Therapeutic Insight #36

Headwinds/Tailwinds Asymmetry:

You’re parents were probably tougher on you than they were on your siblings, right?

You’re favourite sports team probably has it harder than other teams in most games.

And you probably hit an unfair ratio of red lights, especially when you’re in a hurry.

What if I told you these events are often fictions of our imagination? In the language of CBT they are called “cognitive distortions,” or ways that we make ourselves miserable. When you go for a bike ride, you notice almost every moment that you’re biking into the wind (headwind), yet as soon as you turn around to go the other way, you quickly forget about the tailwind pushing you along.

This is a metaphor created by the research of Tom Gilovich and Shai Davidai for how our mind perceives negative events far more readily than it does positive ones. We’re bound to hit some red lights, just like everyone else. Our favourite sports team is bound to have some calls against them, just like everyone else. And our parents are bound to say no to us and yes to our siblings every now and then, just like everyone else.

Image result for cycling headwind

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