In the next few blogs, we’re going to examine a few cognitive approaches that people often utilize but are actually detrimental to their lives. Here’s a few examples of these ways of thinking:
“I never do anything right, and even if something happens to work out, it’s just luck.”
“People never like me.”
“I just know that this isn’t going to work out well.”
“She’s thinking that I’m an idiot.”
While we all engage in these types of thinking from time to time, if this typifies your approach to life, it can be quite damaging to yourself, let alone your job, family and future success in life.
So what do we do? It starts with the idea of metacognitions: thinking about thinking. We often assume that whatever we’re thinking is logical and makes sense. But does it? Let’s look at that last statement:
“She’s thinking I’m an idiot.”
If we examine that thought, do I have any evidence for that?
- Is she scowling at me?
- What’s my relationship like her in general?
- Is she this way just with me, or with everyone else?
- Has she ever said anything that would indicate she thinks negatively of me?
- Most importantly, do I have ESP and the capability to read minds (how do I know what she’s actually thinking)?
This isn’t to detract that I might feel that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. We need to examine our thinking to see if it makes sense. If it does, then we act on that as true information. If it’s not, we have to let it go, regardless of how I feel about it.
Very often we aren’t using real information, but how we feel about something to make our decisions. In the next post in this series week we’ll examine emotional reasoning.