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Daily Reflection – Catastrophising

December 6, 2016

So I am delving further into the book Mind Power by James Borg, trying to glean some insights from it to take in my own life. Firstly I want to say what a good book it is in the sense that it promotes these ideas in a very no-nonsense, straightforward manner. It is not like the usual self help stuff that tends to fall into one of two categories: 1) Spiritual and tied up with moral pronouncements regarding altruism, generic humanity and such like. Concepts that I find irksome in recent years. 2) Business like and geared towards success and making money and “progress”. An approach that far from motivating me just brings up thoughts in my mind of what a selfish, conceited world we live in, where if this is what we are pursuing then forget it I would rather not pursue it. Thankfully, this book Mind Power avoids both those categories. It portrays the concepts for you, and leaves it to yourself what values and use you want to make of those concepts.

Today, reading through chapter 2 on Distorted thinking I did come to some insight on some of my tendencies to engage in one of these thinking styles, namely catastrophising. So something happens, and you straight away rush to catastrophic consequences. For example, some girl rejects my advances. I catastrophise, no girl will ever be interested in me, the whole world is against me, making it impossible for me to meet a girl, etc.. Such a thought chain for me lately led me to even contemplate suicide as may have come out in some of my poems. Its hard to imagine now that I am somewhat free of these thoughts, but such can be the power of distorted thinking.

The problem I think comes down to my inability to handle rejection, as I tend to see it as a rejection of everything I am and ever was, and of my very existence. I don’t just see it as a rejection there and then of me as an immediately viable candidate for a partner. I see it as a once and for all rejection of everything I have ever lived and fought for in my life. No wonder I then catastrophise about it! But clearly I am seeing it wrong, and not seeing it for what it is. I am doing a disservice to my reality and to myself, and to the reality of all those around me by thinking in this way.

This is tied up with another kind of distorted thinking I engage in, which is to criticise not my mistakes themselves, but myself for making those mistakes. You can change a mistake if you identify it, but you cannot change yourself, so if you start thinking you are the problem in some generic way, you give yourself little room for change and improvement in the future. I have here a clear pattern to work on in the future, namely not to catastrophise when rejected, but to practice shrugging it off and moving forward. Not internalising it, but leaving it there where it happens and moving on. Maybe I need to make a thousand mistakes approaching a girl, before I get it right. And so be it, the lessons learned from a thousand different mistakes is infinitely more than the lessons learned from the same mistake a thousand times.

I just need to always find ways to focus on criticising the mistake itself, in its context, and not myself for making the mistake, that way you ensure yourself against making the same mistakes over and over.

  1. You are not the only one who does these things – it’s good that you are reflecting on them – I do this too and it really helps me

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