Quotes Challenge #2

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Feelings are strange things. You ought to be able to trust your feelings, but too often, your feelings can land you in moral muddles that are hard to get out of or even rationalize to yourself. I suppose a cognitive distortion is a type of negative feeling, a kind of anger at oneself: Everything I do is wrong. Everyone is better than/works harder than me. I should be a better person.

I suffer from cognitive distortions frequently, and I have to tell myself that they are like bad dreams: they seem very real, but when closely examined, they are patently untrue and even somewhat childish. So, as you would ignore the bad dream and refuse to let it seep into and pollute your waking moments, you would not give consent to that cognitive distortion.

That’s what Eleanor Roosevelt acknowledges in her quote: that you need to give consent to cognitive distortions such as feelings of inferiority, pulls toward perfectionism, and beliefs that you must always make everybody happy. If you don’t consent to believe in these feelings, then they hold no power over you.

It sounds like it’s so easy, like something from a fairy tale: Tell yourself it’s a bad dream and it’ll all go away. The reality is that these feelings are not dispelled so easily. That’s how powerful a cognitive distortion is and how strong its grip on you may be. The truth is that you have to work hard at getting rid of them. You have to step back and examine them in the raw light of logic so you can see that they are not true and that there is no reason to give your consent to allow them to make you feel bad.

Today’s nominations for the Quotes Challenge:

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