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  • Writer's pictureMattaya

Filtering: a cognitive distortion unpacked

Filtering is a term used for when people filter out the positive to focus on the negative.  This is something we are all guilty of from time to time, but can also be very impactful on us, and the people around us.  It can be overwhelming when no matter how hard we try, all we see is the negative in a situation.  It can be even harder when someone we care about is constantly stuck focusing on the bad in the situation.  A tactic to use for yourself or help another person use, is to picture a pair of dirty glasses on. 

When you focus on the picture in front of you with those glasses on, all you see if the dirt spots, even when you are trying really hard to see the picture past it.  To remove the dirt spots, (to stop filtering) take a moment to breathe, rationalize and list the facts of the situation in front of you.  Once this is done, wipe away the negative points that have been stacked up that cannot be supported by hard evidence.  Once you have cleared these dirty spots, visualize the clean glasses being put back on your face and the picture you are trying to view becomes clearer, and undistorted.  This tactic can be used within a few moments.  It is a reminder to yourself to clean your filtering glasses every now and then when you find yourself focusing on the negatives in a situation where there may be some beautiful positives to enjoy. 

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