Who has never thought “I will not be able to pass this exam”, “I will never find a good job”, “I am worth nothing”, “I am sure I will get sick, table mate” or “I will not find never a partner “? These types of thoughts are known in psychology as irrational beliefs.
These thoughts can sometimes appear in isolation, however they become a problem when they repeat themselves and so constant that they limit and block the person in certain facets and activities of daily living. For example: in the workplace, when socializing, speaking in public or even babysitting.
So, the worst of these beliefs is not only that they are irrational, but that they work by blocking us, like thoughts that sabotage and limit us.
Since we came into the world, through the education we receive and the relationships we have established, we have developed a way of thinking and we created thought patterns in relation to experiences and lived situations. Through these diagrams, we will interpret the information received from each situation that we live, being for us an objective interpretation based on reality. However, just having certain thought patterns and not others means that we are always experiencing what is happening to us subjectively.
This doesn’t mean that our way of thinking is totally “detached” from reality, of course. Some of our beliefs, although they may not match reality perfectly, are realistic enough to work for us. However, others are largely irrational.
These irrational beliefs are misinterpretations of what’s going on around us. These are negative and automatic thoughts, which are beyond our control, it is as if our mind is boycotting us. It is these thoughts that can lead us to develop dysfunctional moods and generate great discomfort, without realizing it, because for us our thoughts are reality.
The magnetism of sabotaging thoughts
Interestingly, even though limiting thoughts are based on irrational beliefs, that doesn’t mean we end up rejecting the idea that they don’t correspond to reality. This is so because, by believing in them, they become, in part, a reality.
In fact, the discomfort generated by these beliefs, as well as the tendency to attribute success to luck and failures to our attributes, make no matter what, we keep believing in these irrational ideasThis in turn makes us more likely to fail or not try to achieve our goals due to fear and anxiety.
From a specific stimulus, a thought will be activated, and from there a chain of events will be generated. Thought is a generator of emotion and emotion will result in behavior.
For example, think of a person going by metro when suddenly the metro is stopped in the tunnel by a breakdown and the passengers spend more than thirty minutes locked in the car. After this episode, this person will go to the metro the next day, again, to go to work.
Once inside the wagon they start to pull – constant negative and automatic thoughts of the type “sure the metro stops again today”, “how it stops me again gives me something” , “I can’t stand being stuck with so many people here. ”
These thoughts begin to generate great discomfort in him, he begins to feel that the lack of air, that he cannot breathe, his heart speeds up, symptoms that make him worry more and more and that these “self-boycott thoughts” increase at times becoming a circle which is unstoppable for the person.
The man decides that the best idea will be to get out of the car at the next stop even if it is not his own, once outside he is much better and his thoughts diminish. It’s avoidance behavior, Seeing in this example how limiting these thoughts can be.
If we get used to harboring these kinds of irrational beliefs, we fall into the trap; limiting thoughts eventually dominate usIn other words, we lose control over them and they become a real time bomb for us. We let ourselves be totally carried away by them. Because? Because for us it is our reality, it is what we have learned to interpret from a given situation.
And do our brains always go the extra mile to turn this situation into something catastrophic and unresolved. When we are at this stage, we can act in a passive way, that is to say we see that there is nothing to do. This in psychology is known as learned helplessness; the person is inhibited in certain situations because of the feeling that he cannot do anything and does not respond even if there are opportunities to change the situation that he is avoiding.
This can happen for example when faced with a type of cognitive error called guesswork, for example someone will have thought more than once “because I am going to study if I still fail on this”. There is a real possibility that the person will do something about this situation, they may need to study or strive harder than with other subjects, but they think they can never be successful.
This idea will have arisen from previous experiences where he was able to suspend several times, probably appearing catastrophic cognitive distortion “I never passed this topic, I will go in September, but in September I will not pass and finally I can never take the race. “This passive position that we take in the face of the situation it can lead us to deep sadness and even develop depressive feelings, because you see the strength that our thoughts can have on ourselves.
What to do? possible solutions
It is important that little by little learn to identify your own cognitive distortions and the emotions that are triggered by those thoughts. If you detect them, you will have a greater ability to control them and prevent them from limiting and dominating you in different areas of our life.
Writing about these thoughts and feelings is also a very beneficial thing. It helps us to externalize ourselves and to come out of our discomfort, this allows us to give it form and meaning and for a moment we can cut this circle which is fed back and forth.
If these kinds of thoughts are assaulting you constantly, it’s because something is wrong with you – maybe you have damaged your self-esteem or you are spending time going through a difficult situation that you don’t know how to handle. . Pay attention to the signals and alarms that your mind and body set on, and they can alert you that it’s time to call for help. We can help you.