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Ten Thinking Errors

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thinking errorsDo You Make These Ten Widespread Thinking Errors?

There are particular mindsets or points of view that can be counter-productive. These errors in thinking, especially if taken to the extreme, can inhibit the personal growth and development in relationships.

1. All or absolutely nothing pondering: You see items in extremes, everything is black or white. This can be evident or subtle, for instance saying 'He is always late, but I never get angry about it'. This mindset can be that of the perfectionist also. This thinking error is common amongst addicts.

2. Minimizing or catastrophizing: You exaggerate the relevance of modest issues. 'The whole meal was ruined since the desert was not served promptly.' Is this a catastrophe? An illustration of minimizing is taking a substantial problem or occasion and minimizing its value so it seems inconsequential. People often do this so as not to have to deal with uncomfortable feelings or consequences. It is a form of averting from discomfort and confrontation.

3. Overgeneralization: You get a single event and draw basic conclusions that it is universally true. If your date is late you say 'No guys/girls are ever on time'.

4. Minimizing or qualifying the optimistic: If an individual says you did well, you reply by saying 'I could have/should have done better'. These thinking errors are often a result of low self-confidence.

5. Jumping to conclusions: This is fairly self explanatory. You interpret events even though there are no definite facts that genuinely prove your conclusion. 'My boss didn't say Hi this morning, I am in huge trouble.' 'My girlfriend is not at home, she's cheating on me.'

6. Thoughts reading: Couples are usually guilty of this, 'If he/she loved me they would know what I want.' You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting in a negative way to you and never bother to check it out. 'I know what you're thinking.'

7. Ought to and need to statements: These are shame generators, and some of the most painful thinking errors we make. "Musts" and "shoulds" are also offenders. This can be the product of inflexible and rigid pondering. 'I should not let them see me cry.' 'I should have been there'. The emotional consequence of failure to adhere to the rule is shame and guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you are setting up unrealistic expectations and if they do not behave they way they 'should,' anger and resentment can be the results.

8. Emotional reasoning: While your emotions are valid, and they are your own. They do not necessarily reflect truth. Currently being frustrated at not being in school does not mean you are not intelligent. Feeling hopelessness does not indicate you are hopeless.

9. Personalization: You see  yourself as the result of some damaging event for which, in fact, you had been not genuinely accountable. Your loan application is not accepted, and it does not mean the loan officer had it in for you. Your daughter not getting asked to the prom does not imply you are a poor mother.

10. Believing every thought: This is often one of the most difficult thinking errors for us to deal with. We rarely question our thought process. We simply think something and believe it. Our thoughts are not always based in reality, and it is important that we don't listen to every single thought.

Many of us deal with these thinking errors on a daily basis. However, there is good news! With spiritual practice, mindfulness, and concentration practices, we are able to become more aware of these thinking errors and take steps to grow.

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