Posted

by Kare Anderson – Forbes

When things go wrong, we tend to blind ourselves to other’s feelings. We are more likely to fall into a destructive behavioral trap. Sadly, when we do, we cannot be empathic. We weaken that human bond that’s vital to re-grouping and resilience. These blinding mindsets make us feel dumb, powerless … and alone. (Of course you don’t make any of these mistakes yet someone you know might, so it may be worth reading on.)

1. Jumping To Conclusions

You interpret things negatively when there aren’t facts to support your conclusion. Two common ways are “mind-reading” (you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you) and “fortune-telling” (you assume and predict that things will turn out badly.)

“If you understood everything I said, you’d be me.” ~ Miles Davis

2. Emotional Reasoning

You assume that your negative feelings reflect the ways things really are: “I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person.”

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” ~ Henry Winkler

3. All Or Nothing Thinking

You see things as white or black categories. If a situation is anything less than perfect, you see it as a total failure. You probably have trouble, when faced with a plethora of choices, “satisficing,” that is making a choice with which you feel comfortable.

“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” ~ Anais Nin

4. “Should” Statements

You tell yourself that things should be a certain way that you expected or hoped they would be. We often try to motivate ourselves with “should”, “ought” and “should not” feelings and statements as if we must be punished before we can expect ourselves to do something – or not do something.

“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.” ~ Max Lucade

5. Mental Filter

You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it, ignoring all others. For example, one sentence of perceived criticism erases all praise you have received from someone. Just like healthy marriages, enduring relationships need at least a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions to thrive. Those with negative Mental Filters need a much higher ratio and, sadly, are less likely to attract it.

“If it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.” ~ Mr. Rogers

6. Over-Generalization

You see a single, negative event as the extension of a never-ending pattern of negativity. Probably you use “never” or “always” when thinking speaking or writing about it. This is one of the three patterns of pessimistic people cited by Marty Seligman in Learned Optimism for which he offers alternative behaviors.

“Every person you fight with has many other people in his life with whom he gets along quite well. You cannot look at a person who seems difficult to you without also looking at yourself.” ~ Jeffrey Kottler

7. Over-Personalization

When something bad happens to you it is worse for you than for everyone else. You see the situation as being all about you without seeing how it has affected others or how similar things have happened to others. This is another example of how pessimistic people instinctively react to situations.

“We can often do more for other men by trying to correct our own faults than by trying to correct our own faults than by trying to correct theirs.” ~ Francois Fenelon.

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