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Examples For The Phrase "It's All In Your Mind"
· Don’t be silly, I’m not having an affair. It’s all in your mind.
· It’s all in your mind, and you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.
· It’s all in your mind. My parents really like you.
Why You Shouldn't Use This Phrase:
Everything IS “in your mind”. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t need brains, and that’s one reason this is a bad phrase. The words don’t say anything at all. That’s not the only major problem.
The biggest problem here is what it “means”, which is completely different than what the words say (remember, it’s often what’s “underneath” the words that’s important.
Whether you intend it or not, when you use this phrase, here is what you are saying:
· Your perceptions and beliefs are wrong, so there’s something wrong with you.
· You are imagining things (another way of saying that the person’s perceptions and emotions really don’t count).
· You are wrong because you are somehow seeing things incorrectly, but I’m right because…
While you may be tempted to tell someone their concerns are not real, or even use the phrases above out of a spirit of helpfulness, that’s not the way to do it. These messages create self-doubt in the other person. The closer you are emotionally to that person, the more devastating these remarks will be.
Make It Better: What To Say Instead
Why would you use this phrase? Hopefully, it’s not out of spite, but, from a sincere desire to help. You never like to see someone close to you be upset about something minor. However, if you want to help, start from THEIR perception, NOT yours, unless specifically asked for your opinion.
Here are some examples of better phrasing. You can use them to explore the same issues of perspective, real impact, and emotional bias.
· I know you feel my parents don’t like you, but let’s look at what they’ve done lately. They always ask about you, and you’re always invited to family gatherings.
· Maybe you think my parents don’t like you because they have a different way of showing it than you’re used it.
· If you’re really afraid about what will happen, maybe we should look at what the worst case scenario might be. Maybe it won’t be so bad.
Here’s a tip. We ALL over-react to events, out of proportion to the real world consequences, at least sometimes. You included. Some of us do it a lot. Some of us only rarely. Remember that to the person you care about, the emotions ARE real. Whether he or she has realistic fears about something, or the fears aren’t objectively realistic, it feels exactly the same.
Telling someone he or she shouldn’t feel what is being felt compromises the relationship, and makes it harder for the person to feel safe. And people in emotional situations, need that to feel safe.