tigercrpdPeople, in general, and habitually angry people, in particular, tend to take things personally. There is a reason for this: fundamental attribution error (FAE).  Taking things personally is a form of survival-oriented meaning-making.  If you see a tiger in the wild at a distance, it makes good adaptive sense to ask yourself: “Is it moving towards me?  Is it interested in me?  Is it a threat to me?”  We are all self-focused and, thus, primed for paranoia.  Without paranoid questions like these we would not have made it as a species.  But we have.  Which is good.  But this winning evolutionary strategy of paranoia comes at a cost.  While paranoia, in moderation, is adaptive; in excess, paranoia it is maladaptive.  When you take everything personally, life becomes miserable for you and those around you.  The trick is to learn to distinguish real tigers (real threats) from paper tigers (symbolic threats).

[excerpt from “Anger Management Jumpstart” (a book I am working on, due out in Fall 2013 from PPM)]



Tiger photo available from Shutterstock



View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 2 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

    Last reviewed: 16 Apr 2013

APA Reference
Somov, P. (2013). Paper Tigers. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 23, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindful-living/2013/04/paper-tigers/


Reinventing the Meal
Reinventing the Meal
Present Perfect
Eating the Moment
The Lotus Effect The Smoke-Free Smoke Break
Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. is the author of The Lotus Effect, Present Perfect, The Smoke-Free Smoke Break, and Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time.

Subscribe to this Blog:

Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner

Most Popular Posts
Recent Comments
  • Joan Winifred: Hand stitch…or machine? Seamless (yet not meaningless) Nice needlework aka poetry:)
  • best honeymoon resort: Cancun has got several golfing clubs with scenic locations that are considered to be a few of...
  • Garage Remodeling: Omg. Great style. Exactly how did an individual make absolute sure it had sufficient place and...
  • Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.: I follow. Well said. Thank you.
  • oldblackdog: This is a reaction to A Snapshot of Self” I used to “do” a lot of photography, old...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!