Untwist Your Thinking: Discounting the Positives

Woman with flowers

You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.
Joyce Meyer

It’s been a while since I have talked about one of the Twisted Thinking Styles that Dr. David Burns came up with. It is certainly a part of many who have a damaged psyche due to Bullying deal with as part of the C-PTSD concepts. This time, I’d like to talk about quite an important and common twisted thinking style called “Discounting the Positives.

You know that we all do it, but some do it all the time. It usually works like this. Someone comes up and congratulates you for doing a good job on something. Your response might be, “Oh it was nothing” or “don’t thank me, I didn’t really do anything.”

Do you see what you just did? You defeated yourself when someone thought you did something good. We do it unconsciously all the time. The question might be why we do it. For some, we just feel like it’s embarrassing to accept praise. Unfortunately, for many, they don’t see anything they do as good and whenever criticized, they accept that. In fact, in their own mind, they are the most critical against themselves. The problem is that your mind will start to believe what you say. You are allowed to be praised and accept that you can and do a good job. When you discount all the positives in your life, you throw off your own life balance and start to see everything in your life as negative. You even see yourself as negative and not a good person.

It’s one of the more dangerous twisted thinking styles, because once you believe that there are no positives in your life, you become self-defeating. You could even end up failing at school, at work, in your relationships. Life is truly an equal balance and when we develop a discounting the positive mentality, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression problems for you. So, how do you counteract allowing yourself from discounting the positivies. Here’s a few ideas:

  1. When someone gives you praise, learn to say “Thank You”. You don’t have to do anything else, but accept the praise and believe it in your heart. Thank them and believe what they tell you. You deserved it, so try to remember that.
  2. Learn to compliment someone else at least once a day. This may seem counter-intuitive to you, but you truly get what you give. If you can learn to praise someone else for their good job, your mind will learn that it is a typical part of life and you truly can and should praise others. You also might find that they will praise you back and you can practice your thank you response.
  3. Keep a gratitude journal and write in it every day. You need to remind yourself that good things happen every day and you did good things. Gratitude journaling is quick and easy and will make a huge difference in your life.

Of course, it goes without saying that part of the solution is that you want to change and accept the positives. If you don’t, the damage you are doing to your self-worth and self-esteem will continue to grow.  These are just a few suggestions, but there are many more. You can find the positives everywhere you go. There is always something good to find. Sometimes you have to search within yourself, but stop being so hard on yourself. You can be the person you want to be with just a few untwisting of your thoughts.

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About bullyingrecovery

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach with a niche in bullying and abuse recovery, Bullying Recovery activist, and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance". and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe
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