It’s Day 304 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’ve been dealing with a projected cognitive distortion. It’s not one I have about myself, but one others project onto me. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I studied cognitive distortions in-depthly during my Leadership and Coaching graduate studies. Put simply, they are thoughts that cause an inaccurate perception of reality. These negative thought patterns produce negative emotions such as anxiety, depression or anger. All-or-nothing thinking is just one example of such a distortion – a D or challenge Pink Collar Swans face. It’s also one I’ve been on the receiving end of from others throughout my life. More specifically, I’m typically viewed as being sweet. Extremely so. However, when I do something that is “not sweet” – like advocating for myself, having an opposing opinion, or putting a boundary in place, etc. – I basically go from being sweet to being the B word. Suddenly, words like always, every, nothing and never – all absolute extremes commonly used in all-or-nothing thinking – are aimed my way. It’s discouraging how often this has happened in my personal and professional worlds, but I’m done dodging these cognitive distortion bullets!
Recently at a what I believe was the 6th “Kick Up Your High Heeled Success” workshop that I presented with Kay Fittes of High Heeled Success, I shared the above all-or-nothing projection for what was probably the 6th time. Despite doing a pretty good job of not falling prey to my own negative thought patterns, I’ve continued to be a victim of others’ negative perceptions of me. No more! Here are some strategies I use in life coaching that I am going to apply to minimize this D and to maximize my best personal and professional life:
Strategies to Minimize Projected All-Or-Nothing Cognitive Distortion:
- Identify when unconditional terms such as always, every, never or nothing are being used and ask if those are accurate.
- Notice when black-or-white extremes are being used and ask if there’s a possible gray area.
- Look for and point out the positive side of the situation.
- Encourage Both-And thinking vs. All-Or-Nothing thinking.
- Pray for the individual and seek support if needed.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan, Life Coach and Child of God, I am sweet – for the most part. ; ) And I have the right to advocate for myself, to have a differing opinion and to put boundaries in place. Both – And. I’ve got some crucial conversations ahead of me. The stakes are high. But the scales have tipped and the risk of keeping quiet when things need to be said outweighs any perceived benefit to be had from not speaking up. Still, there’s some trepidation because I’m stepping out of my “sweet” role again and may reinforce the opinion that I’m the B word. Then again, as we’ve shared at all of those workshops – the reputation I have with myself – and God – is more powerful than any I have with anyone else…All the more reason to be done with projected cognitive distortions.
Do you struggle with the all-or-nothing cognitive distortion? Does it originate with you are is it projected from someone else? How can you be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about minimizing it?
Be savvy & chic,
~Pink Collar Coach