Thinking Errors

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

Marilyn Monroe

Everyone unconsciously follows thinking errors that much of the population are unaware off. These patterns may seem logical to you but from a third party perspective can see it as irrational and often have a negative effect on your own personal mental health.

Black or White Thinking: This is when you can only see a situation as good or bad there is no gray area. This can lead to rash assumptions or decisions, based on an assumed answer that in your mind can only have two outcomes. One way to visualize this thought process, is as if you were looking through stained glass window altering your perspective on life.

Filtering Out The Positive: An example of this would be like if you were to have a good day but one thing went wrong or didn’t go to plan. This occurrence would stand out in the persons’ head to the point it would ruin or consume all the person’s thoughts.

Self Sacrifice:  The action of putting other people’s needs before your own, in a detrimental way. People with this filter will feel a sense of guilt when they pay attention to their own needs. In order to avoid this guilt they put other people’s needs before their own. This can lead to a sense of resentment as those with the filter may place blame for their own needs not being met, as they feel like they have to take care of someone.

Unrelenting Standards:  This is the idea that anything you do is never good enough for yourself or anyone else. You have excessively high standards that you can never meet in order to avoid being criticized by others. This can lead to the person being very self critical and feel an overwhelming pressure to always be doing something productive.

It is important to allow people to understand these filters to give you and others the ability to catch themselves in the action. This enables you to question your thinking and it gives you an opportunity to take control of your own thoughts and feelings.  It will help you build up a new perspective on life and will allow you to empathize with others around you.

This information was adapted from Cognitive Therapy for Personality disorders: A scheme-Focused Approach by J.E Young, 1999.

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