Reserving Judgement…Emotional Reasoning

Emotional Reasoning is when a person assumes that their negative emotions accurately reflect the truth of how things really are.

“I Feel this way, therefore it must be true.”

For instance:

I have housework to do and have feelings of disgust. My feelings of disgust overwhelm me and I believe that I must be a lazy person. I put off my housework which makes me feel even more disgust/laziness.

OR

I feel incapable so I must be an inadequate somehow.
I feel worthless so I must be a bad person somehow.
I feel guilty so I must be guilty somehow.

This type of thinking can be very depressing. But all just a distortion. We can find a better way..

Remember we must look at the whole picture before judging it truth. We must use grey type thinking. Describe the facts only through what you can see, hear etc…not through our emotional responses.

Act opposite to the emotion. Do the housework anyways no matter the feeling you get. Break it up into easy segments if you must. Just do it anyways.

If you feel worthless I just want to say that you’re not. You are a blessing even if you can’t see it. This is where counseling helps. Sometimes we have to unlearn our distortions…learning to recognize them and learning to replace them with positive action.  We need support to do this many times. Support is a strength.

We can talk more about acting opposite later on.

~Wishing you well this day

The Mindful Gatekeeper

Reserving Judgement…Jumping to Conclusions

The next cognitive thinking error is a familiar one…Jumping to Conclusions.

Jumping to Conclusions is when you negatively interpret an experience even though there are no definite facts that beyond any doubt support your conclusion.

The facts matter when interpreting an event. Your emotional mind reacts to events but you can use mindfulness to slow the reaction down and see the moment with clarity.

If you find yourself Jumping to Conclusions perhaps making a list of the evidence will help you see the truth more precisely. Only the facts should be written down. Remember to acknowledge your thought and then let a thought be just a thought. Let it go and start fresh. We have that ability…every new moment of every day. What a blessing.

~Wishing you well this day

The Mindful Gatekeeper

Reserving Judgement…Mind Reading

Here is a rather familiar term…Mind Reading.

This thinking error is when you conclude that somebody is acting negatively towards you..and you don’t check out the facts to see what evidence is there to uphold your thought.

For instance you’re in the grocery store and see an acquaintance. This person blows you off instead of being friendly. You might say to yourself…”Wow this person must not like me anymore…I must have done something wrong.” What you don’t know is that person just got some bad news at work and has to stop by the grocery store to pick up dinner.

Examine the evidence when you find yourself mind reading. What evidence, that is reality based and factual, do you actually have to support your theory?

If you have evidence that this person may be upset with you then that is something you can learn to tolerate. Not everyone is going to approve of us. I find using forgiveness works wonders in these situations.

First of all you don’t have to have any special religious belief to use forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not about liking or approving of the situation. That is a relief,in my opinion, in and of itself.

Forgiveness is about letting go for yourself. So you may move on. This something I would like to talk about in later days.

Back to Mind Reading…

Lets say you have identified yourself using Mind Reading.

Just remember we don’t know everything. We have no idea sometimes what causes people to act the way they do. It is very helpful to remind yourself of this when instances of Mind Reading try to take over.

You may have already noticed but one of my favorite sayings is a thought is just a thought. So let your Mind Reading be just that.

~Wishing you well on this day,

The Mindful Gatekeeper

Reserving Judgement…Disqualifying the Positive

When you Disqualify the Positive you are rejecting positive experiences because you think they don’t apply to you or don’t count.

It would look kind of like this:

“Wow your hair looks great!” (your friend says)

Well I don’t know about that..it won’t do anything for me today and just looks flat.” (you say)

Or

“I really enjoyed that presentation you gave the other day.” (your friend)
“Oh I don’t know. Have you noticed that I seem difficult to get along with? I just can’t seem to keep friends.” (you say)

Discounting the positive helps people continue to uphold their negative belief in spite of the truth of everyday experiences.

Ask yourself if what you are thinking is realistic.

Are you really difficult to get along with? Because in the scenario above you are talking to a friend. So the answer would be no and that thought would be just a thought and not the truth.

