Distorted beliefs are a set of beliefs that you tell yourself that are not true. Distorted beliefs feel real, but they are not based in fact. The concept of distorted beliefs is actually a principle of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT places value on the way you think, including distorted beliefs.
Distorted beliefs occur as the result of an event. Consider this, if you had a negative childhood and verbal abuse was part of your growing up, you may grow up to believe that you are not worth much. Even though the event that happened was terrible, you are a valuable, worthy human.
Recognizing when you have negative, distorted beliefs takes some practice. Be patient with yourself as you try to learn this new skill. A good way to start recognizing positive and negative thoughts is to stop and think through the thoughts. Once you have a thought, ask yourself the following questions:
The words always or never are concrete words. For example, “I always mess up.” When you stop and think this thought through, do you really always mess up? Always means 100% of the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is not possible. Try to take the words always and never out of your vocabulary.
Now that you have started to recognize realistic versus distorted beliefs, tell yourself the facts. For instance, you don’t always mess up. You may make mistakes sometimes, but you are really good at (fill in the blanks).
Now that you are recognizing when your thinking patterns are building you or tearing you down, replace the negative with the positive. For example, you may not always be on time for a meeting, but when you are there you contribute and apologize for your tardiness. You take ownership and jump right in. This means that you can recognize your faults and work to correct them. Take note of the difference in the way this process sounds and feels.
At The Kimberly Center, we understand how powerful thoughts and beliefs about self really are. We want to help you build the life skills you need so you can have the best chance for success in your recovery. Call us now at 855-4-KCENTER. We are committed to putting you and your recovery first. At the Kimberly Center, you are in safe hands.