Whether you're running a business, leading a team, reconciling a friendship or trying to be the best spouse you can be, we are all prone to irrational thinking that can hurt our professional and personal relationships, or keep us stuck.
This can derive from a myriad of sources including a bad experience, broken belief system, an unresolved emotional issue, or a narrow view or perception of the world around us.
People with emotional intelligence (EQ) with a penchant for positive thinking roll a different way. I'm going to list common examples any of us may face that lead to toxic, irrational thinking, followed by its rational, EQ) counterpart to aid you in shifting your perspective.
1. Irrational Thinking: I should be liked and approved of by almost everyone.
EQ Counterpart: No one is liked by everyone. That is unrealistic.
2. Irrational Thinking: To be worthy and have self-esteem, I have to be competent and successful in all respects.
EQ Counterpart: I can't expect to be perfect in all respects; it's okay to fail and make mistakes.
3. Irrational Thinking: I'm stupid and don't deserve this.
EQ Counterpart: What I did was stupid, and I can forgive myself and try again.
4. Irrational Thinking: This shouldn't have happened. I am to be blamed.
EQ Counterpart: This should have happened because it did. I am at fault, but I am not to be blamed.
5. Irrational Thinking: Things always go wrong.
EQ Counterpart: I have to accept that sometimes things will go wrong. And that's okay.
6. Irrational Thinking: I am a failure.
EQ Counterpart: I'm a person who sometimes fails. And that's okay. I'll try again.
7. Irrational Thinking: I'm a product of my past. I can't change anything. I've always been this way.
EQ Counterpart: Things have happened in the past that have influenced my behavior, but I can learn to modify how I think and react if I work at it. People can and do change.
8. Irrational Thinking: I really need to be dependent on someone stronger than myself. My happiness depends on others.
EQ Counterpart: I'm the one who ultimately decides what's best for me. Dependency is more like a habit and a state of mind that can be altered with practice.
9. Irrational Thinking: It's easier to avoid than to face this problem; hopefully it will just go away.
EQ Counterpart: In the long run, it's better to face this problem and accept my role in it; only then can there be resolution and better relationships.
Bringing it home
The problem with most irrational thinking is that it brings unwarranted anxiety and stress along for the ride. Get rid of it by using the emotional intelligence counterparts to avoid the fallout that comes with irrationality. Your colleagues (and spouse) will thank you.