Why we <3 all or nothing thinking

The pain of polarizing aka all or nothing thinking AKA A LOT OF MENTAL NOISE.

You know the thoughts like…

My boyfriend is a gift to this earth or my boyfriend is the absolute worst human. I am so smart and capable or I absolutely suck at everything I do. My friends love me or everyone thinks I’m a weirdo.

When you live from this space of polarized, all or nothing thinking, you live from a place of extremes. It can typically include some of these words:

Always, never, impossible, perfect, ruined, success, failure, etc

The dilemma most people bump into is that many, many things in life aren’t that simple. There are a lot of things in life that are somewhere in the middle. And that’s because as humans living in this lifetime, we’re always evolving, learning and change is inevitable (Doozy, I know).

One way this can really show up is the constant desire to label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’

But have you ever had an experience where you’ve loved something but also disliked something about it?

For example, I love my computer for all of the amazing resources it makes available to me but I hate that if I’m not mindful it can keep me up at night. I’m so grateful for my relationship and there are days where it’s really hard to navigate. I don’t want to stop binge watching Netflix for the millionth hour but I know I’ll feel better if I pause it for a half hour and go take a shower.

So WHY do so many of us have this all or nothing, on or off, good or bad tendency? Well there are a few theories out there, one of them being that it is easier for our brain to process and file away neatly when we put a clear label on it. It can sometimes be more effortful at first to evaluate something and process through it’s complexities rather than just stick with a snap judgement or inclination. Another reason? Safety. Safety. Safety. So often this tendency is something humans do as a perceived protection against having to feel pain or other “hard” emotions. Your brain may be trying to protect you from future harm!

But here’s the kicker, this thinking can actually cause way MORE pain and make things a lot more complicated than they need to be by not allowing yourself to acknowledging the messy middle.

Womp, womp! I know it’s a bit hard and sometimes confusing.

Learning how to lean into the messy middle, to find the gray, to be okay with the complexities and inconsistencies of existing here on earth. It’s one of the most freeing things you can do for yourself and those you love.

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