Your interpretations can be made so rapidly and so automatically that you may not realize they are happening. When your emotional reaction is disproportionate to the event, it is likely due to your rapid, undetected interpretation of that event, more than to the event itself. In effect, your emotions can be a valuable signal to you that you may need to re-examine your interpretation. Here are some common examples of self-defeating ways people think about and interpret the events of their lives:
Dichotomous thinking: interpreting events in extremes, in “all or nothing” ways (e.g., depicting events as wonderful or terrible, with no recognition of the grey areas in between).
Excessive personalization: automatically concluding that another’s behavior or mood is in direct response to you (e.g., “She’s in a bad mood. I must have done something wrong.”.
Over-generalization: seeing an event as having more impact, in more areas of your life, than it truly does.
Filtering: magnifying negative events in your life and discounting positive ones.
Emotional reasoning: concluding that what you feel must be the truth (e.g., if you feel stupid, you must be stupid).
Learn to recognize any tendencies you may have to distort events through interpretational styles like these, and then practice choosing and committing to more valid interpretations. The resulting emotions will be more accurate reflections of the events in your life.
I am, indeed, a king,
because I know how
to rule myself.