Thought Mine #16: Size Problem

Each Thought Mine is followed by a definition and a list of examples. Please note that the following examples are representative statements. The same sentence may represent numerous Thought Mines. I list examples mainly to give you a starting point. Often individuals blend two or three “favorite” Thought Mines together into their own type of social misreading.

 

Thought Mine #16: Size Problem

Also called:

Too much/too little problem

Definition:

Irrationally believing that the amount of something causes the problem or situation.

Negative self-talk example:

“I’m too fat to take a swimming class.”

Couple example:

“Our house is too small for us to have a baby.”

Teen example:

“I have too many pimples to get a date.”

Work/school example:

“It’s too hard to ask for a raise.”

“There is no way I can get through all this homework in only a week.”

 

Often, a person uses size problems to avoid dealing with an uncomfortable thought. When dealing with a size problem you have to define the amount, and honestly look at what that amount affects.

 

Mary: “I’m too fat to take a swimming class.”

Dr. Phil:  “How much too fat are you? What is the fattest that a person can be and still take a swimming class?”

 

Kevin:  “Our house is too small for us to have a baby.”

Dr. Phil:  “What is the smallest floor space that you can live in and safely raise a baby?”

 

Heather:  “There is no way I can get through all this homework in only a week.”

Dr. Phil:  “How many minutes will it take for you to do your homework?”

 

Often people will not use complete sentences when they throw up personal roadblocks using a size problem. For this common situation you want to ask, “__________ for what?”

 

Mary:  “I’m too fat…”

Dr. Phil: “You’re too fat for what?”

Mary:  “I’m too fat to take a swimming class.”

Dr. Phil: “How much too fat are you? What is the fattest that a person can be and still take a swimming class?”

 

Kevin:  “Our house is too small…”

Dr. Phil: “Your house is too small for what?”

Kevin:  “Our house is too small for us to have a baby.”

Dr. Phil: “What is the smallest floor space that you can live in and safely raise a baby?

 

Sometimes a subject isn’t a part of the opening sentence. Often all you get is a sigh or a grunt.

 

Heather: “There is no…”

Dr. Phil: “There is no… what?”

Heather: There is no way I can get through all this homework in only a week.”

Dr. Phil: “How many minutes will it take for you to do your homework?”

 

Often the roadblock is just that they can’t think past their perceived size problem.

More: Understanding Thought Mines

Thought Mines are social misreadings that get in the way of communicating clearly. They are thought stumbling blocks that allow us to misread, and often misjudge, the intention of others. By misreading others intentions, we can often get sidetracked from getting our needs met.

 

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