Disqualifying the Positive

Another common cognitive distortion that arises in counselling sessions is “disqualifying the positive”. This is when one overlooks and downplays their positive qualities and / or accomplishments and focuses on their negative traits, and perceived failures. People who regularly find themselves using this cognitive distortion have difficulty accepting compliments and receiving positive feedback and tend to default back to focusing on what isn’t right with them. We all do this sometimes but when it is a constant, this is a reflection of the individual’s poor self esteem, and lack of self-love and respect. One can work on reducing the use of this distortion by accepting compliments, looking for successes and positives instead of dwelling on what they feel went wrong. The goal is to refute self-critical thinking and this will result in improved self-esteem, and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. Changing the way that we look at situations and being self-compassionate are key to overcoming this cognitive distortion.

Reflection question: Think back to a time that you disqualified the positive in respect to your character and / or accomplishments. How could you have been more self-compassionate and focused on the positive instead of the negative in this situation?

Have a wonderful day!