Today's cognitive distortion is a hotly debated one when I cover it during class. When students are asked if they believe the world is fair, they consistently respond, "Well, of course it isn't. We know that!" But when I drill into the beliefs of what that actually means, I start to see some resistance. When I ask, "Is hard work always rewarded?" people will say yes or that it is rewarded most of the time. But is it?
Often times, this is when the older people in class will speak up and share their personal stories about how they first learned that statement wasn't true. People really don't like to hear this one. It speaks to a lot of people's current struggle. This is why the Just-World Hypothesis is so hard to shake in people.
What does it really mean that the world isn't fair?
It's more than just saying the world isn't fair. Below is a short list of views that people who believe in a Just World often hold:
How many of these false beliefs above do you hold? How many do you know are false but you find yourself resisting fully acknowledging it with statements starting with, “Yes, I know that is false but …”
People really want to believe in a Just-World. There are times, though, when facing the true unfairness and even injustice of the world we live in, can indeed be difficult. We can't fix what is wrong in this world, though, unless we first really see our reality for what it is.
Fridays – Flaws in Thinking
There are some common errors in thinking (more formally called cognitive distortions and biases) that can get in the way of healthy and helpful thinking. Each Friday, you will learn a new term to help in seeing your own thinking more clearly.
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