What is overgeneralization

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

what is over Generalization

If you think that you can't do anything right, that you are no good, or that you are a total failure then probably you fell a victim to the "over generalization" way of thinking.

Over generalization, in simple, is creating a negative generalized view of something while the truth may be that this view was only built based on one situation that you faced.

Its the same situation when a guy hurts a girl and then she starts to think that all men are untrustworthy or cheaters.

Another example of over generalization is when someone treats you badly and then you start to think that everyone became bad tempered. A third example is when you lose your job and then start to think that you are not good or a total failure.

how can over generalization affect your life

Over generalization is an improper way of thinking and is an obstacle that prevents healthy personal growth and happiness.

Over generalization is one of the common forms of limiting beliefs. If something bad happened to you then you formed a limiting belief instead of trying to fix that problem then not only you will prevent yourself from solving the problem but you will also experience the same negative emotions whenever you face a similar problem as a result of the negative beliefs you formed.

You could over generalize anything starting from saying that you don't have any good abilities or good personality traits up to thinking that everyone hates you.

Many of the popular psychological disorders are linked to over generalization in a way or another. If for example a cat scared a woman then she started thinking that all cats are scary then she might develop a phobia of cats.

While the cause of the phobia in this case is the traumatic experience this woman have been through still the problem might not have occurred if this woman didn't assume that all cats are the same.

How to not fall in the over generalization trap

The best way to escape from the over generalization trap is to understand that each and every situation you face is unique and that if something happened once then this doesn't mean that it will keep happening all the time.

If you did few wrong things then this does not mean that you did nothing right in your life!!

Whenever you find yourself about to make an over generalized judgment remind yourself that one situation is not enough to come with a belief that you might live with for the rest of your life.

Over generalization can ruin your self confidence, prevent you from having successful relationships and can even prevent you from ever succeeding in life. Do your best to avoid this fatal thinking pattern.

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