“Your mindset is everything and determines the course of your life.”

-Dr. Tiffany

People often say, “All I have are negative thoughts,”eluding to the fact that they incapable of doing anything about them. This is far from the truth!  We can be empowered to begin changing our fixed mindsets.  First, you have to be aware of where your thinking may be going wrong, such as a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset (more on that so keep reading😉).

What is a Fixed Mindset?

Someone with a fixed mindset talks simply believes that their basic qualities cannot be changed or developed; thereby, they cannot change or be developed.

How limiting is this concept?!

I believe that each of us was created by The Creator (God) for a purpose with a purpose.  Therefore, if He creates (as He created us), we have the ability to create, right?

The same is true when discussing our abilities to train and expand our view of ourselves over time.

What is a Growth Mindset?

A person with a growth mindset understands that qualities about them AND their life has the possibility to change and evolve.  They are intentional about seeking out opportunities to grow and mature into themselves.  They are always learning and seeking new knowledge, opportunities and challenging negative mindsets when they show up because THEY WILL SHOW UP!

I know you’re wondering, “What does this have to do with challenging negative thoughts?”

I’m so glad you asked that!

I’m convinced that many people do not take the time to sit with themselves long enough to filter which of the two mindsets are more dominant for them.  When the fixed mindset is your dominant mindset, you may experience what the Psychology world calls cognitive distortions.

Cognitive distortions are defined as habitual errors in thinking. According to Healthline.com when you’re experiencing a cognitive distortion, the way you interpret events is usually negatively biased.  Which means that the way you interpret AND experience your life are also negatively impacted.

This is exactly how powerful our minds are!  I’d like to take a minute (or two) and go over 15 Cognitive Distortions that have been adapted from positivepsychology.com.

1. Filtering

Filtering happens when a person ignores all of the positive things that are going on in their life to only focus on the negative things.  This is detrimental because thinking only on negative things impact how the person begins to view themselves, others and the world around them.

The key to combatting this is to become intentional about listing something that you are grateful for daily.

2. Black and White Thinking

Black and white thinkers tend to think in terms of all-or-nothing.  Their all-or-nothing attitude not only impacts others around them as they may not offer much grace to others, but it also impacts the expectations that they place on themselves.

Making a mistake should never send a signal to you that you will ALWAYS make the same mistakes.

3. Overgeneralization

Overgeneralization happens when an individual takes a single incident that happened in their life and applies it to every area or aspect of their life.

For example, a person who failed a test in high school struggling with this thought distortion, may avoid taking future test because of their fear of failing.

4. Jumping To Conclusions/Mind Reading

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and they tell you what you’re thinking despite you denying that their accusations are false?

This would be a good example of mind reading.  When person immediately comes up with a conclusion about a particular situation with NO evidence of whether or not it is true, they may be struggling with this thought distortion.

To avoid being THAT person ⬆️:  1. Practice listening and 2. Practice repeating what you heard without putting your own interpretation on the person’s response.

5. Catastrophizing

A catastrophe in definition involved blowing a small situation into something bigger.  Another example of catastrophizing involves the belief that one bad mistake will lead to more bad mistakes.  It also involves the opposite effect called minimizing, which involves minimizing good qualities or characteristics about themselves or others.

6. Personalization

Personalization happens when a person has an exaggerated view of their role in a situation.  A 23 year old client that I once worked with on forgiveness, struggled with the grief of her parent’s divorce when she was 11.

Like most children in high conflict homes, she acted out at school and her grades suffered. From that situation, she developed the belief that if she had been a better child, they wouldn’t have divorced.

To challenge this distortion,  it is important to hold others responsible for their behavior and being aware when you are taking on another person’s mistakes or downfalls.

7. Control Fallacies

Control fallacy involves the belief that you’re somehow at fault or responsible for someone’s actions or inactions.  Much like personalization, a person struggling with this thought distortion involves an element of control.

Reality is, control is an illusion.  What do we actually have control over other than our reaction? Nothing!

