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Mind Reading Thinking Errors

Mind reading is what people do when they think they know what other people are thinking about them.

Almost invariably this skill seems to extend only to the ‘negative’ things that other people might be thinking and in all of years of experience here in the clinic, we have never had a single client say ‘people are bound to think I’m really fantastic at this’.

In fact, the most frequent things that people believe others are ‘thinking’ about them are actually the things they think about themselves!

Mind reading is yet another one of the common thinking errors that can lead to low self-esteem and other form of stress and anxiety.

Mind reading is the most common component of Social Anxiety, the anxiety we experience when we worry about what other people might think of us, or the judgement we experience in a social context.

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Examples of Mind Reading Thinking Errors

You’re having an in-depth conversation with somebody in which you are making an important point when all of a sudden they break their gaze with you and look at something going on behind you.

You immediately come to the conclusion that they are finding your conversation incredibly boring and would rather talk to somebody else on the other side of the room!

You pass your neighbour in the street and say hello, but they don’t seem as friendly to you as they normally do.

They’re obviously annoyed with you as your dog was barking rather loudly last night and probably disturbed their sleep.

You can never really know what another person is actually thinking, so try to evaluate the actual evidence (what they actually SAY) rather than come up with your own version of the conversation based on pure guesswork.

Managing Your Mind Reading Tendencies

If you find yourself falling into the trap of reading people minds, then try the following:

Consider Alternative Possibilities

Is it possible that the person you’re chatting to has just seen somebody he knows come into the room behind you? Perhaps they have had some bad news earlier and are a little pre-occupied with their own thoughts.

There can be an almost infinite number of reasons why their gaze diverted away from your for a few seconds, does it really have to be all about you?

Get More Information

If you think that your dog might have been the reason why your neighbour was so cursory with you. why not ask them if it was the case and consider ways to keep your dog a bit quieter at night

We ‘Project’ What We Think

In almost every case of mind reading, what we tend to assume other people thinking are our own projections of what we think about ourselves. If you happen to have a low opinion of yourself it’s rather hard to assume that people see you in a positive light.

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Psychotherapist Paul Lee in Wombourne Clinic

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