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Sometimes we believe negative things about ourselves that are not true or only partially true. We are more like to think negative things when we are feeling down or lonely, particularly if we are also experiencing person-to-person or cyberbullying.
We feel down. Then we get bullied. We start to think perhaps the person doing the bullying is correct; we become more depressed, anxious or possibly both. Our mental health takes a hit.
Just like #Stop, we need to stop following the negative track of our thoughts. We can reframe and redirect our thinking. Difficult to do? Depending on how long we have been allowing ourselves to think negatively, it may be. However, it is not impossible.
We need to think about our thinking.
For example, one of the everyday negative thinking habits we do is concentrating on all the negative things that have happened. We do not see the positive things that happen because we are focused on the negative. This is called filtering, where we filter out the good things and see only the negative.
Another example is polarised thinking, seeing yourself or the situation you are in, in an “all or nothing” way. Often with polarised thinking, we see ourselves as all bad. We run through all the bad things we think we have done in our minds. We have all these examples where we do not feel we have lived up to the standard we set ourselves. The problem is our standards are usually unrealistic. We never think of this; we are convinced it is us.
Filtering and polarised thinking often go hand-in-hand because we have to filter out all the positive things about ourselves and our complexities to maintain our polarised thinking. We are all a mix of good points and points we need to change about ourselves. Even the person who may be bullying us is not necessarily all bad. What they are doing to us is wrong. We do not deserve, nor should we cave into a person who is being a bully. However, often people who bully do so because they are very insecure, and they think by bullying another person, they will feel more secure. They never do feel more confident. The only way to be more secure is by being considerate, compassionate and cooperating with other people.
One other faulty thinking pattern we can fall into is overgeneralising. With overgeneralising, we take one event and turn it into something ongoing. If we take the example of bullying, we may go through a period when, like many teenagers, we experience bullying. Rather than seeing this as an isolated, one-off experience, we over-generalise that start to think we will constantly be bullied.
When we do have an experience of being bullied, we need to be careful about our thinking. Yes, what is happening to us is wrong; however, be careful not to filter out all the positive things in your life despite the bullying. The friends you have, the music you enjoy. Do not filter out the positive things. Don’t see things as all bad or all good. Situations are a mix of both. You are a mix of both brilliant qualities, good qualities and qualities that need to be improved. Finally, guard against over-generalising.