Posts Tagged With: cognitive distortions

Day 2399: You can’t change other people’s behaviors

 

You can’t change other people’s behaviors.  You can only change your reactions to them and/or your own behaviors.

You can’t change my behaviors, including

  • blogging daily,
  • working hard, and
  • sharing my photos, including these:

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I can’t change Michael’s behaviors, which include monogramming my slice of left-over gelato cake last night.

You can’t change my flying to Chicago today to spend the weekend with group therapists from the American Group Psychotherapy Association, but you can wish me a safe trip.

We can’t change Brian Wilson‘s behaviors, but we can wish him a happy belated birthday and appreciate his music.

 

Keep an eye on summer, because it begins today!

I can’t change your commenting behaviors, but I’ll appreciate any comment you leave.

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

Day 2392: What am I supposed to do?

What am I supposed to do about

  • creating a blog with very limited time this morning?
  • the state of the world?
  • other people’s opinions?
  • unhelpful thoughts?
  • unfairness?
  • injustice?
  • imbalance?
  • a smudged and difficult-to-clean white board?
  • punctuation?
  • spelling?
  • nutrition?
  • climate change?
  • other changes?
  • stress?
  • pressure?
  • insomnia?
  • difficult decisions?
  • self care?
  • care of others?
  • mixed feelings?
  • other people’s feelings?
  • thorny problems?
  • physical pain?
  • emotional pain?
  • distractions?
  • interruptions?
  • fear?
  • worries about the future?
  • living in the past?
  • invasions?
  • goodbyes?
  • my latest photos?

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What am I supposed to do about British Invasion Week?

What am I supposed to do about “What Am I Supposed to Do?” by Whitey Morgan?

What am I supposed to do about  an important discussion from last night’s Coping and Healing group, in which we focused on radical acceptance?

Radical Acceptance means completely and totally accepting something from the depths of your soul, with your heart and your mind. You stop fighting reality. When you stop fighting you suffer less. (From “Three Blocks to Radical Acceptance” by Karyn Hall, PhD.)

What am I supposed to do about asking for comments?

What am I supposed to do about gratitude for all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — for YOU?

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2355: Blame

Who’s to blame for never writing a post titled “Blame” before, even though it’s one of the thirteen cognitive distortions discussed here?

I’m to blame for that and for repeating that description here:

We blame ourselves for every problem, or hold other people entirely responsible for a negative situation or feeling. When we focus on assigning blame and figuring out who is “at fault”, we are usually ignoring the complexity of a situation. Also, blaming can result in staying stuck in negative feelings, rather than moving towards action and solutions.

Does it help to blame?  What about this major news story?

1 million species are at risk of extinction.  Humans are to blame.

I’m very upset about that news story.  Can you blame me?

However, I don’t want to stay stuck in negative feelings. I’d rather move towards actions and solutions. But what actions and solutions are there?

I try not to blame myself for becoming overwhelmed, sometimes, by the immensity of problems.

I do think there is a difference between blaming and taking responsibility. Blaming keeps us stuck in the past and pointing fingers at each other.  Taking responsibility is more adult, focusing less on shame and more on the next achievable steps.

I take responsibility for all these photos and please don’t blame me if they don’t relate to today’s topic (because I took them all before I knew what I was going to write about this morning).

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Here‘s the witch from Stephen Sondheim’s  Into the Woods singing about the futility of blame:

I take responsibility for expressing my sincere gratitude at the end of every post.  Thanks to all for helping me create this blog and for reading it, here and now!

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

Day 2336: The difference between worry and helping

As I described in last week’s post — Day 2328: A Year of No Worry — I have pledged to not worry for a year, which has been helping!  As also described in that post, I told an employee at Home Depot — who said, “It’s my job to worry” — that there was a huge difference between worry and helping.

Yesterday, in a therapy session, the difference between worry and helping came up again.

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As you can see from those lists, worry entails many negative experiences and helping includes much more positive experiences.  In some cases, the experiences are almost opposite (“frozen” vs. “warmth” and “future” vs. “in the moment”). And yet, people often intertwine worry with helping, believing that unless they worry about others, they will focus too much attention on themselves — becoming selfish jerks rather than helpers.  As usual, black and white thinking (one of the cognitive distortions found here) causes us to think it’s all or nothing — either we are selfish jerks or worrying helpers.

