Most of the people are not dare to live a life what they desire to live. We have fears and inhibitions which mainly don’t have any objective background but make our daily life so difficult. So often we form an opinion about situations incorrectly and becoming a victim of our own consideration distortion. There are several books which talks about positive outcomes of living our life bravely. What can influence our bravery? Can be learnt fears, fear of failure, lack of confidence etc..
Consideration schemas are evolutionary heritages. Helped ancient human to survive and still help us to see the world more organized. If we have lack of information about something with the support of consideration schemas we can fill information gaps. The disadvantages of using them are kind of a same, they can be the origin of overgeneralization and eliminative prejudice. We might have schemas which are not adaptive – they do not guide us where we want to move – but to recognize them is not so easy.
Cognitive distortions like:
– All or nothing way of thinking: those situations belong to here when we evaluate a situation like; if it is not 100% then it’s worthless. (I got just the second place, I am worsted again);
– Exaggeration or disparagement: when we have no great opinion of our results but exaggerate our defectiveness. (I did the final exam, not a big deal but surely I am not enough good for to get that job);
– Non-observance of certainty: when we consider our success as just luck. (I was the first but just because Nicole got sick);
– Emotional logic: when we explain others’ manifestations with our own distortions. (I know a lot of people speak highly about me, but surely because they feel sorry for me and want to encourage me);
– Personalization: when we blame ourselves for something what we do not have view of. (If I was a better child my parents wouldn’t had got divorced);
– Premature induction: when we thinks that we know why the other behaves or acts like. Like we are a kind of oracle. (He is grumpy obviously because I am unpleasant.)
So often we project our own fear onto the world but in the meanwhile we believe the root of problems are in external elements. Like:
– Negative filtration: when we recognize just negative sides. (One student didn’t pay attention to my presentation therefore it didn’t go well);
– Overgeneralization: when just from one single happening we conclude that it will happen like this all the time. (This boy didn’t call me too after the date yesterday, he doesn’t want me too, like nobody does);
– Labelling: when instead of a single action we describe the whole person. (He was cold and kept distance with me, bumptious fellow);
Fatal future view: when we have very negative and exaggerated view about future (Surely I will fail the exam, I will never get my degree and all of my friends will laugh about me);
Our life can narrow by our distorted way of thinking (thinking-consideration schemas). The line of misconclusions can be connected with certain situations and can have a role in a development of panic disorder or social anxiety. At that time the fear and anxiety appears even if there is no real threat or danger.
A cognitive therapist can help clients to recognize and realize the root’s distorted way of thinking. Helps to realize that happening which are generalize similar situations but on a maladaptive-defective way. After realization the therapist and the client analyze together what prove or what question that. The therapy is always personalized and complex, takes time but definitely makes client life’s quality much better and more successful. One technique what I often use is the thought diary or though examination. It can give a picture to the client about the anxious situation, after writing down in the diary or thinking through. The client can see more objectively the situation and able to divide the situation to facts and emotions and cognitive distortion is becoming more visible. The diary or re-thinking supports to “set up a case” against those distorted reactions and wrong conclusions. It is a kind of debate between the public prosecutor and the counsel for the defendant. The diary or re-consideration process’ main points:
- Outlining the situation; (Example: I saw my colleagues being unsympathetic attitude with me on the brunch yesterday.)
- Make a survey of mood, emotions; (Example: I was anxious, sweating, I felt fear of being ridiculous.)
- Automatic thoughts which come when you try to understand the situation; (Example: I am ugly; I am worthless; I am an outsider; Nobody loves me.)
- Consider the facts which can prove those thoughts above. List them! (Example: Nobody talked to me; I was standing mainly alone; I saw others were laughing and telling jokes.)
- List circumstances which disprove your explanations. (Example: They greeted me and tried to talk with me in the beginning but I became so nervous and were not able to talk, They asked me what I would like to drink; Some of them were curious about my new project but I wasn’t in the mood to talk about it.)
