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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: Faulty “all or nothing” thinking.

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Faulty “all or nothing” thinking.

 
Negative thought patterns stop us from growing. They stop us from setting goals and believing in change for the better. These thoughts are generated by influences around us by individuals, culture and the media. Without realising it, we start to believe that there is limitation in our lives and therefore, fail to achieve our potential in a massive way.

There is a balance to this argument. There are some certainties that cannot be changed. For instance: - We are not immortal. We will certainly die in the worldly sense. That is simply part of the balance of nature.

When a negative label is put upon us, we need to sort the wheat from the chaff regarding the statement that we choose to believe in.

How often do you use the words “should” and “must” to other people and to yourself?

How often do you use the words “always” and “never” in a negative sense when challenging yourself and others in your family, circle of friends and work environment?

Incorrect uses of these words create limitations in that they can de-motivate us. This is because we are trying to do something that is not is not integral to our individuality and our ability to make choices that are right for us. 

Try the following exercise:
Complete the following statements where you frequently use the key word.

“You always……………………………………………………….…..”

“I always……………………………………………………………….”

“You are always……………………………………………………….”

“I am always……………………………………………………………”

Example of faulty use is as follows: -
“You always shout at me”. Is this really true? It may occur often and may seem like always, but it is more likely that it happens often or frequently, or maybe sometimes.

“I am always late”. This again is an untrue statement. I doubt that anybody has actually been late for something on every occasion.

Applying “always” to what we have done in the past, I suggest for everyone is 99.9% of the time a lie. It’s more likely 100% a lie! A more truthful statement would be to replace the word “always” with alternative words such as “occasionally”, “sometimes”, “rarely”, “often”, “frequently”. This allows us to identify what elements really are true and those that are the “chaff” that do not apply to us.

By making the same changes in the “you” statements, we allow the opportunity for the person it is aimed at to accept the truth in the statement.

Now do the same with these.

“You should……………………………………………………………”

“I should……………………………………………………………….”

“You must…………………………………………………………….”

“I must…………………………………………………………………”


The words “should” and “must” take away our ability to choose what we do. It is worth remembering that making a choice gives us power. To use choice effectively, we have the chance to decide the positive and negative possible outcomes before we make a decision. We stop the action being forced upon us. Whatever we decide to do, we do it with authority, ownership and responsibility.

Again, in the “You” statement, we grant freedom to the person we say it to. That person can then have authority, ownership and responsibility for their action.

“Should” and “must” is used with young children who have yet to develop their maturity. It is done as a protection measure in cases of potential danger. As a child grows, he/she will have the opportunity to decide for his/herself providing we allow them to do so.

I challenge you to look at how we use these words to adults and growing children and how they can impact upon  self image. The same can be said for ourselves. If we believe the all of nothing statement, then that is what we become. We lose self motivation, confidence and self esteem. We effectively become not what we have been designed to be.

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