The mission of being happy (Part B: recognizing faulty thinking)

Recognizing faulty thinking (all credits back to Sarah Edelman, the original collector of theories)

After reading on Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) I felt like it was still the best to go back to the roots and start with briefing on “faulty” thinking. I believe that nothing is absolutely right or absolutely wrong, but it would be based on the starting point of if this belief gives you pleasure or harm to other people — which could eventually be backfired on yourself. Edelman categorized 10 different types of faulty thinking, basically covering all aspects of social interactions:

Among the 10 common issues I personally have touched base with all of them, and I still somehow implement the negative thoughts in some daily issues. I believe that my recognitions, given the background of a strong Western influence with Chinese base, are somehow swinging, as I acknowledge that some of the things that we value in the Chinese system will sound ridiculous in the Western system.
For example, blaming others doesn’t always make you feel good about yourself.
For example, comparing your own kid to the kids of other families that might have gotten a higher grade is partial and biased to evaluate if your kid is solely worse than that kid, although this is common practice in China. (I would in the near future open an article on talking about my observations of Chinese/Western cognition diifferences)
…. and many etc.

​It somehow is interesting that we are doing things that hurt both ourselves and other people, out of some strange beliefs that other people will be hurt more than us. We proactively say some things to spread information on others, with a wish that everyone is gonna dig very deep into our lives and binge on knowing what we are doing rather than focusing on their own lives. It’s also somehow weird for me that while China brands its culture completely to be collective, the interpretations of everything that people have done to maintain this collectivity was to contribute to a certain person’s welfare. Growing up under the collective influence yet lived abroad for several years already, I had personal experiences of confrontation and being sandwiched in between with neither side understanding my situation and dilemma. Realizing intercultural situations can be easy, but how to cope with it and really turn the situation into an inspiring idea exchange instead of an awkward confrontation of completely different and “mutually exclusive” cultures can be very challenging.

Nevertheless, the key to resolving all of these issues — or at least to have a good first step to face them bravely, is to trust and believe in them. Once you believe that you are the unique one, you will release because you have some things that other people will not be able to obtain using whichever ways.

In my opinion, everyone is in very similar situation as me. We know the manners, and have always been telling ourselves that “we need winners, but we also need people that stand at the finishing point and cheer for the winners.” However, implementing good intensions and kindness is hard work, as bad habits are going against human nature. We prefer laziness, being better than other people, having more things than other people, procrastination, because we don’t want to be hurt or don’t want to waste our efforts. Everyone has the desire to win, or in the worse situations calming one down by concluding that “I’m not good enough to be the best”.

Points of views are very interesting on how we recognize things and interpret them according to our recognitions of them. Being objective has never been that difficult and easy — once you realize that you are always somehow blurred and the desire of knowing the truth drives you to know a bit more of other people’s hidden motivations and reasons. These 10 issues are so much more than common around everyone — and everyone is to some degree inheriting these points of views and not 100% objective. That said, it’s completely ok to recognize these issues, and try to implement ways to think more positively and cope with hard situations more at ease — that is also the core of CBT, to better cope with difficult situations and act more appropriately instead of “killing all the badness”.

In the next blog I will follow up on these 10 issues of faulty thinking with Edelman’s categorization example exercises, and share my answers and analysis towards better targeting the issues.

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