Hi, how is your mental health? I hope you tried the CBT activity. During that activity did you realize that most of the problems we face in our life are due to the negative set of believes we hold about ourselves?

Well, Cognitive-behavioral therapy does aim to change our thought patterns, our conscious and unconscious beliefs, and, ultimately, our behavior, to help us face difficulties and achieve our goals.

But today let’s discover what kind of negative beliefs you hold about yourself and how you can apply the ABC method to resolve those beliefs. In other words, they are exaggerated or irrational thought patterns called “cognitive distortions”.

Keep a paper and pen while you read these so it helps you identify your irrational thought patterns about yourself. 

15 main cognitive distortions

1. Filtering

It is a thinking pattern in which a person ignores all the positive things in their life and focuses only on the negative things.  

2. Polarized Thinking /Black-and-White Thinking

When a person thinks in two extremes.

For example, if you don’t perform perfectly in some area, of your life then you may see yourself as a complete failure instead of simply identifying that you maybe unskilled or immature in one area.

3. Overgeneralization

Overgeneralization is when you take one incident or point drawing a conclusion based on that one incident. 

4. Jumping to Conclusions

Jumping to conclusions refers to the tendency to be sure of something without any evidence at all.

5. Catastrophizing / Magnifying or


This refers to expecting that the worst will happen or has happened, based on an incident. For example, you may make a small mistake at work and be convinced that you’ll lose your job.

As in, minimizing the importance of positive things.

6. Personalization

A person with this distortion will feel that he or she has an exaggerated role in the bad things that happen around them. They believe that they attract bad things.  

7. Control Fallacies

This distortion involves assuming that every mistake another person makes is because of something they did. This is something most desi moms do if a child does something they don’t approve of or like, they assume that it’s because of their upbringing. 

8. Fallacy of Fairness

We are often concerned about fairness, but this concern can be taken to extremes. As we all know, life is not always fair. The person who goes through life looking for fairness in all their experiences will end up resentful and unhappy.

9. Blaming

When you do not take responsibility for the way you feel or act. But blaming others for making us feel or act a certain way. 

10. “Shoulds”

“Shoulds” refer to the rules we made for ourselves and others. For example that this is how I should or should have behaved. Or this is how he/she should or should have behaved. When others break our rules, we are upset. When we break our own rules, we feel guilty. 

11. Emotional Reasoning

This distortion involves thinking that if we feel a certain way, it must be true. This cognitive distortion boils down to:

“I feel it, therefore it must be true.”

Our emotions are not always indicative of the objective truth, but it can be difficult to look past how we feel.

12. Fallacy of Change

The fallacy of change lies in expecting other people to change as it suits us. This ties into the feeling that our happiness depends on other people, and their unwillingness or inability to change, even if we demand it, keeps us from being happy.

13. Global Labeling / Mislabeling

This cognitive distortion is an extreme form of generalizing, in which we generalize one or two instances or qualities into a global judgment. For example, if we fail at a specific task, we may conclude that we are a total failure in not only that area but all areas.

14. Always Being Right

We may believe that being right is more important than the feelings of others, being able to admit when we’ve made a mistake, or being fair and objective.

15. Heaven’s Reward Fallacy

This distortion involves expecting that any sacrifice or self-denial will pay off. We may consider this karma, and expect that karma will always immediately reward us for our good deeds. This results in feelings of bitterness when we do not receive our reward (Grohol, 2016).

Was it eye opening? At least it was for me. By knowing my core beliefs about myself I was able to add new thinking patterns and slowly able to let go of irrational beliefs about myself. I hope you apply CBT technique on your cognitive distortions and understand yourself better. Till then take care. 

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