I once knew someone who always assumed the worst. No one was ever trustworthy. If her kids went on a canoe trip, they were going to drown. If a stranger struck up a conversation in the grocery store, she just knew the person had an agenda and it wasn’t good. If a supervisor said something about her work, she knew she was going to get fired any minute. There always had to be someone to blame. Nothing happened by accident; someone had to have caused her suffering. At the same time, she constantly criticized herself. She never measured up to her own expectations. The rare times she noticed something good in her life, she quickly dismissed it, telling herself it couldn’t be true or surely it wouldn’t last. She was isolated and miserable.
To be sure, she had been through a lot of pain in her life. At the same time, however, she suffered more because of the “lessons” she had learned from the pain. From her experiences, she learned not to trust anyone. In fact, some people are trustworthy and others are not. Some individuals are trustworthy in some ways but not in others. Her thinking was faulty. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) calls these faulty ways of thinking “cognitive distortions.”
Do you let negative thoughts impact your whole day? Maybe you had thoughts like, “I’m such a jerk,” or, “All we do is fight”, after fighting with a significant other. Statements like these are common reactions to scenarios in our lives, but they are inaccurate and distort the way we see ourselves and the world around us.
The world sometimes gives us a distorted view of itself. Somedays, it fills us up with lots of negative experiences, serves us tons of horrible encounters with different people and heart aching disappointments but we can’t let those things build up a distorted view of ourselves, kids, friends, occupation, neighbors and everyone around us.
When you think about your life, it is quite possible that your mind is playing tricks on you that can distort your view. Its quite possible its mingling with your thoughts which can change your views of certain issues.
You cant let a past problem distort your present solution, you can’t let your past experience distort your present encounter, you cant let your past mistakes distort your present life.
Do you find yourself always magnifying your problems? Making your problems seem bigger than they may be in reality? The real fact behind this is that it always ends up the way your distorted mind pictures it. Whenever we magnify our problems, they definitely become larger and act intensely on us.
Do you always overgeneralize issues or people? You heard about a couple of kids who died in a plane crash on their way to an excursion and you generalize all excursions to be deadly, all excursions to always result In a crash. Do you know what thats gonna do to you? Its gonna limit you, limit your visions and your life.
Do you always filter every event to see the negative side? Ten positive things happen alongside two negative things but you notice and filter the two things that went wrong. Do you always disqualify the positive events and treat them like flukes? Do you know what that does to you? It makes you cling to a more negative worldview which makes you set lower expectations for the future.
Do you always jump into conclusions without evidence? Do you always ignore the evidence and seek negative thoughts to back you up on your conclusion? Do you know what that does to you? It makes you fall prey to mind reading. You see an individual and you completely believe she is gonna be rude, so you decide to ignore her. You are definitely gonna loose a lot of people in your life.
Do you always find yourself catastrophizing? You picture the worst, deadly scenario’s in your head and always plan ahead of them. As beneficial as it may seem, its quite stressful and hurts the head alot.
Do you often times label and mislabel people? “Oh,he is such a whiner” “I am such a useless person”. You will definitely place labels on yourself which are inaccurate or negative. It tends to contribute to one dimensional view of the world,paving way for overgeneralization. Do you know what that does to you? It cages you into a role and prevents you from seeing people the way they really are.
I was a victim of distortion. I really had a distorted mind even as a kid. While I was much younger, I always sat at the back of the school bus because I believed that an accident might occur and the back seat was safer if it comes from the front. I always believed that if I wasn’t topping the class, I was a failure. I remember this one incident that I cried for hours because I had 9 in a test and a certain veronica had 10. At that time, I had a distorted view that she was better than I was and didn’t absorb the fact that I did better than most of my peers. While growing up, my mum noticed my distorted mindset and tried to fix me, guess what? It worked!!
I am going to feed you with some advice from the lessons I learnt. Try to avoid negativity and generalizing experiences. Try to see the positive among series of negative things. Its worth trying to see people the way they are, do not try to create scenario’s in your head because that might limit your life activities. Do not label yourself or others around you, see everyone as special as he or she is. Appreciate the little that comes your way and try to realize that you are privileged to receive certain favours. I know I have filled you up with lots of ideas to reverse a distorted mind so have a nice day and be positive!