Is your view on life distorted?
As a cognitive behavioural therapist (in training currently) and as a counsellor, I am trained to spot distorted versions of reality in my clients. Often, these distorted views create immense anxiety and depression and once these distortions are identified, questioned and altered into more objective and realistic interpretations, clients mood tend to improve.
We all have some distortions, may that we have picked up in childhood. These distortions become so ingrained in how we see ourselves and the world around us that we believe they are valid and accurate.
For example, I had a client who had very low self esteem and this had stemmed from highly critical parents.She had received continuous messages as a child that she was ugly and useless. She had taken these repeated negative messages and internalised them – she began to believe them as see these labels as part of who she was.
In the end, that was all she could see – that she was ugly and worthless. Her view on life was distorted and she had never had a relationship as she believed no one would ever love her as she was. Only once we started to look at the source – how her parents had told her things that weren’t true and that they were merely her parent’s opinions, she began to make progress and build up her self esteem.
Always be aware of your thoughts and remember that some thoughts are completely inaccurate. If some thoughts make you especially unhappy – look at them in more detail. Where do these thoughts come from? Is there any obvious evidence for them? Are they helpful? Probably not. Learn to look at things in a different way, always ask if there is another way to look at something. If you are self critical, ask yourself how this is helpful to you. Basically – it isn’t. Parents can mess up their kids with their thoughtless remarks and create years of misery.
As long as you remember to question your thoughts regularly – especially the negative ones and remember that thoughts aren’t facts, you are on the right path. Our thoughts can create heaven or hell for us – use them carefully.