Many debilitate feelings come from irrational thoughts, called “fallacies” here. Often times we are not aware of these thoughts, which makes them particularly powerful. 1. The Fallacy of Perfection: the belief that you should be able to handle every situation with confidence and skill. Once you believe that It Is possible to be a perfect communicator, the next step is to believe that others wont Like you If you’re not perfect. If you feel this way, sharing feelings of uncertainty or admitting your mistakes seem like social defects.
Trying to appear perfect uses up energy and risks friendships. Your self-esteem suffers as well when you don’t measure up to your own expectations. It is a relief when you accept the idea that you’re not perfect, and that: Like everyone else, you sometimes have a hard time expressing yourself. Like everyone else, you make mistakes and there Is no reason to hide this. You are honestly doing the best you can to reach your potential and to become the best person you can be. 2. The Fallacy of Approval: is based on the belief that you must have the approval of almost everyone.
You may sacrifice your own principles and happiness to seek the acceptance of others. Accepting this leads to some ridiculous situations; Feeling nervous because people you really don’t Like seem to disapprove of you. Feeling apologetic when others are at fault. Feeling embarrassed after behaving unnaturally to gain approval. The fallacy of approval is irrational because it implies that people will like you more f you go out of your way to please them. Ultimately people won’t respect you if you compromise your own values.
Striving for universal acceptance Is not a realistic or desirable goal. This does not mean you should be selfish, and not try to please others. But, If you must abandon your own needs and principles to seek approval, the price Is too high. 3. The Fallacy of Should: is the inability to distinguish between what is and what should be. Some people constantly make complaints about the world: “There ought to be no rain on weekends. ” “There shouldn’t have been school today. ” “Money should grow on trees. ” These may be foolish, but wishing that the unchangeable should be changed won’t affect reality.
Many of us torture ourselves by engaging in this irrational thought, infusing is and ought: “My friend should be more understanding. ” “She shouldn’t be so inconsiderate. ” “They ought to be more friendly. ” “He should work harder. ” change things is O. K. , it’s unreasonable to insist the world operate the way you want it. Becoming obsessed with “should” can have troublesome consequences: First, it leads to unhappiness for people who are constantly dreaming about the ideal, and are, therefore, unsatisfied with what they have. Merely complaining without acting can keep you from changing less than satisfying conditions. Should can build assistance in others who resent being nagged. It’s more effective to tell people what you want them to do: “l wish you’d be on time,” is better than muff should be on time. ” 4. The Fallacy of Personalization: includes two types: The first is when we base a belief on a limited amount of evidence: “I’m so stupid! I can’t even figure out my income tax. ” “Some friend I am! I forgot my best friend’s birthday. ” When we do this we focus on one shortcoming as if it represented everything about us.
We must remember times that we have solved tough problems or times we have been caring and Houghton. The second occurs when we exaggerate short comings: Mimi never listen to me. ” mire’s always late. ” “l can’t think of anything. ” These statements are almost always false and lead to disappointment or anger. Replace these with more accurate messages: muff often don’t listen to me. ” movie been late three times this week. ” “l haven’t had any ideas I like today. ” 5. The Fallacy of Causation: is based on the irrational belief that emotions are caused by others rather than by one’s own self-talk.
You are not the one who causes others’ feelings. It is more accurate to say that they respond to your behavior with feelings of their own. It’s incorrect to say that you make others angry, upset, or happy. Others create their own responses to your behavior. This is also true when we believe that others cause our emotions. It may seem like they do, by lowering or lifting our spirits. The same actions that will cause you happiness or pain one day may have little effect at others. The insult that affected you strongly one day may not phase you the next. Why?
Because you attached less significance to it the latter time. You certainly wouldn’t feel some emotions without others’ behavior, but it’s your thinking, not their actions that determine how you feel. 6. The Fallacy of Helplessness: suggests that forces beyond your control determine satisfaction in life. People who see themselves as victims, make such statements as: “There’s no way a woman can get ahead in this society. It’s a man’s world, and the best thing I can do is to accept it. ” “l was born with a shy personality. I’d like to be more outgoing, but there’s nothing I can do about that. “l can’t tell my boss that she s putting too many demands on me. If I did, I might lose my Job. ” Most “can’t” statements are more correctly phrased as “won’t” (“l can’t tell him what I think” interesting conversation” becomes “l don’t know what to say’). When viewed this way, it’s obvious that many “cants” are really rationalizations for not wanting to change. Lonely people, for example, tend to attribute their poor interpersonal relationships to uncontrollable causes. “It’s beyond my control,” they think. Also, they expect their relational partners to reject them.
This is a self-fulfilling prophecy: Believing that our relational prospects are dim can lead you to act in ways that are unattractive. You must assume responsibility for change. It can be done. 7. The Fallacy of Catastrophic Expectations: operates on the premise that if something bad can happen, it will: “If I invite them to the party, they probably won’t want to come. ” “If I apply for the Job I want, I probably won’t be hired. ” “If I tell them how I really feel, they’ll probably laugh at me. ” Once you start to expect terrible consequences, a self-fulfilling prophecy starts to build.
One study valued that people who believed their romantic partners would not change for the better were likely to behave in ways that contributed to the breakup of the relationship. Minimizing Debilitate Emotions 1. Monitor your emotional reactions. Be aware of when you’re having debilitate emotions. 2. Note the activating event. Sometimes it is obvious. For example, a common form of anger is being accused unfairly (or fairly) of foolish behavior; being rejected is a source of hurt, too. Sometimes it may not be a single incident, but a series of small incidents that build up and trigger a debilitate feeling.
The best way o track down activating events is to notice the circumstances in which you have debilitate feelings. They may occur around certain people, types of individuals, settings, or during certain topics of conversation. 3. Record (or be aware of) your self-talk. Recognize what you are saying to yourself, your “internal monologue. ” 4. Dispute your irrational beliefs. Use the list of irrational fallacies to discover which of your internal statements are based on mistaken thinking. Follow 3 steps: Decide whether each belief you’ve recorded is rational or irrational. Explain why the belief does or doesn’t make sense. If the belief is irrational, you should write down an alternative way of thinking that is more sensible and that can leave you feeling better when faced with the same activating event in the future. These classmates quote or paraphrase information found in: Adler, Ronald and Neil Town. Looking Out Looking In. NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1996. Assignment: Listen carefully to family, classmates, and others. Describe, in detail, one incident where you or others engaged in fallacious, emotional reasoning. This assignment must be typed and at least one page in length (Times New Roman, 12 font).
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