Overgeneralising

People often build up one thing about themselves or their circumstances and end up thinking that it represents the whole situation or happens all the time, or is part of a never-ending pattern. For example:

‘Everything’s going wrong.’
‘Nothing I do ever turns out right.’
‘I’ll always be a failure.’
‘There’s no hope.’
Mind-reading

There are various ways in which we can jump to a conclusion without enough evidence. One of these is mind-reading — making guesses about what other people are thinking:

‘She ignored me on purpose.’
‘You don’t really love me.’
‘They think I’m boring.’
‘You’re only saying that because . . . ‘
Fortune-telling

Another way of jumping to a conclusion is to treat beliefs about the future as though they were realities rather than just predictions:

‘I’ll be depressed for ever.’
‘I’ll never get another job.’
‘Things can only get worse.’
Emotional reasoning

Yet another way to leap to a conclusion is to tell yourself that because you feel a certain way, this is how it really is:

‘I feel like a failure, so I must be one.’
‘If I’m angry, you must have done something to make me so.’
‘I wouldn’t be worrying if there wasn’t something to worry about.’
‘Because I feel unattractive, I must be.’
Emotional reasoning can, for example, keep you thinking anger is ‘justified’, sustain a vicious circle of self-downing, or make worrying feed on itself.

Personalising

You can also jump to a conclusion by thinking that something is directly connected with you:

‘Everyone is looking at me.’
‘That criticism was meant for me.’
‘It must have been me that made her feel bad.’
‘He didn’t return my greeting. What did I do?’
Personalising can make you feel self-conscious, guilty, or responsible for events you may not have caused — including other people’s problems and emotions.

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