This is the first installment of a series on the most common “cognitive distortions,” or thinking errors. Most of us are subject to these, and they can hold us back from our full potential and cause totally unnecessary angst.
The good news is that once you know what they are, they’re pretty easy to spot and self-correct.
Throughout this series, I’ll spotlight one and share some tips. As we go through, take stock of which cognitive distortions pop up most often for you, and jot down some quick answers to the reflection questions.
We’re starting off with a bang, with my favorite cognitive distortion and one that comes up often for my high achieving and empathic clients:
What it is:
In this context, “mind reading” refers to an attempt to know what another person is truly wanting/thinking/feeling…without actually hearing it from them. It’s an attempt to divine another person’s state of mind.
This shows up often in highly empathic people, because we’re so used to being able to accurately assess and anticipate another person’s feelings that we don’t notice when it’s crossed the line from healthy empathy, into making (partially or completely) ungrounded assumptions about their needs or thinking.
It becomes a distortion when we don’t even realize that we’re actually guessing and making up stories in the absence of actual feedback from the person. And even if you do realize you’re just guessing, it’s also a problematic distortion if you find yourself losing significant time and energy in the guessing process…
To keep reading, enter your email below for a free digital guide detailing specific tips and tricks to quit the toxic “mind reading” habit and free up your focus, so you can enjoy clarity, confidence, and calm instead.