Posts Tagged With: automatic thoughts

Day 2299: Cognitive Distortions

Regular readers of this blog know I often write about the cognitive distortions described by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, including overgeneralization, mind reading, catastrophizing, personalization, comparisons, shoulds, and labeling/name-calling. Regular readers of this blog do NOT know that I soon will be performing my latest original song (titled “Nobody’s Perfect” and co-written with a Social Work intern at work named Nat) with other musicians, and we’re thinking of calling ourselves “The Cognitive Distortions.”

Last night, my boyfriend Michael and I were experiencing cognitive distortions when we were both making overgeneralizations about human beings.  Our cognitive distortions have increased since the last U.S. Presidential election as we both try to make sense of the human behavior described in the media, by cognitively debating and trying to understand what people are really like and why they say what they say and do what they do.

Do you see any cognitive distortions in this part of our discussion last night?

Michael:  I think people who say “I believe in him” or “I believe in that” know, on some level, that those things are not true.

Ann: Michael, this is the same disagreement we constantly have. I think that a lot of  people really believe what they say. How do you know what they really believe?  That’s overgeneralization and mind reading.

Michael:  How do YOU know what they really believe?

Me: I don’t really know, but I’ve encountered so many people in individual and group therapy who seem to really believe what they say they believe.

Michael: And I’ve encountered thousands of people through my work in the food industry.

Me: THOUSANDS?

Michael: Let me tell you a story that sums up my experience of people. There was this woman I used to work with. One day, somebody asked her if she believed in ghosts.  She said, “No.” And then she added, “But I’ve seen one.”

Me (laughing): I’m putting that in tomorrow’s blog.

Do you see any cognitive distortions in today’s photos?

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I just searched YouTube for “cognitive distortions” to see if any musical group already has that name.  This is what I found:

Feel free to express your cognitions and feelings about Cognitive Distortions, below.

Thanks and appreciation to all who helped me express the cognitive distortions in today’s post and — of course! — thanks and appreciation to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 353: Where there’s a will, there’s a way

The title is something my mother used to say to me. It’s a good title for today’s post, I think, because I finally completed this:

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I’ve had lots of thoughts and feelings about the process of creating that, during this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally (which I blogged about here, here, and elsewhere).

Here are some thoughts and feelings I’m having, today:

I don’t want to mind-read (because that would be a cognitive distortion), but I do wonder if others are having certain thoughts now, like these:

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“Did you leave ME anything?”

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“I know I’m new, more skittish (therefore more blurry), and probably not quite as loved yet, but … did you leave ME anything?”

I probably AM projecting onto others, here.  But it’s difficult not to do that, you know?

Anyway, it was quite a process, completing that will. I mean, it took 60 friggin’ years. And, as Indiana Jones said:

“It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”*

Speaking of mileage, here are some shots I took, yesterday, on my journey to sign that will:

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The building on the left is where my parents lived their last years together.  That’s where I saw my father, for the last time, in 1997. I am so grateful for that encounter, still. Before I left that day, he said to me, “Give me five,” holding his hand up high. I replied, “I’ll give you ten,” and I gave him a hug.

Here’s another, clearer shot of that building:

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My parents lived on the second floor, on the right.

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Here’s where I spent a lot of hours, as a kid, reading and choosing books to take home:

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When I took those books home, this is similar to what I would see:

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And this is where I read those books:

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This is what I sometimes saw, when I would leave my home, back then:

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When I visited yesterday, I did see some new things, including this:

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It’s nice that some people can attain Nirvana every day, isn’t it?

Here’s a photo (taken when I was heading back home last night) that’s related to that, I believe:

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I hope I remember that flashy Stop sign** the next time I have a thought that doesn’t help me.  Because, the more I can let go of unhelpful thoughts, the more I can do these things (suggested by a bumper sticker last night):

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And I’ve got some time to do those, apparently,  because a lawyer promised me, yesterday, that signing my will wouldn’t kill me.

Being a lawyer, he immediately added, “And if it does, at least now you have a will.”

Thanks to all who contributed to creating this post and — of course!! — to you, for visiting.


* I wanted to find a sound or video clip for that, but c’est la vie.

** Check out the antidote of “Thought Stopping,” here.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 318: Other people’s mistakes

I’ve written several times, this year, about perfectionism. (For example, herehere, and here.)

Nobody is perfect — including the writer and the readers of this post.  As humans, we all make mistakes, every day. (Probably, we all make mistakes every hour.)

I react differently to the Making of Mistakes, though, depending upon who is doing the mistake-making.

When I realize that I have made a mistake, this is my usual response:

I feel awful.

Here are some typical, automatic thoughts I have:

Oh, no!  I made a mistake!  I should have paid better attention. This is really going to be a problem for other people, too.  What’s the matter with me?

It’s a different story, though, when somebody else makes a mistake. Often, I forgive other people their mistakes.

It’s much easier to remember that everybody makes mistakes, when it’s everybody else.

However, when somebody makes a mistake that has a direct, negative impact on me,  that’s a different story, too.

Then, this is my usual response:

I feel awful.

Here are some typical, automatic thoughts I have:

Oh, no! This other person made a mistake!  And that really caused me some discomfort. What do I do now?  How do I tell them about it? They’ll probably think it’s MY fault, too!  How can I prove it’s NOT? Maybe it IS my fault, somehow! And what if it’s NOT my fault and they don’t own up to that? THEN what do I do?   Also, if I mattered and was important enough to them, they would have been more careful!  Now I’m angry!  NOW what do I do? If I express my anger, I’ll probably alienate them!  I don’t want to lose them!  But I don’t want to pretend that it’s all okay with me, either, because it’s NOT!

This is what I notice about THAT, now.

When somebody else makes a mistake, I tend to have MORE thoughts.

Why?

Well, I’m really used to my own mistakes. I KNOW (by living with myself) how imperfect I am: I’ve got lots of proof about that. At times in the past, I’ve thought of myself as a screw-up — somebody who constantly make mistakes.

So THAT’s familiar.

But, somehow, I’ve never gotten used to other people’s mistakes.

Why is that?

This is my best guess, right now: When I was a little kid, I needed important people — upon whom I depended —  to NOT make major mistakes.  (And they made mistakes, of course. They were human.)

I know I’m not alone, in that.

Here’s a personal example of that: I  needed the doctors keeping me alive —  through surgeries and new technologies — to NOT make major mistakes. Big time.

So, my wish —  even as an adult — is that people NOT make mistakes. But they do, of course, every day.

Also, if somebody makes a mistake that has a negative effect on me and doesn’t own it, I can feel some anger about that (naturally). And as I wrote, two days ago, I can be a little clueless about anger, once I have it.

So there you have it: My reactions to other people’s mistakes.

It’s easy for me to write this post today, dear readers, because somebody — whom I’ve yet to meet —  made a mistake last night which did have a negative impact on me.  At this writing, the person is not owning the mistake, which may or may not change.

This is what I’ve done, so far, this morning, to deal with this:

  1. I wrote an e-mail to the person, pointing out the facts.
  2. By focusing on the facts, I let go of any wish to affect the other person’s feelings about this in any way.
  3. I worked on this blog post.

All those things helped.

What’s missing, for me, right now?

A cool image, for this post!

My next step: consult my iPhone for recent photos.

Oh!  Here’s one:

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Recently, I saw this hand-written message on a sign, regarding a overdue repair to a machine.

So there you have it, my dear readers:  Another way to respond to other people’s mistakes.

Thanks to everybody who makes and responds to mistakes and to you — of course! — for visiting here today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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