A few blogs ago, I wrote about my nasty habit of jumping to conclusions, something which causes me to read minds and predict the future, always seeing the worst possible outcomes and scenarios.
Today, I want to mention another bad thinking habit – disqualifying the positive.
This style of thinking causes a person to discount anything seemingly positive or indeed anything that doesn’t fit with their own perception of another person, a situation or themselves. It goes hand-in-hand with confirmation bias, whereby we see the world through a mental filter, accepting only what agrees and reinforces our views and ignoring what doesn’t.
Thinking in this way used to be my default mode – so I’ve practiced disqualifying the positive many, many times over the years.
And I still catch myself doing it, thinking:
They’re only saying that to be nice.
I’ve pissed her off. She’s just too polite to say so.
He doesn’t really mean it. He must feel sorry for me.
But nowadays, I have a pre-planned response: what the heck do you know?!
Because what do I know, really?! I’m not a mind-reader. So I really have no clue as to what people might really think or feel when they say or act as they do.
Of course, it’s hard to trust in peoples’ good intentions, especially when you’ve practised assuming the worst of them for most of your lifetime. But is trusting in our own negative voice really an effective alternative? No. It’s not.
Therefore, if we can’t trust in ourselves and our negative assumptions and we can’t read people’s minds, then there’s nothing else for it other than to trust in what people say and do unless they convincingly prove otherwise.
Which means that as much as it might pain you, you’re going to have to take a complement now and again.