Funny Motivational Speaker
Within an hour of waking up this morning…
I’d dropped my favorite coffee cup; it shattered and splattered across my tile.
I slipped on my icy driveway, scattering mail into open puddles.
I found my best sweater in the dryer, shrunken to a 2T.
“Everything’s going wrong, and it’s only Monday!” I moaned, gathering up more complaints:
my toast burned,
I’d slept poorly,
my package would be late.
I’d fallen into a cognitive distortion called mental filtering.
Cognitive distortions are ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t true.
These inaccurate distortions typically reinforce negative thinking or emotions.
We believe these pessimistic thoughts are rational and accurate, but they are not. Instead of being real, these negative filters only keep us feeling bad about ourselves.
When thinking through a mental filter, the person focuses only on the bad aspects of a situation and filters out all the good elements. People with this form of gloomy thinking often see their glass as being half empty rather than half full.
Last week, my friend Diane, who is an expert in her field, spoke at a local service club. During her presentation, a businessman walked out and didn’t return. After her speech, many members thanked her for her valuable presentation. But while talking to me, she focused on the guy who left. She wondered if he would have stayed had her speech been more entertaining.
Diane was so upset about Exit-Man that she couldn’t absorb the compliments she received from the rest of the audience. Instead, Diane can reframe by focusing on the compliments people gave her. She can recognize that even if not everyone enjoyed her lecture, many people did. She can acknowledge that she doesn’t honestly know why Exit-Guy left. He could have had had an emergency or prior commitment. She can realize that, overall, most everyone enjoyed her speech.
Instead of listing everything that went wrong this morning, I can list all the things that went right. My coffee machine worked perfectly. Clean water flowed from my kitchen sink. The lights, furnace, washer drying are all in excellent working order. Not to mention that the sun is shining, I had a great conversation with a new client, my car started, and I booked two speaking jobs. Much more good than bad stuff happened.
Reframing is a technique for changing your way of experiencing something. A situation does not change, but how you perceive the situation changes.
It wasn’t great that my daughter’s car broke down, but I am grateful it happened while she was in town, rather than while driving cross-country.
It was frightening when my elderly mom fell last summer. But I am grateful we were together, so I could help during her recovery.
We can look at most situations in our lives in more than one way. Next time you find yourself stuck under a black cloud of negativity, remove the negative mental filter, and look for the silver lining.