Cognitive distortions series: mind reading
This is part of a series looking at the most common cognitive distortions, how they show up, and what you can do to start becoming more aware of them in a personal, career and team context that I originally posted on Instagram. You can read more about cognitive distortions and find links to other posts here.
What is mind reading?
Mind reading is pretty self-explanatory as a thinking pattern; it's not just assuming that you know what another person is thinking, but also that you know their intentions. It can sometimes be confused with empathy (the ability to perceive and understand what others are feeling). Mind reading is more likely to be self-critical and to surface your own assumptions or insecurities.
How mind reading shows up
Mind reading is associated with overthinking and anxiety, particularly social anxiety. It can lead to last cancelling plans last minute and a feeling of loneliness.
How it might show up for you:
In your life
"I look awful in this top - everyone is laughing at me."
In your career
"I haven't heard back from my interview - they want me to know I didn't get it."
In your team
"Our CEO doesn't visit our branch - she wants us to fail."
Challenge your thinking by
Ask yourself or your team how you would know if your assumption were true. What would have to have happened or be happening for you to be sure?
- In the name of science (!), take steps to find out if those things have happened or are happening. Look specifically for those signs - get curious and ask questions. Be open to listening to answers!
Once you have more evidence, you can make an informed decision about what you want to think.
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