- New and more realistic understandings instead of automatic thoughts. (Example: Others mainly are opened to me but my fears not being acceptable limits my personal relations; I am so shy and not able to start a conversation.)
- Re-considering emotions. (Example: This explanation is more realistic and comforting, my anxiety decreased as well; I am not able to read other people’s mind so how should I know what they think of me, maybe they like me.)
Of course the main internal work comes just after. To achieve an effective behaviour change, there must be an emotional switch after the intellectual comprehension. To change emotions takes more time than to change thoughts. Cognitive re-framing can get us closer to a conscious behaviour-change which through we can get more and more positive experiences. The re-consideration process or diary can help re-write negative automatic thoughts which appear in situations causing anxiety.
Be dare making decisions!
General occurrence is we think mainly just in short-term. We focus our attention on the most beneficial and less painful choice in the present. Main motive of our decision is the fear of loss. We are not able to see, but with choosing the easiest way after the other, we scarify our distant goals.
We are unwilling to invest energy into something what from we get benefit just later. People generally tolerate frustration difficultly and not feeling well to step out from their comfort zone, and if they do so, they want to be sure their investment will generate profit. However there is no guaranty for it usually. People do not like decision making situations and try to avoid them. If they must make a decision they try to do it on the way by no means but this is inexpedient. If we run away for so long from small inconveniences they are susceptible to grow irretrievable problems. Often is useless to hope difficulties will disappear by themselves, very rare cases they do. Pays to be brave, take a deep breath and take (or endure) the temporarily inconvenient situation to avoid having more serious problems. Why? Because you can take it! You will not die, you will survive!
Facing with ourselves
Often we are the obstacle of our own prosperity. Self-knowledge helps us to disclose what is behind our repetitive behaviour patterns or failures, hereby help us to find solutions for them as well. But not always we are prepared to face with that knowledge. We must disclose those which are able to be changed or repaired, otherwise the knowledge will be just the source of desperation. This happens usually after serious traumas. Though there are blocks, where from we are able to move on (release them) just if we face bravely with the situation or problem. Facing with all those which we feel shame or afraid of is not easy especially when we must undertake in front of other people too. It is noteworthy to consider to whom we are opening up because if we choose the wrong person and his/her feedback is negative our anxiety can even worse than before. If we feel we are not able to face with our problems and difficulties alone, share it with someone who supports you. If we are able undertake our weaknesses that gives power to win on them and we are able to experience that, other people accept and like or love us with all of our weaknesses as well.
“And so what?”
I often ask this question from my clients when I feel their negative thoughts and wrong conclusions (myths) are holding them back from doing what they would like. This question highlights to them, there is no catastrophe or extinction of human kind or death happens even if that thing what they are so afraid of happens or come true in that particular situation. But if they don’t start because of their fears, they don’t even give a chance to themselves to succeed or being happy. Seems easier if we leave our thoughts or feelings unsaid if we don’t become resigned to act. Because in this way we don’t surrender ourselves to other people’s criticism or refusal. But in our strong defense it’s easy to seal ourselves off from a life what we dream about.
There are people who are so afraid of the experience of failure, they try so hard to avoid every difficulties. Those people also miss opportunities as well and they are masters of self-justifications and they can explain their lack of actions perfectly.
Worthy to act like seeking for success rather than afraid of failure. To change our view we can start with a simple technique, like instead of saying “it doesn’t work” or “ I can’t do it” we should say “not yet”. Not important where we are now, the importance is where we are heading if we believe in the success of our efforts, if we believe in growth if we do or go for it.
I often use a slogan from Nike: JUST DO IT
Without over-thinking, without excuses….
Our way of thinking and our actions are able to be changed and the change can give us an amazing experience of freedom.
If you realize you have negatively working way of thinking or self-destructive behaviour patterns, ask for help. You will experience your well-being and the quality of your life becomes just much better.