Before I felt like I had hit the end of my rope, everything felt like a complete spiral with no idea where to begin to climb out. After learning new skills from Dave, I am trying to become aware of what’s happening and why and then what to do next.”
Your attitudes and personal values explain your psychological vulnerabilities. Once you’ve pinpointed your Self-Defeating Beliefs, you’ll know exactly why you get upset and when you’re likely to get upset in the future. Negative thoughts may happen when you’re upset, but Self Defeating Beliefs are always present.
Because we assume that other people think like we do, we are at risk of missing some critical warning signs. Sadly, these days it’s important not give others the benefit of the doubt unless they have earned it. You need be able to identify the “Red Flags” and “Yellow Flags” of those who lie, cheat, and steal, and worse, without regard for anyone else, as well as the “tactics,” behaviors, or strategies that others may use to “get to you,” hurt you and take what is yours.
Every time we use events as evidence to support our core beliefs, we strengthen those belief. This becomes a problem when we fail to process any positive data that is contrary to a core belief that is dysfunctional. We confuse our assumptions with our core beliefs. Knowing what is, and isn’t, a dysfunctional core belief can help.
The first step in not being a victim in life is to really examine yourself and your behaviors so you can make a “to-do” list about what to keep and build on, what to eliminate and what to acquire in terms of life skills and strategies. Remember: You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.
Having an idea of what you essentially want to change is a good start. However, identifying the actual, concrete steps towards change will make all the difference in your life. It will also give you an “escape hatch” should things go askew.
Setting realistic short-term behavior goals can help you achieve your long-term plans. To do this effectively, you must be aware of the critical difference between having dreams vs. having goals. Dreams are vague, non-specific and and often lead to frustration and setbacks; goals are something entirely different.
When we can describe our emotions, we have a perception of control. Otherwise, we end up acting-out, or “behaving”, our emotions. The goal is to give ourselves a better emotional vocabulary. Pinning an emotion with a name work because once you have a name for it, it doesn’t become so overwhelming. You actually get off the emotion rollercoaster ride and you look at it rather than being in it and it becomes much easier to figure out why you’re feeling it. The pressure actually starts to go away.
When it comes to making decisions, there’s perhaps nowhere more important to make the right one than in space. When you’re cruising above Earth, a bad decision can have some pretty hefty consequences. We can leverage this approach to our own personal lives so that we don’t “make things worse by guessing,” especially in a crisis.
Conducting a Cost-Benefit Analysis is an essential tool of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It’s a good way to identify the pros and cons associated with keeping a particular coping strategy (“holding on to my current belief”) versus using an adaptive coping strategy (“adopting a new belief”).
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps us learn to evaluate our thoughts and beliefs by gathering evidence, developing alternative explanations, decatastrophizing and using other “Socratic questions” to help us more clearly and realistically analyze our thoughts. It is the hallmark of critical thinking.
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