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Dr. Colbert states, “Your perceptions determine how you see the world. The mind is similar to a computer –the brain is the hard drive, and the perceptions are the ‘software.’ It is the perception of people, demands, issues, and circumstances-not the actual people, demands, issues, or circumstances in and of themselves-that dictate how a person will react” (33).

a. He notes several distorted thought patterns that people adopt in life.

i. All-or-nothing thinking – For this kind of person, there are no gray areas. Anything less than his standard of ‘perfect’ is worthless (38).

ii. Overgeneralizations – A person who overgeneralizes thinks that if one thing goes wrong, nothing will ever go right for him ever (39).

iii. A negative mental filter – This kind of distortional thinking causes a person to hear a half hour of praise after a job evaluation but leave the meeting depressed because of one area ‘needing improvement’ (39).

iv. Disqualifying the positive – Even more distortional is when a person takes a positive experience and turns it into a negative one. These kind of thinkers feel they are not worthy of any praise under any circumstances (40).

v. Jumping to conclusions – People who jump to conclusions predict the worst possible outcome or circumstance without having any, or all, the facts to support their conclusions (41).

1. Mind reading- you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out (40).

2. The fortune teller error – you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already –established fact.

vi. Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization – You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections).

vii. Emotional reasoning – You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.” (41).

viii. Fixed rule thinking- This person is a ‘should,’ ‘must,’ or ‘ought to’ person. He confines people and events to his rules and fails to realize the fact that he can’t force anyone to adhere to them. The more rigid the rules, the greater the person’s disappointment. That disappointment usually plays out as worry, depression. Frustration, irritation, or guilt (43).

ix. Labeling and mislabeling – A person who attaches a negative label to himself or someone else tends to do so because of his own low self-esteem (43).

x. Personalization – This kind of thinking shifts the blame of an outcome on self. Unfortunately in our society, many children who come from dysfunctional homes become trapped in this kind of thinking: “Daddy left mommy because I was bad” (44).

xi. Life is fair, and everybody is entitled to a good life – The truth is life is not fair. (45).

xii. I need to be liked and accepted by everyone- Truth is not everybody will like you (45).

xiii. People should behave properly – If you expect other people to always behave toward you in the way you consider ‘proper’ you will live in a state of frustration, anger and stress (45).

xiv. The worst outcome will probably occur – The worst outcome is rarely what comes to pass. Worrying about things beyond your control leads to excessive stress (45).

xv. I am unable to change the way I am – This belief is guaranteed to lead to stress (46).

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