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The mind-reading trap

“I know she doesn’t love me.” “He does that because he doesn’t care about my feelings.” “She thinks I’m a loser.” Mind reading is an attempt to know what you can’t know—someone else’s thoughts. When there’s struggle and chaos, it’s tempting to feel in control by interpreting what we think is going on. This isn’t necessarily a problem until we treat our interpretations as if they are factual. The guy, for example, who has convinced himself that his partner doesn’t love him, may be unaware that his partner’s withdrawal and moodiness isn’t about him—it may be the partner’s stressful situation at work. When you consider how easy it is to misinterpret your own thoughts, you begin to understand what a folly it is to believe you know someone else’s.

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