Rationalizing emotion and applying behavioral technique to alter a reaction/thinking is probably the toughest challenge in cognitive therapy. Albert Ellis came up with this "automatic thought" idea - it's when we without just cause or any real effort have this irrational thought or feeling about ourselves in any given situation. These core beliefs are what cause unhealthy habits - especially in social settings.
Need an example? Think of that friend that meets a guy at the bar, they exchange numbers and if he doesn't call the next day she's crushed - why? It's not that these two people had a deep, meaningful relationship and she's now mourning the loss of a broken connection - she has attached some irrational thought to this event, the no phone call, and has placed her value on that event. SO UNHEALTHY!!! But so many of us do it.
I learned about this in group therapy, private therapy but really dove into it in my psychology class this term. And I love that I can actually apply something from 12 weeks of highlighting a text book and testing to my actual life.
I totally caught myself practicing a negative automatic thought. I was being completely irrational and insensitive to reality. I was making assumptions from what I viewed as a lack of response from someone and I attached all this ridiculousness to why he must not be doing what I think he should be doing. And it must be because (cue automatic thought!) I'm not interesting, I'm not attractive and I'm being lied to because guys are game players.
Ha ha ha... I can easily laugh now, but I spent most of my afternoon in a huff. I'm so pleased with myself that I recognized that I was letting my emotions trigger my baggage. Isn't part of maturing recognizing your faults and error in thinking? Well, shit kids, I just did that tonight :)
I had to share how much at peace I am right now. No more thinking I'm not (pretty, smart, interesting, funny, etc) enough for someone. I don't need those qualities validated, just appreciated.
I'm so Zen right now...