What I’m discovering, in my year of no worries, is that letting go of worry is helping me become a better helper to others.  Worry saps my energy and gets in the way of my being as much as possible in the moment with others and therefore more sensitive to their needs.

I’m not going to worry about whether my writing in today’s post or my other photos from yesterday are helping.

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If you need help interpreting any of those photos, don’t worry.  Ask for help and I’ll give it, worry-free.

Here‘s what comes up on YouTube when I search for “The difference between worry and helping”:

I think that video about differences between humans and animals is very helpful.

The  human band Golden Earring has at least two songs about worry:  “No Need to Worry”

.. and “Don’t Worry.”

 

No need to worry and don’t worry about leaving a comment, below.

Worry-free and helping thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2335: In a perfect world

In a perfect world,

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trees would always be flowering,

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everybody would get to live exactly where they want,

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there would be effective and meaningful communication despite skepticism, religious differences, difficult people, and cognitive distortions like blaming,

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we would be looking to the future for our children,

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the best things in life would be free,

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potato chips would be good for you,

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people would greet each other without fear,

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there would be safe places for people to work things out together, and

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every home would have a cat and every cat would have a home.

 

In a perfect world, all people would be able to express their thoughts  and feelings about their perfect worlds (which you can do, below).

Searching for “in a perfect world” on YouTube finds this

and this.

I find Phora‘s lyrics so perfect that I’m going to include them here:

In A Perfect World

by Phora

Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
See, in a perfect world it would all be so simple
Sometimes simple isn’t worth it
Cause all the hard times I’ve been through
Made me the man I am today
And I ain’t nowhere close to perfect
But I’m perfectly fine with that, I’m still breathing
So many scars and wounds that’ll never heal
I’m still bleeding, I know you see ’em
All those imperfections in yourself
You’re just stressing it too much, but life’s a lesson in itself
One day we’ll learn what it means
One day we’ll learn to be free
Baby, I’ve been trying to separate my wants and my needs
But what does perfect mean?
Lately I’ve been asking myself
If I paint you this picture maybe you’ll answer yourself
You see, a perfect world to me is no more violence
No more gunshots at night, homie and no more
Sirens
No more kids losing their life too soon and no drunk driving
I seen it a lot happen way too many times and we ain’t trying
We ain’t trying hard enough to change it, broken hearts and hatred
A perfect world to me is a world free of this racists
So who are you to judge a person by the color of skin
How hard is it just to smile and treat each other as kin
I wish, there was a world where our children could play outside
Without a drive-by, curving and watching straight bullets fly
But why, why does it feel like we’re not ready?
When I talk about change, man
Why I feel like they don’t get me?
Well, I guess I ain’t perfect enough
One day the money and jewels gon’ be worthless to us
We gonna value ourselves based of the love in our hearts
Not the cash in our pockets
I’m thinking what if we start a perfect world
Where the music ain’t downgrading our women
And they stop degrading themselves
They lost faith in our women
Trust me, I’m the one to judge, can’t stand the way that I’m livin’
We all dream of that perfect place and man, I’m way beyond vision
See, I can hear it, taste it and feel it
The scent of it is so potent
Perfect like your first love before your heart was broken
Perfect like the sound of crashing waves in the ocean
It’s perfect like the sound of music when you play it while smoking
So many, perfect imperfections in this world, still I love it here
Only 21 and I hope to make it another year
But if not, my soul will be perfectly free
She might not be perfect to you, but man she’s perfect to me
Yours Truly
Ain’t nobody perfect
But we’re all worth this life
Don’t matter where we’re going
As long as we’re living right
Ain’t nobody perfect
But we’re all worth this life
Don’t matter where we’re going
As long as we’re living right
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
Ain’t nobody perfect
You see, the very end of it
I didn’t know where I was
All I know it was peaceful
Almost like a place nothing could go wrong
A place so perfect
I’ve always imagined a place like this
Ever since I was young, I was
Never really able to sleep
My mom always told me:
“Close your eyes, picture the waves crashing
Imagine yourself there with no worries”
That’s the only thing that ever really helps
So much going on in this world
Sometimes I wonder if we were able to think our
Own heaven into existence
What would mine be like?
Well, I think I finally found it
Better yet, I think it’s been with me all along

I think gratitude has been with me all along, so thanks to all who helped me create this post today and — of course! — to YOU, for making my world more perfect.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2205: Who gives a crap?

