Tuesday, February 28, 2017

#Cognitive Distortion-- #Black and White Thinking

Cognitive distortions are inaccurate,biased thought patterns which mostly spawn negative emotions about ourselves or the world around us.These negative emotions influence our beliefs as well as our behavior,and foment relationship conflicts,anxiety or depression.If we become habituated to distorted thinking,we fail to realize that our views about our own self or those around us are totally misplaced.The resultant agony can be averted by nailing the irrational/exaggerated/faulty thought patterns and getting rid of them.

One such cognitive distortion is Black and White Thinking-the belief that things are either right or wrong, good or bad.Those who fall prey to such thinking totally miss  that there are many more shades in between,which are much more common and reasonable.

How often do you utter polar words like awful-awesome,disgusting-heavenly,scoundrel-saint,imbecile-genius,detestable-lovable?These extreme terms certainly embellish our language with color and intensity,but do they portray the said person or situation accurately?Seldom can any individual or circumstance be pinned at one end of the spectrum.

Many of our problems start when we begin to think of life conditions or our own image in such extremes.Suppose I fail to finish a project in time and then curse myself that this always happens with me,I am good for nothing.Finishing it on the dot was what counted with me and since this did not happen,I felt that I had failed--totally!I did not consider how near completion my work was,and how good its quality.If I always gloss over the finer/better aspects of any situation then my vision of the world,or my life,will always be dark and murky.

Suppose I expect a friend to support me in an ongoing altercation but she chooses to take the other side.Upon going home I rave and rant about her,using epithets like mean,horrible,good for nothing;forgetting her other sterling qualities.I may even break off with her,and then repent all my life.The correct thought should have been that she had disappointed me this time.No one is all good or all bad,and expecting people to conform to your specifications can mar relationships.

It can even become worse.Think of the various instances of young students killing themselves simply because they could not gain admission in an institute of their choice.Why couldn't they have settled for the second best and continued to live?The same thing happens when a lover's advances are spurned by his/her heartthrob.So many people sink into depression or contemplate suicide because of such setbacks,overlooking the positive aspects of their lives.It is all or nothing for them--another name for Black and white thinking.

This kind of thinking wipes out the whites and leaves only dismal,depressing blacks.Therefore,if you catch yourself slipping into this mode,pause.Do a reality check.How close to truth are you?What are the facts which point to the opposite direction?Introspect --what is it in you which prompted you to use that term?Is it a bias,vindictiveness,jealousy,lack of confidence,poor self esteem,past experience,or habitual despondence?

Once you begin to view reality in a rational,objective manner, a lot of your anxiety will dissolve,leaving a more amicable and peaceful you behind.

Next--Fortune Telling

Image,courtesy google.


  1. check my comments,something related to your last post



  2. Very nice analysis of some common wrong views and realizations...
    Very positive message through this post.

  3. Acceptance of imperfections (yours and your loved ones) is what maturity is all about, no?

  4. Very true,Induji. So necessary to not the judgement be clouded by Black and White!

  5. nice detailed analysis of a situation we all face in our lives.

    1. Thank-you Sujatha,this reminds me of the old times😃


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