We have to look at just the facts, when driven into Emotional Mind by thinking errors, and reserve judgement. Remember to separate opinion from fact. The thinking error will occur first and then you use your skills…let a thought be just a thought.

When you find yourself speaking like this remember to think in grey and make a grey compassionate statement about something positive that you have done. Everyone has a variety of positive experiences they have been apart of. Remember those.

~Wishing you well this day,

The Mindful Gatekeeper

Reserving Judgement…All or Nothing Thinking

In the post before last I started to touch on the cognitive thinking errors in regards to Reserving Judgment when learning Mindfulness. Cognitive thinking errors really do cloud judgement so I have decided to carry on with this subject for several more entries.

The next “error” I would like to discuss is All or Nothing Thinking.

This type of thinking error is when a person sees everything either in black or white.

This situation is totally awful or completely awesome…or even this person is totally awful or completely awesome...etc.  People think in absolutes when using this type of rationale.

This type of thinking causes our body to use the fight or flight response. It is a natural reaction in a reality based crisis..like when a person is trying to save another person after a car wreck. In everyday life though it can create unnecessary stress.

Life is not all black and white there are many shades of grey in between. We need to stop and remember those grey areas when we find ourselves speaking in black and white categories. Don’t judge yourself if you do find yourself speaking that way..just Observe, let it go, and come back with a grey statement.

“This situation is not totally awful there are some neutral aspects and maybe even some good that I may or may not be able to see at this time.”

Some key words to watch for in your thinking and or verbal replies would be…Perfect, Impossible, Awful, Always, Completely, Ruined etc..remember this type of rationalization is based on absolutes.

~Wishing you well this day

The Mindful Gatekeeper

More To Ponder Regarding Reserving Judgement

How we think can cause us to become judgemental.

Sometimes we have thoughts that are really cognitive thinking distortions. There are several..and over time I hope to talk about them all in hopes that it will help you to become more truthfully observant.

One of these distortions which is driven and reinforced by emotion is Magical Thinking.

Magical Thinking is something that can be connected to the Fact vs Opinion debate.

“…..Magical Thinking
The erroneous belief, similar to a normal stage of childhood development—Piaget’s pre-operational phase—that thoughts assume a magical power capable of influencing events without a physical action actually occurring; a conviction that thinking equates with doing, accompanied by an unrealistic understanding of cause and effect.
Examples Dreams in children, in primitive people’s, and in patients under various conditions.” (Segen’s Medical Dictionary)

Magical Thinking is about belief. Although it may seem that this is not the main stream many everyday people have varying degrees of this thinking.

People may feel superstitious or have parts of their religious belief or opinions steeped in a bit Magical Thinking. These beliefs or experiences can be very emotional in nature and color our views when trying to Observe in a non-judgemental way. Staying free/or clearing the path of judgement is the most effective way to see the truth of any situation.

Certainly people can have very strong beliefs but when learning to use Mindfulness to achieve Wise Mind your focus needs to stay clear and unbiased. It’s like learning to shift your focus for the moment you need clarity. Slowing the moment down by breaking down each step can really help a person practice effectively..and with great understanding. Remember that emotion is driven and reinforced by opinion. Facts need to be checked and one needs to reserve judgement when looking to use Wise Mind.

~Wishing you well this day

The Mindful Gatekeeper

Further Learning on Reserving Judgment

When one is trying to reserve judgement you must learn to look at just the facts.

Do not evaluate.

Think of yourself as a detective who looks at the “what” of the situation only….”not the “good” or “bad”, the “terrible” or “wonderful”, the “should” or “should not”(DBT handout 3).”

Let go of your judgements.

Just accept what is…that is all.

It is what it is.

If you find yourself judging yourself…“Don’t judge your judging.”(DBT handout 3)

Go back to just Observing the situation.

Practice:

A MINDFULNESS EXERCISE

Use the above exercise to practice using your non judgemental awareness.

~Wishing you well this day,

The Mindful Gatekeeper