Who gives a crap about where today’s blog title came from?

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If you do give a crap, I saw that sign yesterday on the wall of a huge glass-blowing facility called Almost Perfect Glass  in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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There’s my  almost perfect friend, Deb, who was working the annual holiday glass sale at Almost Perfect Glass, which is the home of NOCA Glass School (where Deb has taken many courses, because she gives a crap about glass blowing). Deb and I give a crap about each other and have since we were in our teens. People say we look and act like sisters, and not just because we both wear the same t-shirt (which I gave her years ago because she gave a crap about what it says).

Who gives a crap about any of my other photos from yesterday?

 

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I give a crap about  talent, nature,  mindfulness, and all that’s in your head.

While we all give a crap about what’s important to us,  it also helps to let go of worry, shame, and other crap filling your brain by saying, “Who gives a crap!”

Who gives a crap about this“Who Gives a Crap” song on YouTube?

Who gives a crap about whether Who Gives a Crap is “toilet paper” or “bathroom tissue”?

Thanks to all who helped me create this who-gives-a-crap post and to you — of course! — for giving enough of a crap to read it.

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Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 2123: All your feelings are okay

Yesterday, in a therapy group, people talked about uncomfortable feelings, including anger, fear, and sadness. Some had  “secondary” feelings about their feelings, including guilt and shame.

Because negative thoughts and feelings can stick,  I felt it was okay to ask people to write helpful phrases on yellow stickies. I feel that it’s okay to share some of those yellow stickies here:

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It’s okay that I was feeling rushed when I took that photo of “This too shall pass.”

All your feelings are okay about my photos in this post.

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All my feelings are okay, including anger — which I’m expressing in my new song, “I’m Mad About You” — and confidence about performing that song a week from Friday.

“This Feeling” by The Chainsmokers featuring Kelsea Ballerini comes up when I search YouTube for “all your feelings are okay.”

All my feelings are okay about this comment after that YouTube video:

MITA DAS
1 week ago
I think 0:00 0:01 0:02 0:03 0:04 0:05 0:06 0:07 0:08 0:09 0:10 0:11 0:12 0:13 0:14 0:15 0:16 0:17 0:18 0:19 0:20 0:21 0:22 0:23 0:24 0:25 0:26 0:27 0:28 0:29 0:30 0:31 0:32 0:33 0:34 0:35 0:36 0:37 0:38 0:39 0:40 0:41 0:42 0:43 0:44 0:45 0:46 0:47 0:48 0:49 0:50 0:51 0:52 0:53 0:54 0:55 0:56 0:57 0:58 0:59 1:00 1:01 1:02 1:03 1:04 1:05 1:06 1:07 1:08 1:09 1:10 1:11 1:12 1:13 1:14 1:15 1:16 1:17 1:18 1:19 1:20 1:21 1:22 1:23 1:24 1:25 1:26 1:27 1:28 1:29 1:30 1:31 1:32 1:33 1:34 1:35 1:36 1:37 1:38 1:39 1:40 1:41 1:42 1:43 1:44 1:45 1:46 1:47 1:48 1:49 1:50 1:51 1:52 1:53 1:54 1:55 1:56 1:57 1:58 1:59 2:00 2:01 2:02 2:03 2:04 2:05 2:06 2:07 2:08 2:09 2:10 2:11 2:12 2:13 2:14 2:15 2:16 2:17 2:18 2:19 2:20 2:21 2:22 2:23 2:24 2:25 2:26 2:27 2:28 2:29 2:30 2:31 2:32 2:33 2:34 2:35 2:36 2:37 2:38 2:39 2:40 2:41 2:42 2:43 2:44 2:45 2:46 2:47 2:48 2:49 2:50 2:51 2:52 2:53 2:54 2:55 2:56 2:57 2:58 2:59 3:00 3:01 3:02 3:03 3:04 3:05 3:06 3:07 3:08 3:09 3:10 3:11 3:12 3:13 3:14 3:15 3:16 are the best parts.

