Each of us is determined by our upbringing and personal history, but habitual ideas interfere with an unbiased look at the world. In order not to be captivated by them, we have to identify and analyze them.
Recognizing one belief or another is a big step on the path to change because what we have recognized, we can change, says psychotherapist Michelle Lezhuayo. “If we want to fulfill our desires and free ourselves from repeating negative scenarios, we need to understand the mechanisms of our errors.”
Positive psychology names some attitudes that prevent single parents dating, makes our fears grow, stops us from building strong relationships, going forward and developing. Four of them we have distinguished as the most destructive because they generate negative thoughts and actions.
Mental set 1: “Everything is either black or white”
Categorical opinions (“This is nonsense, and nothing more!”), exaggerated estimates (“He is simply a genius”). You are used to generalizing and exaggerating. Always, never, everything, nobody. You go from one extreme to another quick, and each time you pass the middle ground.
You dream of perfection, and if it does not come, you feel that you have lost, or are angry. For you, “who is not the first, that loser.” Your relationship with others is also binary. On one side are friends and allies, on the other are enemies.
Consequences: your feelings and relationships are like a roller coaster. Because of harsh judgments, you lose your chances, enter into conflicts that could have been avoided, and your ardor is replaced by disappointments.
Tip: learn to use the word “but,” introducing the opposite element and thereby forcing you to feel the subtleties and shades: “This is nonsense, but …” “He is a genius, but …”
Mental set 2: “Bad must happen again”
Your ideas about yourself, others and the future are usually painted in gloomy tones. You agree with the statement “once betrayed, betrayed again” and evaluate the future judging from past negative experiences. “I was abandoned, and now I will never meet my love,” “I failed this exam, I will fail the rest,” and so on. You do not believe that people can develop and learn lessons. You do not give a partner a second chance which is immature. Only in fairytales, some villains do not change and keep deceiving while falling to their tricks makes you foolish and naïve. People make mistakes but realizing them is the first step towards improvement.
Consequences: obedience to fate, anxiety, unwillingness to act, excessive suspicion. Lack of enthusiasm, faith in oneself and others. You fear the future, the present is painful.
Tip: learn from the past, not obey it. Why and how exactly did I fail? What can be done to avoid damage or minimize it in the future? Why do I think that everyone is the same?
Mental set 3: “Call of duty”
“It is a must,” “I cannot,” “I have to.” These mantras, sometimes unconscious, control your behavior and life in general. In your personal life, you do the majority of work for your partner and take on unnecessary obligations no one has asked you to take. It is difficult for you to switch, allow yourself breaks, and your pleasures are accompanied by feelings of guilt. As a result, you are engaged in “musturbation.” You constantly think about what you need to do and cannot allow yourself to relax or divide the duties into two. But to build relationships, you need two engaged individuals.
Consequences: physical and psychological fatigue, background feeling of injustice. You take offense at yourself for your inability to say no, and at others — for what they do not try hard enough. All this causes rage, which sometimes splashes out on others.
Tip: Learn to say no. Prioritize, check each “I need/should.” Didn’t you invent them for yourself? If so, then choose the one that bothers you the most, and pause the rest. Try to fulfill only those obligations, failure to fulfill which will entail complications. For example: to refuse a trip to another country with your loved one that you do not want at all and to ask them to do the dishes for you are different things.
Setting 4: “My emotions manage my actions”
You are very restrained, impulsive, letting emotions control you. You trust your feelings more than thoughts and analysis. Emotions seem to you a source of immutable truth, and therefore you often act too hastily.
Consequences: the choice you make is often not in your interest.
Tip: learn to accept your emotions, separate feelings from facts. Give yourself time before moving on to the actions and insults of your partner. As soon as you feel calmer, consider what you can do in this situation to take care of your interests. Try meditation.