We “ALL” fall victim to mindtraps (unconscious thinking patterns), that we are not always are of. These patterns can be very unhealthy for our self-esteem and for our relationships. Here are two common examples with some techniques help to stop them.
“LABELLING AND MISLABELLING” consists of us naming, rather than describing, a specific behavior. We assign a label to someone, or to ourselves, that puts them or us in an absolute and irreversible negative view. Example, “he is such an incompetent fool!” This is a label, not a description of a specific behavior, and a behavior does not necessarily mean someone is a fool.
Some questions that tend to work for my clients are the following:
“What could be a different way of looking at this?”
“Is there a more positive way of looking at this?”
Finally, when you recognize you are labeling or being labeled, ask, “How specifically?” Example: “How specifically am I a jerk?” – which will suggest behaviors, rather than identity. In other words, just because I made a mistake doesn’t mean I am incompetent!
Have you ever caught yourself feeling personally responsible for an event that isn’t entirely under your control, and then blaming yourself on top of everything? This is a tendency known as “PERSONALIZATION & BLAME”. This tendency is particularly dangerous as it can lead extreme levels of guilt, shame, low self-esteem and potentially depression.
Take the following as an example: “My son is doing poorly in school. It’s all my fault, I must be a bad mother”.
To beat this tendency, ask:
How do you know [I am to blame]? “SAYS WHO?”
“Who/what else is involved in this problem?”
“Realistically, how much of this problem is actually my responsibility?”.
If there was no blame involved here, what would be left for me/us to look at?