Continuing on in the series on thought traps.
Thought Trap #2: Overgeneralization
You see a single negative event as a never ending pattern of defeat. Phrases like "You always" or "You never" are examples. You hurt someone's feelings and think, "I'm always insensitive." You make a mistake and think, "I never get things right."
Is this one of your public speaking thought traps?
If you forget a portion of your presentation, do you say to yourself, "I never remember anything"? If you go over your time slot, do you say, "I always run out of time"?
One major problem with overgeneralization is that you allow yourself no motivation for change. If you determine that you're "always" or "never" this way, why bother doing anything about it? This is a dangerous thought trap to fall into. It reminds me, in fact, of Carol Dweck's "fixed mindset." Not a healthy place to be, or an easy place to get out of.
Again, here are steps for approaching these thoughts once you become aware of them:
1. Write it down. Writing automatically provides perspective and helps reveal distorted thinking.
2. Identify the distressing event. What's really bothering you?
3. Identify your negative emotions.
4. Identify the negative thoughts tied to your emotions.
5. Identify distortions and substitute the truth.
And my addition:
6. Take action. What will you do differently next time?