Disqualifying the Positives Thinking Trap

Disqualifying the positives is what you do when you fail to take full account of the positive experiences that you have.

It is one of the thinking traps that can get in the way of happiness and success.

If you spend more time thinking about things that are going wrong then you may fail to notice the things that are going right.

Paying more attention to negative experiences is often the result of low self-esteem in which confirmation bias filters-out indicators of personal success.

If you only measure your success by the number of Nobel Prizes you have won, then you’re unlikey to notice some of the great things you’ve achieved.

In this sense, disqualifying the positives in your day to day life is determined by your subjective understandings of success.

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Examples of Disqualifying the Positives

If you believe that you’re worthless and talentless….


When you get promoted at work you think to yourself, ‘This really doesn’t count because anybody could do this job’.


As a result you feel disappointed rather than feeling pleased.

If you believe that you’re pathetic….


When a friend tells you that you’ve been a really good and valuable friend you disqualify the experience by telling yourself that, ‘He’s only saying that because he feels sorry for me which proves just how pathetic I really am.’

Rather than disqualifying the positives and rejecting the complimentary things that friends and colleagues say to you, learn to accept them like a nice gift with a simple ‘Thank You’.

We often believe that our friends don’t really know us and that only we know our own true value, but in reality, our own self-perception is almost always the most distorted one!

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Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about disqualifying the positives or recovering from any of your mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular issues and the different types of mental health counselling we offer (including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT) without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.

Paul Lee BSc. MSc. Psych.

Psychologist Paul Lee in Clinic

You can contact Paul by e-mail on:


Tel: 07434 776125

Joan Lee D. Hyp. MIAEBP.

You can contact Joan by e-mail on:


Tel: 07434 776504