Disempowering Perspectives

April 30th, 2010

Recently, I read some interesting material during my coaching class about Disempowering Perspectives, and I thought it was worth writing about.  Many of us (including me) suffer from a disempowering perspecitve, particularly when stressed or anxious or when it’s ‘convenient’ to justify bad behaviour or negative self thoughts/assumptions.  It was helpful to read through these and think about where I might be using these perspectives in my life – particularly when I’m not achieving what I’d like to. Straight from my ICA text, here are some major groups of disempowering perspectives (McKay, Davis, and Fanning).

  • Filtering: Focussing on the negative details of a situation and filtering out all positive aspects.
  • Polarized Thinking: Seeing a situation as either, good or bad; right or wrong, perfect or a complete failure.
  • Mindreading: Making assumptions about what people are feeling, why they are acting as they are and how they feel about you
  • Catastrophiszing: Assuming the worst will happen
  • Personalization: Thinking that everything people do or say is a reaction to you
  • Control Fallacy:Thinking that you are responsible for everyone or everything around you, or alternatively, thinking that you are a victim of fate and have no control over anything
  • Fallacy of Fairness: Being resentful because you believe that everything in life should be fair
  • Emotional Reasoning: Believing that what you feel is the truth. For example, if you feel stupid, it means that you are stupid. If you feel guilty then you must have done something wrong.
  • Fallacy of Change: Believing that you cant be happy unless you can change those around you to behave the way you want them to
  • Global Labeling: Generalizing one or two qualities into the negative global judgment. For example, one doctor is rude to you so all doctors are arrogant and self-important
  • Blaming: Thinking that someone else causes everything negative in your life
  • Shoulds: You keep a list of rules about the way the world “should” operate and become angry or disappointed if others dont follow your rules.
  • Being Right: Going to any length to demonstrate your rightness becuase being wrong is terrible
  • Heaven’s Reward Fallacy: Feeling bitter when the rewards do not come that you think you deserve after working hard.

I particularly identify with emotional reasoning, personalization and the control fallacy – those seem to be the ones that surface for me in my life.  Actually after reading it again I think that I’ve used many of perspectives quite a few times in different situations!  Nobody’s perfect, but it’s good to assess your perspectives on challenging situations every so often to make sure they’re empowering ones.


About aly

my blog: www.liveworkthink.wordpress.com
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