Lies We Tell Ourselves: Cognitive Distortions

It took me until age today to realize how much time I spent talking myself into believing all of the things that I was bad at or couldn’t do. Somewhere along the way, I built up a system of lies that I told myself and others. “I am bad at math” (okay, that one is true). “I am not creative.” “I am not a tech person.” “I don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body.” Now this all plays into my self-deprecating sense of humor those that know me have come to love. However, I blindly subscribed to beliefs that have no basis in reality, except the math thing. How many adventures did this stop me from going on? What did these deeply rooted false beliefs prevent me from learning or growing from?

This realization could have caused me to spiral into all of the what ifs, but I am choosing to use it to reframe my future. My main therapeutic framework is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which means I help people identify automatic negative thoughts that then lead to unwanted feelings and unwanted behavior. I am attempting to apply that process to this system of thoughts I developed probably very early on.

These new realizations came from a decision to build a private counseling practice. All of a sudden, I was filled with creative ideas, entrepreneurial ideas for how to use my skills to help people in a way that fits me. I designed my website and even used some basic coding skills. I got positive feedback about the site, some even asked if I might help with theirs. The thought “I am not a tech person” pops in. Look at all the evidence to the contrary. It appears, I am actually quite good at it.

 “I am not creative.” No, I do not knit, paint or draw worth a crap. That does not mean that I am not creative in other ways. I can sing, build websites, have a lot of entrepreneurial ideas and other traits that do not fit the prescribed personality and profile I created for myself over the years.

Consider what lies you tell yourself about your abilities and things you think you are bad at or cannot do. We all have weaknesses (math), and that’s okay, but there are likely a number of things that you can do and are good at that you are unaware of. Become aware of the thought, recognize it, stop it in its tracks, question it, admit that it is untrue/irrational and then replace it with the truth.