My last blog entry talked about David Burns’ work on “cognitive distortions.” I noted that the distortion called the “mental filter” causes us to see the negatives, while overlooking the positives of any situation. Another distortion discussed by Burns is that of “mind reading” which, along with “fortune telling” comes under the general category of “jumping to conclusions.”
A client--I’ll call him Carl--recently mentioned an incident at work in which he made this error: following a presentation by Carl, a colleague had told him that he found it “hypnotic.” Carl told me he was insulted because his colleague had accused him of putting everyone to sleep, in other words, of being boring. Trying not to become insulted myself, I told Carl that hypnotic had another meaning, one that was undoubtedly meant by his colleague: commanding attention. An allied term, “entrancing,” is a very positive synonym. Carl was intrigued, and I encouraged him to ask his colleague to elaborate on what he thought of Carl’s presentation.
Sure enough, Carl’s colleague had found Carl’s presentation “fascinating” and “worthy of everyone’s interest.” I asked Carl how long he had been afraid that others found him boring, because I know that when we mind-read others in ways that are unflattering to ourselves, it is usually because we are projecting our own fears about our shortcomings onto their comments. Carl and I are now working on his perception that he’s dull, so that he can start telling himself, Others take a genuine interest in me and in my work.
You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, speaker, author, and creator of the All Day Hypnosis© series, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com
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