I’ve had enough personal experience in therapy to be well aware of the types of cognitive distortions there are, usually addressed with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT. This blog isn’t about how this therapy works. I’m referring to CBT to identify the types of cognitive distortions or, simply put – negative thinking – that can happen to an individual that consequently affects a relationship. Negative thoughts = negative energy. This is exhausting, draining both you and the energy between you and your beloved.
According to PsychCentral, there are 15 common cognitive distortions:
- Polarized Thinking (or “Black and White” Thinking)
- Jumping to Conclusions
- Control Fallacies
- Fallacy of Fairness
- Emotional Reasoning
- Fallacy of Change
- Global Labeling
- Always Being Right
- Heaven’s Reward Fallacy
I struggle with many of the above distortions, especially taking things personally and jumping to conclusions – the conclusions are always of negative intent – the worst will always happen- and there is another distortion – catastrophizing!
I gotta say, in all my years in therapy – “Heaven’s Reward Fallacy” is new to me! I’m quite happy to see this on the list. Religion and guilt, in my humble opinion, go hand-in-hand, as PsychCentral’s definition suggests: “…the false belief that a person’s sacrifice and self-denial will eventually pay off, as if some global force is keeping score.” God is watching you! You better behave! You better do the right thing! In my spiritual world, a supernatural, loving force is the opposite of judgement and keeping score.
Click here to read the definitions of the above listed cognitive distortions on PsychCentral.
Negative Intent vs Positive Intent
I first heard this term in the workplace. It was said by a teacher before going into a staff meeting. She mentioned in passing about switching her attitude about the meeting from negative intent to a positive intent – that the staff meeting would be a good one.
If you get called down to the principal’s office – what is your first reaction? Negative intent or positive intent? I bet you think you’re gonna get in trouble! This is an example of negative intent.
The work place, for me, is one of the most difficult arenas to navigate – because most people truly don’t have your best interest at heart. Assuming positive intent of another’s thoughts and actions of you as part of a team, in my experience, is tricky. Not many workplace cultures breed positive intent – kinda difficult in a hierarchal employment setting where the leaders set the tone. I’ve worked over 37 jobs in my lifetime. Rarely, have I experienced leaders (bosses) who inspire and motivate me to be the best employee I can be.
Anywho, I’m getting off topic. But, I do bring this up because in my experience trust is built on positive intent and taken away with negative intent.
Lenses of Trust
Wearing the lenses of negative thinking, cognitive distortions, or negative intent is a waste of valuable energy and the opposite of trust. I still struggle with these lenses. However, mindfulness, exercise, and living an overall healthy lifestyle helps to build my self-confidence, bringing me out of my head and into my heart, energizing me with love! Positive thoughts = positive energy!
Once I’m in my heart, my lenses transition from negative to positive intent.
When I’m wearing lenses of positive intent, all the negative intent I feel in my marriage switches to compassion and positive intent.
When I’m wearing lenses of positive intent, all the negative intent I feel in the workplace switches to compassion and positive intent.
When I’m wearing lenses of positive intent, I bring compassion and joy… wherever I go!
About me: Stephanie Wells
I’m a Reiki Master Teacher of Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui System of Natural Healing. I was attuned in Levels I, II & IIIA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. During a 6 week stay in Mararikulam North, Kerala, India I was reattuned in Levels I, II, & IIIA as well as acquiring my Level IIIB Master Teacher attunement.