We’ve talked about the fallacy of perfection, approval, and should, and how they are damaging to our self-esteem and relationships. Here are four more fallacies that you should avoid:
The Fallacy of Over-Generalization
Exaggerating or making an unjustified claim can take a toll on yourself and others. Let’s say you fail a test, and you tell yourself “I’m so stupid.” This is an over-generalization because you are making a statement based on limited and insufficient evidence. Your one failed test does not represent your intelligence. This can also hurt relationships as well, because we tend to use the words “always” and “never.” If you tell your spouse, “You never listen to what I tell you,” this is an absolute statement that is most likely false. Instead of using “always or “never,” try utilizing an “I feel” statement that is more concrete and specific. For example, “I feel that there are times you don’t listen to me when I tell you about my day after work.”
The Fallacy of Causation
We can all relate to something along the lines of “You make me so mad!” The truth is, other people do not make you do anything. How you react to the feedback of someone else is on you, because you are in control of your emotions. Other people do not have the power to make you angry, sad, or happy. Once you realize that you are responsible for your feelings, you may be more satisfied with your life. Wake up and tell yourself you will have a good day, and no one has the power to ruin that.
The Fallacy of Helplessness
People that fall into this fallacy often do not take responsibility and they see themselves as the victim. These people think there is nothing they can do to solve the problem. We tend to tell ourselves “I can’t” when in fact, we can. You are falling into the fallacy of helplessness if you tell yourself things like “I can’t talk to him, I’m just too awkward. It’s who I am.” Do not blame your perceived flaws or failures on outside sources. Take responsibility for your actions and tell yourself that you can make a change.
The Fallacy of Catastrophic Expectations
Expecting the worst will only lead to stress and anxiety. These people have a negative or defeated attitude towards situations. By thinking things like, “This relationship will never work,” you are setting yourself up for failure. You will most likely give up since you think it will fail anyway. If you think like this, it’s time for a change. Focus more on the good things in the present, not what could happen in the future. Don’t torture yourself by worrying about the worst thing that could happen.
Take it easy on yourself. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to please everyone, and you don’t have to know everything. Don’t jump to conclusions based on limited evidence, and take responsibility for your emotions. You have the power to change, so don’t assume the worst!