8. Fallacy of Fairness

There are those that are stout believers in fairness such as therapist, lawyers, judges, and pastors.  However, wanting situations to be fair is a guideline not a fact.  People who struggle with this fallacy have an extreme view of fairness, finding it hard to give grace to others when they make mistakes that go against their beliefs. As a result, they may become overly critical or judgmental.

9. Blaming

Blaming involves the attempt to make another person responsible for your actions. This person may struggle with taking responsibility for their actions.

10. Shoulds

Expectations are a part of being in any relationships.  However, the trouble lies when expectations become too rigid or permissive.  When a person is struggling with this distortion, they place unhealthy expectations on themselves or others.  This leads to feelings of guilt when they do not reach their expectation or hurt when others don’t reach their expectations.

11. Emotional Reasoning

There is a movement in the mental health field that has been growing in past years that involves and over emphasis on how we feel.

The problem with becoming too hyper-focused on our feelings is that, our feelings are not always accurate.

Our feelings can be rooted in our experiences, trauma, past influences or other people’s experiences; therefore, they may not be an accurate depiction of the truth.

The key to the emotional reasoning fallacy is to acknowledge the feeling (as you should) and sort through where that feeling came from before acting on it.

12. Fallacy of Change

Of course many of us now someone that believes that they are perfect and they do no wrong, EVER 🙄

When a person is operating under a fallacy of change, they believe that people should change to conform to them.  They believe things such as, “If you love me, you would change” or “ If you cared for our family, you would come home on time”.

The truth is, a person changes ONLY when they decide to do so.

It does change your worth.  You are worth it, whether they change or not but it is their decision to do so.

You get to decide what your next move will be if they choose to not change.

13. Global Labeling/Mislabeling

The fallacy of global labeling or mislabeling means that a person extremely generalized one or two instances into a global judgment.

Let’s say you have been in a relationship with someone and they cheated.  Not one time did you suspect that he was cheating.  All of a sudden, you receive and inbox with a screenshot of messages from the other woman.  To ADD insult to injury, she explains how they have been together for 5 years and have a two year old son 🤯

What makes this even worse for you is that the exact same thing happened to you from the last relationship, except this guy vowed that he would be different.

From this example, it’s pretty easy to see how this could lead a person to feel that all men cheat, right?

Of course we know this is not true.  There are some men that are honest and value loyalty, relationships and integrity.  It is important to keep in mind to NOT allow one (or a few) bad experiences to taint your beliefs.

14. Always Being Right

Well friend, this is self explanatory.  Or at least is should be because most of us know at least one person who thinks that they are always right.  If you are that person just gently nod your head and keep reading 😂

This distortion is distinguished by whether or not the person is capable of acknowledging others.  If not, they could come off as selfish and dismissive, which makes for a pretty unbalanced partnership with this person.

15. Heaven’s Reward Fallacy

This fallacy involves the thought that you will always be rewarded for good deeds or sacrifices.  People who believe that their sacrifices should be awarded or acknowledged are said to be martyrs.

Though I firmly believe that we should be rewarded when doing something well, I do not feel that a reward is always necessary.  Some of the rewards we will receive, will not be seen until we are long gone from this Earth.  Consider the works of people such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who died before he was able to see the fruits of his sacrifices.

“Awareness leads to insight and insight propels action”

-Dr. Tiffany 

The purpose of this article is to help you gain awareness about what you are thinking.  To go a step forward, I want to challenge you to not just be aware of what you are thinking but why you may be thinking it.  The awareness leads to insight and insight propels action.  When you are faced with insight, you simply have to make a decision of whether or not to make changes.

I challenge you today to download a copy of the FREE MINDSET WORKSHEET and begin working though distorted thinking.  It’s sometimes hard to do so alone which is why on Day 1 of the H.E.A.L Retreat, we will talk about how to begin shifting our mindset. Healing can only take place in community with other like-minded and supportive women.  Join the H.E.A.L Community today HERE.