I keep getting emails with
as the first word in the subject heading.
That startles me, every time, because I sometimes call myself
when I make a mistake.
I get so many emails every day (with or without the word
in the subject), I sometimes miss responding to one, here and there.
If I call myself
when I miss an email (or for any other reason), that is the cognitive distortion of Labeling, defined as follows:
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”?
Yesterday, in a therapy group at work, we talked, at length, about the cognitive distortion of labeling.
I could label myself
right now, because
- I can never remember if labeling has two or three l’s,
- I didn’t take a picture of the topics we discussed in the therapy group (including labeling), and
- I haven’t explained why I’m getting emails with the subject heading
However, instead of calling myself
… I would rather
- Forgive myself for inevitable mistakes.
- Share this antidote for the cognitive distortion of labeling:
If you label yourself negatively, such as “a fool” or “a loser,” remind yourself that such absolute terms are subjective and meaningless, and that human beings are too complex to be reduced that simplistically. Also, consider the possibility that somebody else may have given you that idea about yourself, and that they were wrong.
- Explain that those [Idiot] emails refer to my son’s participation in a local production of Green Day’s American Idiot.
- Show you these non-labeled photos I snapped yesterday (like the “blogger” that I am):
How might you label those photos? I would much prefer that you label them, instead of negatively labeling yourself.
I am labeling myself “grateful” to all who helped me create this post today and to you — of course! — for being my “reader.”