Here are a few more cognitive distortions I can recall. Our oldest son went through a phase when he was afraid to use the monkey bars in front of other children. I don’t know whether he was afraid he wouldn’t do well or if there was some other problem. It reminded me that I had encountered similar problems in my own life, starting in early childhood. I don’t recall specific examples, but I often hesitated to do things like that, particularly in front of people. I think I was overly afraid of failure and irrationally convinced that everyone was watching me and judging me.
A similar problem is what I call the “cold swimming pool dilemma.” I love to swim. But, I often am overly hesitant to get in the pool when I detect even the slightest hint of a cool temperature. Almost always, I ultimately get in the pool and am ultimately very happy I did so. Then, however, I get a bit disappointed in myself for my initial hesitation.
There’s also the raw chicken example. My wife, naturally, cautioned me not to undercook chicken. I learned cooking quite late in life. It took me years to listen properly to her advice, when it should have only taken me minutes. Really, I’m a slow learner and a poor listener. It does remind me of lessons I could have learned sooner from parents, teachers, and peers had I listened better. I think I was more concerned about my ego, and hurt by the criticism than I should have been. Instead, I should have focused on seeing the criticism as constructive and helpful in my learning and growing.
I have mentioned my laziness with moving furniture, one of many examples. I am often overly daunted by work or other endeavors. I have to challenge myself to stand up to such tasks, but also to not overcompensate by working excessively when others are not working.
One more thought for today is another reminder to myself that inner cultural conflict was a big root problem for me. I mention it again because a recent discussion with my therapist suggested it’s not an uncommon problem. Basically, moving from childhood in a Victorian, provincial culture to adulthood in a cosmopolitan culture overwhelmed me with mixed messages and conflicting desires. I took too many decades to reconcile the conflict in my mind. In the meantime, the inner conflict was a fertile breeding ground for cognitive distortions. I took too many decades to grow up.