Through researching mental health and disorders, I have come across a rather eye-opening subject: cognitive distortions. The most simple way I have found to define this condition is by comparing it to those who suffer from dyslexia. As words on paper appear to some in the wrong order, deformed or read incorrectly, cognitive distortions affect words that are heard and are often misinterpreted or scrambled. Instead of the eyes reading sentences inadequately, the ears are understanding only parts of conversation, latching on to parcels of what is spoken or distorting what they hear. It is like having dyslexic ears and wrongfully reading situations.
“I never get anything right” (over generalizing);
“I am so stupid” (labeling);
“Everything went wrong because of me” (personalizing);
“I feel horrible, so I must be a horrible person” (emotional reasoning);
“I am sure they think I am stupid” (mind reading);
“Everybody will blame me” (fortune telling);
“I will be fired” (magnifying);
“I will never find another job” (catastrophizing);
“The glass is empty yet again” (disqualifying the positive);
“I will be the best or the worst at this” (all-or-nothing thinking);
“I should have done this” (should thinking).
When your mind runs off and you cannot seem to calm down the thoughts or the way you are feeling, understanding the concept of cognitive distortions and how they affect our thinking greatly comes in handy. Once you know what your mind is doing and why it is doing it, what your “dyslexic” ears have “read incorrectly”, how you tend to deform situations and take things personal out of habit, it becomes easier to keep the ego in check and change your thought process.
This concept also greatly aids when others are communicating with you, because they too often speak from distorted cognitions. Knowing what the cognitive distortions are, and being able to point them out during conversations — through practice — helps unscramble things for yourself and for the person you are exchanging words with. It clears any misconceptions or misunderstandings out of the way, and allows for a more harmonious and healthy way of dealing with relationships in general.
I sincerely hope this comes in handy for some as it did so for myself.