Think you think clearly? Delusional. Most of us twist our thoughts and do so most of the time. Read on and think about when and why you twist thoughts.
The above are just a few ways, our need to avoid pain twists reality. Go here to for over a hundred more ways we fool ourselves and others.
Discouraging? Only if you expect perfection, deny, or awfulize.
Why do we do twist our thought? To stay sane and comfortable. Thinking clearly requires thought and thought requires time and our brains are impatient. Twisted thinking is a shortcut through life. AND that is okay most of the time. However, when trouble visits, it is time to think more deeply and logically.
Albert Ellis was the American psychologist who in 1955 developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and popularized searching for ways we twist our thoughts. Some of his thoughts provide a useful view of the need to untwist your thoughts:There’s no evidence whatsoever that men are more rational than women. Both sexes seem to be equally irrational. Life is indeed difficult, partly because of the real difficulties we must overcome in order to survive, and partly because of our own innate desire to always do better, to overcome new challenges, to self-actualize. Happiness is experienced largely in striving towards a goal, not in having attained things, because our nature is always to want to go on to the next endeavor. The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny. There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy. The concept of deservingness for one’s “sins” implies that certain acts are unquestionably under all conditions “sinful.” And this is impossible to prove. “Much of what we call emotion is nothing more or less than a certain kind – a biased, prejudiced, or strongly evaluative kind – of thought.”
IMPROVE YOUR ABILITY TO SPOT TWISTED THINKING
The following twelve exercises are designed to strengthen the ability to become a straight shooter instead of a twisted thinker:
- Think aloud when you can do so without being thought weird. Talking aloud improves thought and helps memory.
- Turning on your thinking cap while watching TV. Look during commercials for the hidden messages; also look for other ways commercials twist the truth to make you buy, buy, buy.
- As one pundit noted, “A commercial tries to convince you you have spent your whole life waiting breathlessly to own something you just found out existed.”
- Try to solve riddles. Here is a site you can find a more than a few to try: http://www.rinkworks.com/brainfood/p/riddles1.shtml
- Watch comedians and think about what makes them funny.
- Read jokes or look at the funnies looking for words with double meanings.
- Make a list of words that have double meanings and see if you can create your own joke book.
- Write a poem or prose description of something using metaphor.
- Imagine different endings to some of your favorite stories.
- When you find yourself disagreeing with someone, take a moment or two to figure out what twisted thinking is part of their agreement.
- Purposely use one or other twisted thinking items in an argument and see if anyone corrects you.
- Look for words like should, must, always and never; and challenge them. How?Saying the word back as a question
- When you think a situation has been thought through thoroughly say “And?” Do this when you think your thinking has reached an end. Do this when you think someone else’s thinking has reached an end.
All the exercises will eventually help your child learn to think more critically. Eventually is key. The younger the child, the more emotional reasoning applies. If they feel it, it is real. Why trying to fall asleep in a dark room creates monsters under the bed. Logic begins to enter a child’s mind when he begins to read, but true critical thinking really starts with puberty and for some never.
Another tip: Adolescents who have learned to think critically turn the spotlight on parents and others in authority. Rarely is that spotlight kind. It leads to what I call the Gotcha Wars. In these will struggles, the best advice is retreating into silence, although raised eyebrows and a quizzical look are permitted. Here’s a link to my wikipedia article How to Win a Gotcha War.
A check list to help you think clearly instead as your emotions dictate.
POST INSPIRATION: DAILY PROMPT
I often use these prompts to spark my posts. They work to improve critical thinking – the heart of emotional intelligence. You can think about the prompts as stated or use them to spark other thoughts which is what I usually do. If I put on my thinking cap the prompts can be related to Emotional Fitness. Here’s how I did that for this post.
DAILY PROMPT Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them? (Thanks for the suggestion, Chic Prune!)
How this relates to emotional fitness and today’s post: What I would say? When trouble brews for you or another, think what, when, where, and why; then remember what matters; practice kindness; honor past gifts; forgive others; forgive self; laugh, play, create.
All the handouts and poster coaches for this course are being posted at the store so you can download them for free (Handouts are in Black and White while Poster Coaches are in color.)
Some might not be up yet. I am a Jill of all in this business, so some things take longer than others. If a handout isn’t posted yet, you will find lots of other offerings including inspirational quotes or more EFTI exercises.
LINKS OF INTEREST
- Albert Ellis (en.wikipedia.org)
- Jerome Kagan ( goodtherapy.org )
- When Good Kids Get You in a Gotcha War (amazon.com)
- The Pleasure Pain Principle ( changingminds.org )
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
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Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.