Reduce anxiety and depression by challenging common cognitive distortions

Modesty isn’t always the best policy. 

Do you have difficulty receiving positive feedback?

Time and time again, I’ll meet powerful and successful individuals, and from the outside, they look confident, approachable and overall, like they “got their shit together”. 

Yet within a few minutes “The Minimizer” shows up. 

They start to downplay their accomplishments and successes and they label their thoughts and opinions as “stupid” or “dumb”. 

Minimizing is when you shrink the importance of significant events or positive qualities until they seem small and insignificant. 

For instance, we may minimize our accomplishments or we may discount the potential risk that a situation may present. For example, “I’m not that good at my job” or “ although I’m good at school I’m nowhere near as good as everyone else”. This thinking trap blocks your ability to truly celebrate yourself and acknowledge your accomplishments. 

Talking about ourselves can be difficult because it feels like bragging.  There’s a difference between bragging and being proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. 

We all have narratives that are deeply ingrained in our minds which hold us back from realizing our full potential. But with a little time, attention and effort we can begin to free ourselves from our negative thinking and make meaningful progress toward the things that matter most.

Tips to get out of the Minimizing Trap: 

  1. Train your ear:

Listen for typical minimizing vocabulary such as “I only…” or “I didn’t really do all that much” as red flags that the “Minimizer” may be in the vicinity.

  1. Notice your reactions:

When someone gives you a compliment or acknowledgement, what do you do?  If you get slightly uncomfortable and feel the need to deflect, instead just take a deep breath and say “Thank you so much!” and then stop talking.

  1. Celebrate accomplishments:

Practice celebrating your accomplishments in tangible ways. Make a list of all your best qualities and refer to them regularly. 

The best way to combat these cognitive distortions is to become aware of when you’re using one and to take a step back and see if you could do or say something more productive. If you want some support in challenging your “minimizing” statements, one of our therapists would love to help.

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