Do you ever notice how I start all of my blogs posts with a question? It’s the Coolio question, the “what’s goin’ on in the kitchen, but I don’t know what’s cookin’” of the post–what I like to call my “invitation to engage/reflect.” And the truth is, we always need to be questioning. If we have histories (or presents!) of being self-critical, or are prone to perfectionism or any other form of being hard on ourselves (welcome to most of us!), we owe it to ourselves to expose some of these thoughts or conclusions to scrutiny: “to test their validity,” a scientist might say. The thoughts and beliefs we really have to watch out for are the ones that consistently slide in under the radar–to the point where they actually start to shape the way we see and show up in the world. And as we well know, no one is harder on us than we are on ourselves!
- I had one cookie, so I may as well have the whole bag!
- I’m too fat – no one will ever love me as long as I look like this!
- I have a humongous pimple on my forehead. I’m hideous! I can’t go to the party.
- Shirley didn’t call me back – she must be mad at me for something.
- I binged again – I’m such a screw-up. Now I’m right back where I started.
Do any of those ways of thinking sound familiar? If you answered YES, you’ll be relieved to know that these thoughts are founded on faulty logic (stemming from an erroneous core belief or beliefs), and are therefore NOT TRUE! Aaron Beck, the founders of Cognitive Therapy, called these little fly-by-nighters “cognitive distortions.” They can become so pervasive in our thought patterns that they soon become our default way of perceiving the world.
Some common cognitive distortions include catastrophic thinking; dichotomous or all or nothing thinking (the whole bag); magnification of negatives (the pimple); personalization (Shirley must be mad at me); and labelling (I’m a screw-up)” — all very common ways of keeping ourselves locked in self-destructive patterns. The core beliefs that underlie many of these thoughts stem from “Shoulds” and “Musts” – anything there that suggests that you are not okay as you are right now, that you should be different, and that you are not worthy.
So for now, radar up! Whenever you find yourself in distress, start to pay attention to your thinking around the situation. Is your interpretation accurate? Do you have all the information necessary to draw X conclusion? Is the thought logical (i.e., does having a binge make you a screw-up? Just because your friend didn’t call you, is that a reflection of YOU)? In my next post, I’ll talk about some ways to catch these sneaky perpetrators in action. Pretty soon they’ll be knocking at a barred door!
Is it cheating to post a variation of the last recipe in a subsequent post? Here’s the thing – I was trying to recreate last post’s magical peanut butter cups and I ended up with chocolate PB open-faced oreos! How did that happen, you ask? Well, I added some almond milk to my melted chips in an attempt to thin out my chocolate, and it turned into a fudgey moldable chocolateable mass – and open faced pb oreos were born! Hurrah! Cheating or not, here’s the recipe:
Same as last week + 1-2 tbsp almond milk and peanuts (for garnish)
Method: Same as last week, but stir in 1-2 tbs cold almond milk to your melted chips. Remove from heat (it will stiffen). When it’s cool enough to handle (I have the hands of a scullery maid, mind you), roll the chocolate into a ball and then flatten with the palms of your hands, placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet as you go. Once you’ve worked through the batch, do the same with your PB filling, placing the PB discs on top of the chocolate ones. Garnish with peanuts or more chippers. Ta da! And tip – add chocolate chips to your left over pb filling, shape and mould, and now you have raw PB Chip cookies!