Our brains like All or Nothing Thinking. Our brains find this this way of thinking pretty useful. It is a way to put situations, people or ourselves into categories.
Think of examples like these:
- Either I’m a good missionary, or I sleep in a little later than I should.
- Either I’m thriving in post mission life, or the adjustment has been really difficult.
- Either I have masses of self confidence, or I don’t like myself.
- Either I have faith that my reassignment is inspired, or I question that I’m in the right place.
- Either I’m hugely successful, or I’m totally getting it all wrong.
Why Does Our Brain Do That?
Our brain’s skill of compartmentalizing is actually very useful to us. It is a way for our brains to filter out things that are relevant and things that are not relevant. Our brain can quickly narrow down and process only things that are important. Can you imagine if our brains had to process EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL? But instead, it weeds stuff out. “This is important. This is not. This is relevant to me. This is not.”
But Sometimes, It Backfires
But, sometimes this cool thing that our brain does, has a potential to backfire on us. All or Nothing Thinking keeps us stuck, holding ourselves to an impossible standard, not moving forward, and judging ourselves all along the way.
It actually feels terrible to think that we need to do things perfectly, and hold ourselves to a set ideal. But, it also feels terrible to believe that we are not doing ANYTHING right.
All or Nothing is a Lose-Lose
All or Nothing Thinking ends up being a “Lose-Lose” situation. Because, whatever it is that we are working at, the very second we get something wrong (and we all will)… we want to stop trying and give up entirely.
Use the Word “And”
One way to stop thinking of ourselves in absolutes, right or wrongs, good or bads, or All or Nothing, is to is to use the word “And.”
It looks something like this:
- I’m a good missionary AND sometimes I sleep in a little later than I should.
- I’m thriving in post mission life AND sometimes I still find the adjustment really difficult.
- I have masses of self confidence AND sometimes I still don’t like my self.
- I have faith that my reassignment is inspired AND sometimes I still question that I’m in the right place.
- I’m hugely successful AND sometimes I’m totally getting it all wrong.
We’re a Big Old Mix of Everything
Even though our brain wants to, when we REALLY think about it… most people and situations cannot be grouped or categorized into either/or. Typically, we are a big old mix of everything else on the continuum. And that’s ok. It’s actually the way it’s supposed to be. It really makes our life experiences more full.
So, be onto your brain when it tries to offer you All or Nothing Thinking. Try using the word, “And,” instead.
When you do, you’ll open yourself up to self compassion, drop your self judgement and introduce more abundance…
AND I think that sounds pretty amazing. Don’t you?