Have you ever noticed, or wondered how could your beliefs be different from those of your siblings; even though you both were raised in the same environment and share the same genes?
Our minds have an automatic thought filter; they subconsciously accept and reject thoughts every moment of our daily life. By unconsciously or consciously reiterating the thoughts we let in, they become deeply implanted into our psyche thus becoming part of what we consider our beliefs.
Many of these beliefs are facts, someone else’s thoughts, or results of our own experiences and resolutions. Some of what we consider beliefs might be beneficial for our growth, just as some other beliefs might be detrimental to it.
The impact of a certain belief on personal growth is also directly related to time. Many beliefs we pertain at a young age, become hindering our growth as we pass on to the next phase of life. This is why it is crucially important to always be aware of where we are, where we’re going and adjust our beliefs accordingly to succeed.
Cognitive distortion holds us back by letting us believe anything that sounds logical. The good news is that we can change any distorted thoughts simply by bringing awareness to them.
Here Are 5 Cognitive Distortions Most of Us Can Relate To
Overgeneralizing is the act of applying a general judgment, action or thought on to a particular individual or distinctive experience. It is when we tend to think by “all of” and “none of” that we fall into this loop, which in most cases is false.
This generalization makes the privately personal experiences distinguishing each person from the rest of the people on Earth lose their value. In truth, these experiences are each remarkably special because of their individuality and uniqueness.
For instance, when we hear someone who’s not married and not even thinking about marriage stating a belief such as “there’s no such thing as a happy marriage” or when someone who has never been in a relationship saying “men are unfaithful and women are dramatic.”
These preset and vaguely generic ideologies we choose to adopt as beliefs become part of our subconscious; therefore, affecting our day to day decisions and hindering our growth.
Labeling is the act of dividing, categorizing and sectioning people into groups.
It might be good to do this process with objects, such as a book on the shelve or spices in the cupboard; however, applying the concept of labeling onto people will make life bland as it deprives each person of being their true character.
Some examples of labeling can be believing that chubby people are kind, or that foreigners can be fooled easily. Foreigners are not a different species of humans, after all, when we travel abroad, we all become foreigners.
Seriously, are we basing a whole persons’ character onto their appearance or where they are originally from?
This type of sectioning makes us judge people and situations by pertaining predicaments which turn out to be faulty most of the time. Labeling is never accurate. When we choose to keep our minds open to learning and perceiving the people we’re dealing with from an adequate angle to them, life becomes much more pleasant.
I believe self-categorization is the most severe cognitive distortion of all.
It is when we identify to be in a certain way and believe it to the point that we limit our capabilities and hinder our growth.
Sometimes, we could be subconsciously identifying as something which is the opposite of who we truly are. As a result of such negative self-belief, we start belittling ourselves by believing to be less than who we truly are.
No matter what awful thoughts we might have about ourselves when we give ourselves the chance to change perspective; we’ll come to understand we’re all human. Most of what we think about ourselves is highly unlikely to be true.
Every time we repeat something to ourselves about ourselves our minds starts to believe it and implement it as a real thing. This process is valid for the negative affirmations as well as the positive ones.
Martyrdom is when we awfulize the image of ourselves or events occurring in our lives.
Instead of focusing on what we come out with from experiences in life; awfulizing makes us give more attention to how uneasy the experience was.
What we give attention to we give life to and by believing we are victims of a person or a situation we tend to make ourselves fit in the position of victims. By giving others or the situation power over us we make ourselves become victims.
Once this process is frequently repeated, we start believing that there will never be hope for us to grow and improve.
Blaming (that of the self or others) is the unconscious act of disassociating from the responsibility we have towards a situation or someone; instead accusing our lack of responsibility on others, circumstances, environment or anything external.
This unconscious reaction prevents us from admitting and accepting our mistakes in order to learn and grow.
For instance, one might think there’s no future living in Egypt as the system is corrupt.
Well, from a different perspective I would say that just as there is corruption in a country, there are people who built legacies as well. It is not the country that restricts someone of becoming who they truly believe they could be, it is their own limiting thoughts that do.
The list could go on endlessly, however, I chose the above-mentioned examples based on what I frequently come across in my daily life. When I find myself facing such responses from myself or others, I always work on shifting my attention to how beautiful and powerfully mysterious our minds are.
We just need to learn how and what to adopt as a thought in order for life to become a magical experience.
Go ahead and share this article with your friends to open their minds to new horizons. Remember to stay in tune for future eye-opening reads.