions)
In many situations this type of thinking can lead you to quickly jumping to a negative conclusion; “I can tell people are staring at me”, “I just know they are going to say no to my invitation” or “I’ll bet I will not get this job”.
As I mentioned earlier, we have probably all thought in a way that may be described above. It doesn’t make us bad, it makes us human. The goal is to hopefully become more aware of our thoughts so that we can truthful and/or realistically live our lives to the fullest and not be held back by our own distorted thinking. Getting someone to help you navigate through your thoughts is a great first step. Be watching for Part II!