All your feelings are okay, and I hope you express them in a comment, below.

All my okay feelings, here and now, include gratitude towards all those who helped me create today’s all-your-feelings-are-okay post and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2121: Making noise

Is making noise making things better or worse? Today, I’m making noise about the fact that some news columnists are speculating that how the USA opposition party is making noise might be hurting their chances in the upcoming midterm election.

Lately, I’ve been making noise in my therapy groups, inviting people to be making noise when we do a mindfulness exercise that focuses on listening.  This is the noise I’m making when I introduce that exercise:

In this mindfulness exercise, we’re going to focus on the sense of hearing. After you hear the sound of the chime, do your best to listen to all the noises in the room. Feel free to make noise to make the exercise more interesting for other people.

That’s my attempt at making it safer for people to be making noise, since many of us can be self-conscious about the noises we’re making, especially when other people are listening.

I’ll be making noise soon with these Right & Wrong Buzzers:

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Even though I’m often making noise about letting go of  unhelpful concepts of wrong and right, I’ll be making noise to encourage people to change old habits of thinking (including the cognitive distortions described here).

It’s okay to be making noise or to be silent about the other images I captured yesterday.

Because the wind was making so much noise yesterday, I didn’t go for my usual walk. Instead, I was making noise by making ukulele chords for  my latest original song “I’m Mad About You.”

With that song, I’m making noise about anger (especially towards politicians).

It’s time for me to be making noise about gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create this “Making noise” post and — of course! — to YOU, for all the noises you’re making.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 2080: Negative filter

After filtering the positive and the negative for two thousand and eighty consecutive days here at The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, I’m amazed that I haven’t written about the common cognitive distortion of Negative Filter before today.

Negative filtering (also known as “Disqualifying the positive”).
This is when we focus on the negative, and filter out all positive aspects of a situation. For example, you get a good review at work with one critical comment, and the criticism becomes the focus, with the positive feedback fading or forgotten. You dismiss positives by explaining them away — for example, responding to a compliment with the thought, “They were just being nice.”

Why do people disqualify the positive?  Why do we focus on the negative?  When I try to filter through experience and answer those questions, my best guess is that the negative gets our attention because our survival has depended on our being hyper aware of danger and fixating on problems until we solve them.

However, negative filter can lead to depression, hopelessness, and an inability to enjoy the positive.

How can we filter our experiences more effectively, letting in the positive AND the negative? And how can we deal with all the information around us, which can clog up our filters?

As usual, I don’t have all the answers but I do have lots of questions, like what kind of filters do you see in my recent photos?

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Let things come to you, but please don’t filter out the positive.

Last night, when I was working on letting go of my own negative filter, I positively  and completely enjoyed this tap routine on the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance (if you want to filter everything else out, the dancing starts at 2:30):

 

Gratitude helps clean out the filter, so thanks to Evan DeBenedetto, Lex Ishimoto,  choreographer Anthony Morigerato, everyone else who helped me filter through recent experiences to create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 2070: What’s your super power

Yesterday, I used my photographic super power to take a picture of this:

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What’s your super power?  Do you have more than one? Are you so super modest that it’s difficult to own your super powers?

Here’s a super incomplete list of my super powers:

  1. Taking pictures (see above).
  2. Blogging daily.
  3. Facilitating group healing.
  4. Coming up with new ideas.
  5. Finding cool socks.

I recently told a  super co-worker that helping a patient find a psychiatrist was NOT one of my super powers. I’m super secure that it’s super helpful to be aware and accepting of our super powers AND our limitations.

Speaking of limitations, I recently had the super idea that I stop using the super-judgmental  label “stupid” about myself or anybody else and use the superior word “limited” instead.

Do you see any super powers in my other super snapshots from yesterday?

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We think you deserve a treat, no matter what your super powers or limitations. I shall now attempt to find a super treat on YouTube for my super readers.

There’s a super number of videos on YouTube asking and perhaps answering the question, “What’s your super power?”  However, I’d rather share some super music like Super Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” and “Superwoman.”

I hope you use your super power of making comments, below.

It’s time to use my super power of expressing thanks to all those who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.  And I shall use my super powers to get back here as quickly as possible.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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