Here are 3 irrational beliefs (cognitive distortions) that we need to watch out for and fix since they can lead to lower self-esteem and have a negative impact on our everyday interactions.
Always being right – When an individual often puts on a trial other people’s opinions and actions to prove that they are right. They struggle with the irrational belief that being wrong is unacceptable, and they go to any length to validate their argument.
What to do: Practice the Cost-Benefit Analysis Technique to list the advantages and disadvantages of this behavior. Ask yourself, how does it make you feel, and what are you gaining with an inappropriate attitude. This method examines the underlying motivation, which encourages you to be sensitive and attuned with your noble intentions. In other words, the practice improves emotional intelligence which plays an important role in our interpersonal relationships.
Personalization involves taking everything personally or blaming yourself or someone else for an issue that was out of control, and a variety of factors played a role in it. Also, this distortion drives the person to compare itself to others to establish who is smart or attractive, etc.
What to do: Stop recounting the problem repeatedly to yourself or others, so that the toxic emotions are not reinforced—question what part you played in the outcome of the issue. Change the pattern, view error as an opportunity for self-improvement rather than failure. Question what role you played in the outcome of the problem. Be mindful of your tendency to taking things personally and blaming others. Do recognize that everyone has their own struggles and life story.
Emotional Reasoning is when you are looking for external causes for our feelings. For instance: “I am anxious, so I must be in danger.” “I feel judged; this means that people are judging me.”
What to do:
- Apply Double Standard Technique, instead of beating up on yourself mercilessly, pretend that you are talking to a friend with the same problem. Naturally, you will be more caring and practical. Try the same approach be a friend to yourself.
- Practice Socratic Method: question to expose contradictions in your thoughts and ideas. Put yourself in the hot seat and find holes in your beliefs. Under pressure with the use of critical thinking, reasoning, and logic, you will notice how a change in facts can change your perspective.
Hopefully, this piece and the previous posts have given you a solid understanding of irrational thoughts based on hidden assumptions that we can all experience at one time or another. Whether you are struggling with mental health or not, it is helpful to evaluate our thinking patterns now and then. Yes, the introspection, either by tackling the struggles on your own or seeking out CBT Therapy, is extremely valuable. It helps us live a productive life by patching up the negativity and building resilience.
Artwork by Maja Borowicz