Yes, I confess. I’m a loser.
You may think I am guilty, right now, of the cognitive distortion of labeling, as follows:
Labeling or Name-calling.
We generate negative global judgments based on little evidence. Instead of accepting errors as inevitable, we attach an unhealthy label to ourselves or others. For example, you make a mistake and call yourself a “loser,” a “failure”, or an “idiot.” Labels are not only self-defeating, they are irrational, simplistic, and untrue. Human beings are complex and fallible, and in truth cannot be reduced to a label. Consider this: we all breathe, but would it make sense to refer to ourselves as “Breathers”? *
And perhaps I have used that distortion, about myself. But I want to be clear about what kind of loser I mean, today.
A glove loser.
It seems like there is always something I am losing (or fear I’m losing). These days, it’s those things that protect me from the cold, namely scarves, gloves, and hats.
So far, this season, I have (apparently) lost the wonderful scarf I bought a few months ago — to prepare myself physically and emotionally for the coming winter season — at Urban Outfitters in Cambridge (which I wrote about here).**
Yesterday, after I finished the morning’s blog post, I was scrambling, more than usual, to get ready for work. The reasons for the increased scramble level? The temperature was allegedly going to turn warm, despite a chilly start. So, deciding on the appropriate outer attire was more of a challenge than usual. I chose a lighter coat, and checked the pockets for gloves. To my dismay, there was only one. Here is that lone glove:
This was particularly distressing because of my feelings about those gloves. I like them, very much. Also, I was wearing those gloves when I first met my boyfriend, and in the email he sent me after our first meeting, he singled them out, in his expressed appreciation of our encounter.
Yes, I felt sad, upon seeing that lone, solitary glove. Based on past experiences being a loser, I knew there was a good chance its partner would never be found.
I had mixed feelings — worried that I had finally lost one of these precious gloves, but with some hope the glove would be found.
What did I base that hope on? A lot of data, actually. Not only have I had several false alarms — over the years — about losing one of those cool gloves, but I’ve had many experiences of fearing I’d lost something, only to find it again.
Yesterday, after locating another pair of favorite gloves — bright red ones! — I set off to work, letting go of fear and sadness. And those red gloves kept me nicely warm, during the (surprisingly) cold walk to the hospital.
And I had a good day, doing work I love.
At the end of the day, as I prepared to venture out — into much warmer weather than I had encountered that morning — I looked for my gloves in their usual residing place — my coat pockets.
And there was only one red glove, to be found. WHAT? I thought. How can that be?
That is my usual response, when I first find that I’ve lost something.
WHAT? How can that be?
And, more so than with the first lost glove, this latest loss seemed …. inconceivable.
I thought, “How could I have possibly lost ANOTHER FAVORITE glove, in one day?” I retraced my steps, mentally, as advised when you lose something. I knew I had worn them until I entered the hospital. I knew I had entered the hospital through the main entrance, which is a five-minute walk away from where I work.***
My conclusion was this: the glove HAD to be in the hospital. Before I left the hospital to return home, I checked with a couple of lost-and-found locations. Nada. Other lost gloves had been turned in****, but not a red one, like this:
Now, I must prepare to leave the house to return to work.
Maybe I’ll find that glove today. And who knows? Maybe I’ll find the other, more beloved, glove, too. They’re both out there, somewhere. I know that.
For now, it’s warm enough to venture out gloveless, today.
And if***** it turns cold again?
Thank goodness, those two are still together.
Thanks to losers everywhere and to you — of course! — for visiting today.
See here for more definitions of cognitive distortions.
Alas, I did not capture this beauteous scarf in a photo, nor is it available to view online. However, I still recommend visiting that post where I got it, especially since it includes a guy wearing a bear coat!
Sometimes I deliberately walk through the interior of the hospital, so I can repeat a helpful mantra to myself: ” You are not a patient at this hospital. You work here.” This is helpful because of my extensive experiences, as a child, spending time in a different hospital, because of my congenital heart condition. At other times, I deliberately walk through the interior of the hospital for another reason: just to warm up before my first appointment with patients.
I guess I’m not alone, in being a loser.
More precisely: “when”, not “if.”