Here’s the hypothetical…
You’re losing weight. You’re a woman, and you’re five foot four. Your ideal weight is one-twenty, but you usually hover around one-0h-five. Now you’re down to ninety-eight. Ninety-eight pounds and you don’t know why. Every time you step on the scale your heart sinks along with the needle. Maybe it’s all that worrying about finances. Maybe it’s all those nights of insomnia you racked up when you took on that new job or creative project that forced you outside your comfort zone. Maybe you’ve got a tumor or diabetes or a thyroid disorder or…
That’s jumping ahead in the list of thinking distortions, to number twelve: Expecting Disaster.
Let’s stick to one distortion at a time.
Okay, let’s say you’re not losing weight. You’re gaining. You’re still a woman, and you’re still five foot four and your ideal weight is still one-twenty, but you usually hover around one-thirty-five. Now you’re up to one-ninety-eight. One-ninety-eight and you haven’t a clue why. Every time you step on the scale your heart is ready to break along with the needle. Maybe it’s all that television watching and constant snacking. Maybe it’s because your forever guy took off…forever. Maybe you’ve got a tumor or diabetes or a thyroid disorder or…
Wait a minute.
I thought we agreed to stick to one distortion at a time.
Losing weight, gaining weight…let’s just call it the hypothetical situation. Now for the thinking distortion…
You’re convinced that you’ll always be losing, you’ll always be gaining. You’ll never be one-twenty again. You’ll keep losing or gaining until you disappear or explode, and nobody will love you again, ever.
That’s overgeneralization. Believing that just because you’ve had one bad experience, the bad experience will repeat itself forever…or in similar situations.
It’s not easy changing that distorted thinking. Heck, it’s easier to juggle five or six distortions at a time. I’m an expert. The trick is to be aware that you’re engaged in the juggling. That’s the beginning. Then drop the balls.
Here’s the key to recognizing Thinking Distortion #1: whenever you hear yourself using sentences with words like always, never, all, every, none, and nobody, remember…those sentences are life sentences.
And nobody wants to be stuck with a life sentence, ever.