Exaggeration: why we make a mountain out of a molehill - Deepstash

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Exaggeration: why we make a mountain out of a molehill

https://nesslabs.com/exaggeration

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Exaggeration: why we make a mountain out of a molehill
Overreacting, catastrophizing, maximizing, overplaying… We have many words for exaggeration. However, all exaggeration mostly falls under three categories.

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Three categories of exaggeration

Three categories of exaggeration
  • Cognitive distortions: Distorted thinking patterns can lead to overestimation (exaggerating the likelihood of an event) or catastrophizing (exaggerating the importance of an event). Exaggeration as a form of cognitive distortion is most common in emotionally-charged situations.
  • Manipulation: This is tied with attention-seeking. At a young age, children start amplifying achievements and obstacles in order to seek attention. Other forms of manipulation such as bragging and boasting are common at all ages to seek attention. Exaggeration in this case is not necessarily intended to hurt the other party.
  • Pathology. Exaggerated all-or-nothing thinking is extremely common in depression. Narcissists display a grandiose sense of self-importance. And catastrophizing is associated with paranoid behaviour.

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How to spot and stop exaggerating

  • Be aware of the adverbs and qualifiers you're using such as “incredibly”, “the best” or similar qualifiers. Ask yourself: do these add value to the statement? Are they a true reflection of reality?
  • Use realistic synonyms. Are you “exhausted” or just "tired"? Is the challenge you are facing “impossible” or just “difficult”? Instead of “starving”, maybe you're just “hungry”.
  • Embrace vulnerability. Instead of trying to impress your interlocutor, focus on building an authentic connection. This will keep you away from game of exaggeration, where each person tries to top what the other said.
  • Correct yourself when you catch yourself embellishing a story or bragging about an accomplishment.
  • Ponder why you exaggerated. Even if you sometimes exaggerate, it’s good practice to reflect on the reason why you did it.

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When we question our thinking

People became philosophers when they began to question what guides their thinking and analyze their thoughts.

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Today, one of the most common destructive thought patterns is all-or-nothing thinking. In other words, perfectionism.

Pragmatism and perfectionism

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Say It Out Loud

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