Distorted Thinking Running Rampant

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The events rocking the world at this time, especially the U.S., are staggering.

I have felt deep pain in my heart space over all that is happening. So much pain, loss, heartbreak. Evil exposed (this is a good thing, but so difficult to witness). Injustice and violence.

The latter two especially make me feel physically ill. I learned recently that there‚Äôs a name for this stress that can affect us even physically, that feels almost like post-traumatic stress. It’s the pain that stems from taking in the energy of a tumultuous world (and, for people of color, the energy of passive and active discrimination and racism), and it now has a name: “emotional inflammation.” You can listen to a podcast about this here, or check out the book by Dr. Lise Van Susteren and Stacey Colino here. It helped me to understand how much we are all affected by what’s going on in the world.

(For the 20% with the trait of High Sensitivity, emotional inflammation is almost unavoidable; we take in so much more, and process it at such a deep level.)

The problem is, there are many narratives out there. So many nuances to an issue. So many people twisting the facts to fit their own narrative (or ignoring key facts). I feel mentally and emotionally exhausted just thinking about making my way through all of it to the truth.

But I am committed to doing so, through prayer, as God leads. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem.

One thing I notice, among the maelstrom of media, social and otherwise, is how rampant the dysfunctional thinking is behind so much of the narratives. When a friend sent me a link to a very helpful graphic on “unhelpful thinking styles,” I began to apply it not only to my life, but to what I was hearing and reading.

It helps. I want truth, and truth is never found in distorted thinking. (How many of the thinking patterns below, for instance, are behind racism?) Black author James Baldwin said, in an unfinished draft of a book manuscript, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing

can be changed until it is faced.”–James Baldwin

We must face the distorted thinking patterns behind racism and other social evils, as well as the political narratives, before anything can change. And then we pray our way to the truth.

So here it is, from NextStepTherapy.ie. (I know nothing about them, but the site has much helpful information, including the graphic below from Creative Commons.)

I suggest you print it out the graphic, as I have done. I have it on my refrigerator and use it both to discern my way through what I’m seeing and hearing, and also to notice my own dysfunctional thinking, which I can then bring to my healing work. I hope it proves helpful to you.

Distorted Thinking Styles

 

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