On reading about Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) I encounter

But, if you feel sad after a friend cancels your lunch plans and you begin to think there’s obviously something seriously wrong with you and no one likes you, this is problematic because this thought is extreme and not based on reality.

This makes sense because concluding that none likes you from canceling lunch is overestimation.

But my question is different: how or why are we generating these unrealistic thoughts in the first place? Especially given that after some challenging these thoughts, we can correct them ourselves. So if we can correct them ourselves after challenging them, why do we generate these unrealistic thoughts in the first place, and not the correct ones?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. Someone who has self-esteem issues can develop altered thinking patterns which are hard to break alone $\endgroup$ May 13, 2019 at 5:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Could you include a reference/link to where you read that statement on CBT? $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    May 13, 2019 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ I believe I may have found your quote which is here and is talking about REBT which is different to CBT. Is that where you was reading your quote? $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2019 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Another way to phrase these questions would be:

In the broadest terms, the answer is that we evolved to have these mental characteristics because they probably gave our ancestors a survival and/or reproductive edge over their contemporaries. In the past, humans needed to be socially accepted in a small tribe; exclusion meant actual death as it was too hard to survive alone. Hence, we evolved to be hyper-sensitive to signs of social exclusion.

Your final question might be:

  • How come we can't control our feelings with our thoughts?

See the first point above. It didn't help us survive to be calm and at peace.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.