Do any of these sound like anyone you know?
Filtering – Taking the negative details and magnifying them while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation.
Try instead: Identify the positive aspects of a situation. Keep the negative aspects in realistic proportion.
Polarized thinking – Things are either black or white, good or bad. There is no middle ground. You have to be perfect or you’re a failure.
Try instead: Look for the middle ground. Give yourself alternatives besides the extremes. Accept that you are worthwhile even if you’re not perfect.
Overgeneralization – You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again.
Try instead: Be specific. Avoid using words like “always, never, all, none, every.” Limit statements to what actually happened.
Mind reading – Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to define how people are feeling toward you.
Try instead: Ask others what they think, feel, want, or need. Tell others what you think, feel, what, or need.
Catastrophizing – You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start the “What if’s?” “What if tragedy strikes?” “What if it happens to me?”
Try instead: Focus on the present reality. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen, and what you can do to prevent it. Use your energy for what you CAN do. Let go of what you cannot control.
Personalization – Thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who’s smarter, better looking, more talented, etc.
Try instead: Keep in mind that most people are wrapped up in their own problems and there could be a thousand reasons why someone is acting the way they are. We tend to judge others by their behavior, while we judge ourselves by our intentions. It’s not always about you.
Control fallacies – If you feel externally controlled, you see yourself as a helpless victim of fate. The fallacy of internal control has you responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you.
Try instead: Remember, the only person you can control is YOU.
Fallacy of fairness – You feel resentful because you think you know what’s fair but other people won’t agree with you.
Try instead: Speak directly to the person involved in the situation. Ask for cooperation. If a situation cannot be changed, remember life isn’t fair. What is fair to one person may not be fair to another.
Blaming – You hold other people responsible for your pain, or take the other tack by blaming yourself for every problem.
Try instead: Others may have an impact on you. You may have an impact on others. What you choose to do in response to that impact is up to you. You decide whether to be miserable.
Shoulds – You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act. People who break the rules anger you and you feel guilty if you violate the rules.
Try instead: When you think “should,” ask yourself “Who says?” Do you agree? If yes, say “I would like to” rather than “I (or you) should.” If you don’t agree, try to let it go.
Emotional reasoning – You believe that what you feel must be true, automatically. If you feel stupid and boring, then you must be stupid and boring.
Try instead: What you feel comes from what you think. If your thinking is unrealistic, your feelings will be unrealistic too. If you feel bad, it doesn’t necessarily mean the situation is bad. Remember, your thinking could be distorted.
Fallacy of change – You expect that other people will change to suit you if you just pressure or cajole them enough. You need to change people because your hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely upon them.
Try instead: Remember, you can change only your own actions.
Global labeling – You generalize one or two qualities into a negative global judgment.
Try instead: Because you or someone else make mistakes does not mean you or they are all bad. Watch out for generalizations like “always” and “never.” Remind yourself of good things you or others have done.
Heaven’s reward fallacy – You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if there is someone keeping score. You feel bitter when the reward doesn’t come.
Try instead: Give when you are really willing to give. Get your needs met in the present.
Being right – You are continually on trial to prove that your opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any length to demonstrate your rightness.
Try instead: Accept that it is natural to make mistakes. Being right doesn’t mean you’re a better person. Affirm that you are worthwhile just the way you are.