19 February 2008

cognitive distortions

sounds like the name of a harcore band from the mid 90s, doesn't it?

but no, it's the name of a chapter in the book that i'm currently reading. and through the initial skim of this chapter, it got me to thinking about not only my own personal cognitive distortions, but others as well and how their CDs relate to themselves. makes me think of these people in a differently light, in both the sense that i have to think about separating their words as a reflection of myself, but more of a reflection of what goes on inside that person, whatever the intention may be. this may all seem like a big "duh" to some people, but to the audience of the book i'm reading, it truly isn't, and is the cause for all sorts of damaging internal thoughts turned into needless obsessions. i know the audience is capable of understand the concept cognitively, but for them to actually believe it, well, i think it something entirely different.

i think to better illustrate what i am trying to say, i will use the words of the person that got me to thinking about these things.

i'd never try to give my life meaning
by demeaning you.
i would like to state for the record
i did everything that i could do.
i'm not saying that i'm a saint,
i just don't want to live that way.
i will never be a saint, but i will always say,
squint your eyes and look closer
i'm not between you and your ambition...
32 flavors, ani difranco

i am beginning to actually believe that i, in my personal situation, did everything that i could do under the circumstances.

i am definitely not a saint, and am also beginning to believe that people can, and often do, make mistakes, and must learn from them, despite the ramifications of said mistake. i am also learning that in the making of the mistake, one must take responsibility for one's actions. this is easy in this instance, but not in others, but i know i am still learning.

as part of the learning experience, i have learned not to take a messy situation at face value, because things are rarely black and white. that way of thinking makes for bushisms (either with us or against us), paints people all too easily into heroes and villians, into saints and martyrs, and rarely allows for the fact that people inevitably fall into an ambiguous part of the good/bad spectrum. (i also believe that the more realistic emotional portrayal of characters is the reason for the popularity of recent pop culture phenomena such as the harry potter series, and tv shows such as lost and heroes, all of whom have flawed characters where no one is either all good or all bad. but i digress...)

i'm also learning that i absorbed much of the catholic upbringing i tried to rebel against as a teenager. see [g]od, it got through after all... simiplifying those forgivness models and applying them to our situations here on earth are, as someone told me, "impossible." that means they are destined for failure and thus for the constant going to church to ask [h]im for forgiveness. and in people, one is either seeking forgiveness or refusing to dole it out.

and all of this is just skimming. maybe i should read it.

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