Hi, welcome back to the show. I am one of your hosts, Amanda. I’m Laura, and I'm Kendra. And we are finishing out our series of five podcasts on common thought errors, also known as cognitive distortions, as outlined by our friend at www.mindmypeelings.com (like an orange peel). And the reason why we're looking at this is because, as we know now, our thoughts are what create our emotions. So if we're feeling stuck or not enjoying our experience of life, we want to start looking at that thought and seeing if it's actually true, if it's useful, if there's any other perspectives that we could take. So Kendra is going to start us out with number 13.
FALLACY OF CHANGE
Kendra: So number 13 is the fallacy of change. And this thought distortion assumes that others should change to suit our own interests. So a person will pressure others to change because they feel the change will bring them happiness. They are so convinced that happiness is dependent on the person changing.
I feel like this is the ultimate giving-your-power-away thought distortion. The example is interesting, but I feel like this occurs, or reoccurs, I guess, in my own marriage with my spouse, believing that if he could just do this or that, basically change the man who he is and who I knew he was probably going into the marriage, that I would be happy.
And I think most marriages fall into this at some time or the other. Maybe not entirely built on, you know, this fallacy, but I think every marriage faces this at one time or another, you find something you maybe don't prefer in your marriage and you wish it was this or that way. So if the spouse changed, then that would bring about happiness.
I find that even when my husband moves towards the ideal situation, that I'm hoping that he will change, I don't even notice sometimes, and that even breeds more frustration on both sides of the story. It also makes it harder for him to move towards any of these ideas that I have for him and the ideal husband and needing to change to make me happy.
And when I realized that my happiness is actually under my control and has nothing to do with the man he was. Also knowing that the type of love that that marriage is built on is conditional when I do that and not unconditional, like we so vowed on the day we were married.
Laura: So yeah, I think, to me, it's helpful to point out that it doesn't mean that you can't really make a request. It doesn't mean that you can't say, “Hey, you know, this would be great.” But when we hinge our happiness on whether or not that person complies for their requests, that's where we get into trouble.
Amanda: And you can even choose to leave a situation because of love for yourself, but you're not expecting the person to change in order to feel a certain way. In fact, what was funny for me in coaching certification is- if the person did every single thing you asked them to do, it wouldn't even be them. That's not even a real person. So we all want unconditional love, but we're not giving it in exchange. And that was like, oh, that hurts.
Kendra: Yeah. The other side of that coin is loving ourselves unconditionally and owing it to ourselves to take back complete control or knowing that we can be happy despite this, that, or the other. And I think that it also was impacting to realize that, oh yeah, the best gift I can give myself is loving myself unconditionally in the same way that we were needing that validation from a spouse or partner, whatever.
Amanda: That is so beautiful. You don't need to weigh a certain number. You don't need to exercise a certain amount. You don't need to pick up a certain amount of shifts to get to feel love for yourself. That is, if there was one of the most important things that we could do for ourselves, it was to start loving ourselves as we are.
I love that. Even your kids. We think that we want the best for our kids so that they will be happy. Sometimes it's because if our kids are happy, then we get to feel happy. And that's, again, that's a little bit of a fallacy where they're going to be kids and they're going to go through rough times, and that's part of being a human.
All right, moving on. Anybody else on that one? That's a huge one that is so eye opening. When you start realizing like, oh gosh- even like for jobs- I need them to act in a certain way. I need them to do these things so that I can be happy. It's not. You're giving your power away the whole time.
FALLACY OF FAIRNESS
Amanda: Okay. Mine's number 14, the fallacy of fairness. And this is a good one for me as well. We've already discussed that I have all of these thought errors anyway, but this one I feel strongly in: justice and fairness. And how, remember from last time, it “should” be. The fallacy of fairness is that all things in life should be based on fairness and equality.
In reality, not all things work out the way we expect them to, which leads to feelings of anger and resentment towards those things in life. Here is the thing. When you fight reality, you lose every time. And the fact of the matter is that the world has not been fair, pretty much ever.
Laura: Nope. Never.
Amanda: So having all of your energy and all of your internal thoughts spinning out on that is resisting reality. If you're motivated to change it, and you're doing something from that thought. Great. But if you're just sitting around at your house stewing that things aren't fair, you're not changing a single thing, and you're not improving the situation. At all. Yes. It's not fair, and…?
Amanda: What are you going to do about it?
Laura: Well, the reality is when things aren't fair, most of the time- if, if you're living in the Western world, you're living in America- yeah, you're right. I tell my kids this all the time. You're right. It's not fair. It's not fair that you have such a better life than 90% of the people on this planet. You’re right, it’s not fair. It's not. Let's flip it that way and see how it feels.
HEAVEN’S REWARD FALLACY
Laura: So our next one is heaven's reward fallacy. So you were expecting to get a promotion this year because of your hard work, or you expect XYZ recognition for something that you have done. You believe that you worked harder than the rest of your colleagues, but you didn't get the promotion. You feel resentment because you believe you should have been rewarded for your hard work.
This is another example of, you know, that life is not fair. Things/consequences do not always fall according to the way we act. We hope that when we are doing our very best, doing all the things for everybody, they're going to be so appreciative of us. Even at work, if we come up with a diagnosis for our patient and say, “You've got fatty liver disease. We can see it on your ultrasound. Your liver enzymes are elevated. You're going to feel so much better. If you do some intermittent fasting and cut your carbs,” and you've provided this lifesaving information to, or definitely life altering information to your patient, and they may not do anything with it. They may just ignore it. And you may feel like you've wasted your time.
