Happy New Year 2015 to everyone! I am thankful that God has allowed us to see the beginning of a new year! Every day God gives us is a blessing, and we should always praise and worship Him every day that we live!
To continue my articles on the 10 forms of negative thinking, I want to talk about “jumping to conclusions.” This form of negative thinking was the most common type that I saw in counseling. People who used this form of negative thinking ran the gamut of using it occasionally to using it to the point that it ruined their relationships. “Jumping to conclusions” happens when a person decides that something negative is going to happen or someone is automatically reacting in a negative way without looking at the evidence to support these thoughts. There are forms of the jumping to conclusions type of thinking, and these are “mind reading” and “fortune telling.”
“Mind Reading” occurs when one believes he or she knows the innermost thoughts of another person, and that these thoughts are negative. Of course, no one on this Earth can read minds, and the only logical way to know what someone else is thinking is to ask them. People who think they can mind read usually make assumptions that another person is thinking negatively about them. It is a rare case indeed that a person who has a habit of using this form of thinking believes that another person is thinking something positive. This can cause issues with interpersonal relationships because others can become weary of being frequently misunderstood and accused of having thoughts that never even crossed their minds. This form of thinking is irrational because only God knows every thought that we have. God knows everything about us because He created us. As Matthew 10:30 says, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” No one but God knows each and every one of us that well. Therefore, we as Christians should always try to avoid trying to negatively assume the thoughts of others unless they tell us what they are thinking.
“Fortune telling occurs when a person tries to predict what is going to happen in the future without having the evidence to back these beliefs. People who do this almost always think negatively about the future. We cannot predict the future, only God can do this. By trying to predict what is going to happen in the future is like telling God that we are smarter than He is. If we love God and obey Him like we are commanded to do, we should trust that He will take care of us. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
I had a case of a girl who suffered from the habit of “mind reading’ and “fortune telling” when it came to her husband. Several years prior to her marriage, she had a child out of wedlock with another man who was physically and mentally abusive to her. When she met her husband and married him, she carried over her fears of being abused into her marriage. She would come into my office and talk about how she believed that her husband was cheating on her and that her husband thought she was “ugly” and “fat.” I asked her if her husband ever said anything or acted in a way that would cause her to believe he felt this way about her. I was expecting her to say that he had said or done something to make her feel this way, but surprisingly, she said that her husband was only good to her. She said that the only issue she had with him was that he was acting more distant toward her than he once did. I explained to her how jumping to conclusions about her husband’s behavior can ruin their relationship and that her husband’s current distant behavior toward her meant that he was becoming tired of the way she is acting toward him. I gave her some homework where she wrote down the various things that she was accusing her husband of thinking and doing, and she also had to write down the evidence to support or not support her thoughts. She came back with her homework completed, and we talked about how she had no evidence to support the negative things that she thought about her husband. She did, however, have ample evidence to support the fact that her husband was good to her and was not cheating on her or thinking that she was unattractive. I suggested that in order to help that damage that had been done to my client’s relationship with her husband, she should talk with her husband about why she treated him the way she did, and to apologize. I also encouraged her to tell her husband all of the good things he does for her and how she appreciates him. My client came back for her next appointment and talked about how much better her marriage has been since she had been making an effort to stop jumping to conclusions.
It’s amazing how much better our lives can be if we put God first and trust that He will take care of us! We should never fall into Satan’s trap of believing that we are greater and more knowledgeable than God! I hope that everyone will try to focus more on trusting in God and making him the Top Priority in our lives for the year 2015 and every year God gives us!