Friday, April 21, 2017


Suppose you were trying to view the world through distorted lenses, or a fogged window with bad window wiper blades. You may not see enough to steer you way out of danger. Your view would be distorted like the mirrors in a fun house. What is you were trying to maneuvers through life with emotions that were stormy and distorted? Your actions would be set limited by your limited view. Your actions may even confuse those sitting at a different angle and a different perspective. Those sitting at a different angle may actually see an entirely different picture. By changing the emotions, many problems look different, too.

Cognitive distorters are mental lenses that may not allow us to perceive people, places and problems in the same manners as other viewers. Defense mechanism are distorters that keep us from being bombarded by everything we encounter. Without these defenses, few of us would ever survive. However, without penetrating these defenses, few of us would ever change.

The most common cognitive distorted is ‘all or nothing” thinking. Everything is seen in “black and white” categories. Anytime your performance false short of perfect, you see yourself as a failure. This is a common excuse for not picking up the pieces and continuing the pursuit. Most of life is lived int he shades of gray. I you choose the wrong answer, simply choose again.

Over generalization is the twin companion to “black and white” thinking. You focus on every single event and see it as an “Always or Never” occurring process. This usually places the focus on the negative and views a never ending pattern of defeat.

Labeling is an extreme form of generalization. Instead of describing the problem, you become the problem. “I am no good,” or “I will never amount to anything .” When you label yourself or others you attack the identify instead of the behavior. Some examples are: “He is a jerk!” “She is not a team player!” These defensed contribute to problems instead of conflict resolution. Labeling is highly colored and emotionally charged, causing a chain of events and deflecting from the original problem, thus propagating the problem. This is one of the problems with stereotyping.

Deflection is a form of avoidance by diversion. Individuals quickly change the focus of the topic to escapes the discussion of their behavior. Isolation is another form of avoidance. By refusing to reveal the problem and individual does not take responsibility that would force action or a change. It also prevents getting the help that could assist in making the change .

Minimizing and Magnification occur when you over or under exaggerate the importance things like other’s “opinions” or your “achievements.” You may shrink or over inflate the importance of things and this will impact yourself and other’s in a negative way. This may sometimes be referred to as “binocular trick”

Projection is a type of denial in which your own unthinkable acts a passed on to another person.There is no conscious recognition of who really owns the problem. This is different from blaming. In blaming the individual owns the problem but, someone else is the cause. This is corrected by expanding your consciousness and having a guide.

Rationalization is just excuse making. There are many kinds of excuses and justifications for bad decisions, but the explanation does not fit why something happened in the first place. Intellectualizing is what appears to be a rational explanation, but keeps you from feeling the emotion that would lead you to action.

Should statements are the fathers of resentments. If you whip yourself and others into change, the emotional consequences are guilt and shame. Emotional reasoning does not reflect reality. Feeling like a failure does not make you a failure. Lack of action makes you a failure. Right feelings always follow right behavior.

Clean up the lenses you use to view the world and the entire picture may change.

Recommended read: “A new Pair of Glasses” by Chuck C.


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