If we allow that to rob us of our peace of mind or our own happiness, we're doing a disservice to ourselves. So we do things because we feel like they're the right thing to do. We decide who we are, and that's how we show up whether we get rewarded or appreciation or not.
Amanda: Right. It's not tit for tat. I've heard so many people say that, “I've given everything to this person and, you know, they didn't invite me to a party” or whatever. If you're motivated to do the things that you do expecting some sort of return on it. Then that's an exchange. That's not doing it because it's what you felt was the right thing to do.
If you can just recenter on what is important to you and how you want to show up in the world. If you're doing a bunch of stuff for somebody that you didn't want to do in the first place, then examine that. What do you think you're going to get out of that?
And it's up to that person. You don't get to control them based on all of the things- “I've done all of these things for them.” Okay, well, it better have been because that's how you wanted to show up in the world,and you're doing that because you want to. As opposed to a way to (this isn't going to go over well, but…) manipulate somebody into giving you love or whatever it is.
Because it doesn't work, first of all.
Laura: Right. And the reality is we can provide the reinforcement ourselves for when we are showing up the way we want to show up. When we do something good or productive for someone else, we can tell ourselves, “You know what? That was really good. I feel really good about what I just did, and that is all I need from that situation.”
Amanda: Right. If somebody is not very nice to me, I can still rest in my own integrity that I want to continue. People may try to take advantage of me, and that's fine because my integrity says that I need to show up in the world in a certain way. And that's how I sleep well at night. I'm doing it for me.
I'm showing up in the world a certain way. For me, not for anybody to give me accolades or owe me anything. I'm doing it- it's between me and God, me and the universe, me and my own integrity. And if I can keep that at top of mind, that gets me through a lot of situations.
Kendra: That parallels that external fallacy or locus-of-control or the fallacy we talked about last podcast where we can not control what other people do. Just like we show up and we do our job and our integrity and character in the way that we know. We can't control the decisions they make.
The patient that I took care of the other day, who on his last admission was intubated because he went into DTs (delirium tremens), and he continues to drink every single night. And he continues to destroy his organs slowly, but I let him know that the reversible factor is if he decides at some point that he would rather have a better quality of life than drink alcohol and maybe learn some other coping mechanisms. So, you know, mano a mano, when I was talking to him as, you know, somebody that has something to live for instead of the destructive behavior, it seemed like hopefully there was a little seed that was planted there. But once again, I cannot control whether, once he gets out of the hospital again, he decides to go back to alcohol.
Amanda: Oh, I need to find the Mother Theresa quote. That's the essence of this one. Keep going.
Laura: Yeah. Well, you know, at work, maybe you show up on time. You see more patients than anyone. We may get RVU compensation. We may get productivity, or we may not, but regardless, we want to acknowledge our own accomplishments as we're going through and seeing our patients.
It's helpful to say, “You know what? That was good. I touched that person's life, and I helped them feel better.” As we do that and create our own reward, we're less reliant on- we are less likely to transfer our power to somebody else, expecting them to make us feel good.
I think we all know at this point that, you know, the thank you notes from patients are few and far between. The acknowledgement from administration is not frequent, if at all.
Laura: I don't know. Pizza, or even just, “Hey, you know what? You guys are doing really hard work.” It is. And it is, and we, we need to acknowledge that for ourselves.
What we do involves seeing a lot of trauma. It involves extreme stress. It involves wizard-like deduction skills, and the amount of skill that is required to do what we do…it's really unbelievable. And there's a reason why when many people can't figure out what's going on with people, they say, “just go to the ER.”
Amanda: Yeah, I know.
Laura: They'll figure it out.
Amanda: But watch yourself, and make sure that you're doing this not trying to “earn your worth.” Your worth is inherent. Anyway, I found the Mother Teresa quote. This is my favorite one illustrating what we should be doing instead of falling into the heaven's reward fallacy.
By the way, this was found on the walls of her orphanage in Calcutta. I mean, it's believed that Mother Teresa said it, but anyway, it was in the orphanage.
People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
BE KIND ANYWAY.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
BE HONEST ANYWAY.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.
BE HAPPY ANYWAY.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow.
DO GOOD ANYWAY.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.
GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY.
You see, in the final analysis, it's between you and God.
IT WAS NEVER BETWEEN YOU AND THEM ANYWAY.
And you know, that's God within us, God outside, the Source, whatever you believe, it all applies. It's not about you earning anything. The things you do are for you. Yeah. And that's all I have to say about that.
Laura: Yeah. Yeah. It's all, it is all about becoming the person that you know you can be. And we do that by knowing what we want, and showing up that way. And if we want to show up as an honest, kind person, we do it consistently, and it doesn't matter what, what other people say, whether good or bad, we- that's just who we are. And that's how we show up.
Amanda: And they're humans. And that you may think that you deserve some sort of treatment, but they're adults and they have free will also. So that's the problem with expecting something in exchange for what you do.
Kendra: We have been able to show you and make you aware of these top 15 thought distortions. And even just an awareness, I think, has allowed us to have some breakthroughs. But what we want you to leave today with is knowing that you are enough, and your worth is not in what you do or what you say or what you accomplish. It is because you exist, that you are worthy.
So we love you. We see you. The work you do matters, and we are here for you. So until next time, see you then!