Heaven's-Reward-Fallacy-Cognitive-Distortion

Heaven’s Reward Fallacy (A Cognitive Distortion)

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Do you ever feel like the universe is punishing you? That no matter how much you sacrifice, that outcome you desire still won’t come?

Do you find yourself expecting Karma or some other divine force to repay you for your good deeds and immediately?

You’re not alone. In fact, a lot of people think that way. But it turns out that this thinking pattern is called “Heaven’s Reward Fallacy,” which negatively impacts your life in many ways. For example, it can make you more likely to give up on your goals and dreams, or even worse, cause depression! 

If you want to break free from this cycle, read on because today, I will show you how understanding the Heaven’s Reward Fallacy will help improve your mindset so that you can start living an amazing life!

Let’s get started…

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What is the Heaven’s Reward Fallacy?

This pattern of thoughts makes us believe that we deserve a good outcome if we work hard enough and make enough sacrifices in the short run.

This kind of distorted thinking makes us believe that we are collecting brownie points to be cashed in for something later down the line.

And it can lead to disappointment, frustration, anger, and even depression when the awaited reward doesn’t materialize after all our hard work!

We might think that things will magically eventually turn for the better or that our virtue will be rewarded with enough sacrifices.

Heaven's-Reward-Fallacy-carrot-on-a-stick
Heaven’s Reward Fallacy

Dangers of the Heaven’s Reward Fallacy.

When this pattern of thought becomes an irrational belief, people may experience resentment about the lack of payoff for their efforts. This frustration may lead to avoidance of tasks that aren’t rewarding since they are not worth the effort.

People who fall into this fallacy tend to think in extremes and do not see a middle ground between “all” or “nothing.”

They also have an extremely hard time seeing things through other people’s perspectives because their focus is solely on themselves.

The person who falls into the Heaven Rewards Fallacy typically has a tough time taking care of themselves, they have poor self-awareness of how they are really feeling, and they struggle to say no!

This also leads to poor self-esteem and self-worth. Because somewhere along the lines, the belief of “I don’t deserve my reward because I didn’t sacrifice enough” gets adopted.

And instead of recognizing this for what it is, a cognitive distortion.

People tend to go to the next extreme and become even more self-sacrificing, all the while believing that their perceived reward will materialize.

What ends up happening is a vicious cycle of self-sabotage through sacrifice that reinforces this cognitive distortion and depression.

How does this fallacy affect you?

Do you sacrifice your needs and wants for someone else’s and constantly give and give but end up feeling resentful or disappointed?

And do you do this all the while imagining that you’re collecting brownie points that you can cash in someday either in Heaven or by getting loved or taken care of back?

If you said “yes” to any of these, then guess what, you’re engaging in the Heaven’s Reward Fallacy.

And you’re playing a dangerous game.

Because I’m going to hazard a guess that when you do try and cash in your brownie points, you don’t get the reward you feel you deserve. You’re going to be left feeling disappointed, resentful, ticked off, bitter, and taken advantage of.

Or worse yet.

You’re going to be left feeling depressed and believing that your sacrifices weren’t good enough to warrant the reward.

And here is where the danger comes in.

Because this belief can take root, “well if my sacrifices weren’t good enough, it’s because I wasn’t good enough.”

And this belief can destroy a lot of things.

Like self-esteem, self-worth, and the belief that we have in ourselves that we do deserve good things, those good things can happen without sacrificing other things we hold dear.

Heaven's-reward-fallacy-with-scales-tipped
Heaven’s Reward Fallacy

Challenging the Heaven’s Reward Fallacy.

Instead of doing things because you have ulterior motives influencing you, do the right thing just for the sake of doing the right thing with no strings attached.

And do things that you want to do because it makes you feel good. And not because you have some board in your head where you are keeping tally marks.

“We would frequently be ashamed of our good deeds if people saw all of the motives that produced them.” — Francois de La Rochefoucauld.

And if you don’t want to do something because it feels like too much of a sacrifice for you to make, then say “no.”

But here’s the thing. If you’re used to saying “yes,” so you can put a tally mark in the “I’m owed one” category. Then learning to say “no” is going to be uncomfortable but not impossible. However, the more you can say “no,” the more comfortable you will become in saying it, much like many things we do in life. The more we do it, the more comfortable we get in doing it.

So, here are some tips for you to try!

  • I.C.E. – and I’m not talking about “in case of emergency.” 

I’m talking about…

Identify the thought. 

Call it what it is – a cognitive distortion or Heaven’s Reward Fallacy. 

Explore a new thought to replace it with. 

  • It’s about knowing that you are worthy – Even without the big reward at the end, because perhaps the “big reward” is you learning to love yourself.
Daring Greatly book by Brene' Brown Ph.D
Daring Greatly

Check out Daring Greatly by Brene Brown Ph.D. [affiliate]. It’s an exceptionally well-written book about shame and how shame influences how we think, feel and live our lives. And because the Heaven’s Reward Fallacy sometimes comes from a place of shame. I know that this book can prove helpful.   

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