This is similar in some ways to ‘black and white thinking’. Overgeneralisation is where we use an experience in one part of our life to influence other parts of it. A negative example would be the ‘I never get anything right’ kind of thinking where a single negative event is seen as a never-ending pattern of defeat.. A positive example would be ‘everyone drinks like me’ which may be true, as for me personally, most of my friends and family did drink like me – apart from the pre and post event hidden drinking at home, ‘livener’ and ‘night cap’ anyone? 😉
It is a cognitive bias and a logical fallacy but that doesn’t stop me using it to support a line of thinking whether positive or negative. Who says our brains are rational and logical?
Just because we fail at one thing does not mean that we will fail at everything and transposing negative feelings from one experience to another can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I’d relapsed on my drinking yesterday, smoked, eaten crap and not run I’d have been wallowing in overgeneralisations a bit like this I’m just going to have a crappy life, I’ll be one of those people who disappoint their families, I’ll always regret never making anything of myself. Poor me. Thanks Almost Alcohol 🙂
So how am I working on this line of faulty thinking:
- Again I look for evidence to support this view. Does everyone drink like me? Do I never get anything right?
- I don’t pretend there isn’t a problem.
- But I am learning to recognise that there is no value in generalising my unhappiness from one situation to the rest of my life.
- I try to distinguish between things which genuinely are ‘bad’ or unpleasant from other areas of my life that are not and that I am viewing under the same black cloud.
It is a much happier way to be 🙂 How bout you? What overgeneralisations related to your drinking would you be happy to share?