Today’s post will examine some of the irrational thought patterns that can mess with our ability to communicate effectively. These patterns of thinking are called irrational fallacies because they are just that – thoughts that don’t make sense because they aren’t true. Every time we fall prey to these types of thoughts, we are not able to stay on track with effective communication.
So, let’s take a look at how wide ranging our irrationality can be and keep in mind – we are all guilty of thinking in these ways at certain times. Awareness is our friend here.
The Fallacy of Perfection
We believe that we should never make a mistake or screw-up. We get the idea that perfection is possible, for ourselves and others. We all make mistakes. Accept it. There is no other choice. End of message.
The Fallacy of Approval
We believe that everyone must like and approve of everything we do and everything we are. News flash – this is never going to happen. Thinking this way will only cause us to feel let down, disappointed, and resentful.
The Fallacy of Should
We waste our time thinking: I should be a better communicator, I should be smarter, I should be further ahead, I should work harder, I should be a better this, that or the other thing. Why should we be any of these things? Where is it written? We need to stop “shoulding” on ourselves and become proactive. If we start saying – I could . . . maybe we will.
The Fallacy of Overgeneralization
This is your basic all or nothing thinking and language. For example: You always do this; I never get it right; you never listen to me; I’m always made out to be the bad guy. Reality check – no one (you included) ever does anything all or none of the time. These blanket statements are silly, and whenever we catch ourselves throwing one out, we need to take a deep breath and think about what we’re saying.
The Fallacy of Causation
This is the false belief that our emotional state has been caused by another person rather than by our own self-talk. We tell ourselves something like: You make me feel so angry. The reality is that we haven chosen anger from any number of emotions we could have picked based on the messages we told ourselves. The buck stops here, folks. Our emotional states are our choices.
The Fallacy of Helplessness
This is the belief that happiness in life is based on forces just beyond our control. For example, we think: If I could only have the right job, look a certain way, have the perfect guy or girl for a partner (fill in whatever you want here) then I would be happy or satisfied or fulfilled. We are the authors of our own life stories. I know this idea is scary, but it is also liberating. Think about it.
The Fallacy of Catastrophic Expectations
Murphy’s Law thinking – if it is possible for something to go wrong, it will, and whatever does go wrong will be monumental. If we are honest with ourselves, the worst case scenarios we build up in our heads seldom come to pass. That’s a good thing to remember.
You might be thinking – Hey, Saying What Matters Lady – you’re sounding kind of harsh here. People do get treated shitty, you know. Life is hard. The world is unfair. I hear you. At the same time, we are often our own worst enemies. How about we stop letting the irrational thought patterns choke the life out of our ability to communicate.
As always – I invite you to think about what I’m saying. Get curious when you find yourself falling into irrational thought patterns. Ask yourself if there could be another way to think.
Bye for now.