Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
- C.S. Lewis
If you've read this blog for very long, you know that I love talking about cognitive distortions! If you've missed some of the basic posts, you can check them out here:
One way we can distort our thinking is by assigning words that are inappropriate for the situation. This can make us feel even more anxious, stressed, depressed, or angry. Here are some examples:
- "I'm SO ANGRY at that person!" Ok...are you really SO ANGRY, or just a little annoyed? You'll be more likely to feel more and more angry at the person if you continue to say how angry you are.
- "I'm COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED right now!" Let's step back for a minute. Are you actually completely overwhelmed, or are you a little busier and stressed then is ideal for you?
You get the idea. We often use words that are inappropriate for the situation, which can blow the situation out of proportion. Plus, when we are in a situation that is really terrible or completely overwhelming, what word will use to describe the situation. Interesting thought, isn't it? I expanded this idea a little in the post I linked above called "What's the Deal with all the catastrophizing"...I think it's worth checking out!
I think it's incredibly easy for most of us to use inappropriate words in situations. I sure struggle with it. I grew up definitely exaggerating a lot of feelings, and I didn't realize until college how damaging and destructive this can be. It's been a many year battle to try to decrease this behavior in my life, and while I've often been successful, I still have those moments. I think that's part of being human. We may never be completely able to cut it out, but we can decrease it, and therefore make ourselves just a little healthier!
Here's what I'd like to know:
Is it easy for you to assign an incorrect word to a feeling or a situation?