Overcoming “All or Nothing” Mentality

 In Blog, Life Lessons

overcoming_all_or_nothing_mentalityYes, I admit, I have been a blogging slacker . . . not writing for not just one, but for two nights in a row. The truth is, Sunday night I was absolutely exhausted after “Easterover” (Easter/Passover) festivities with family, and last night I had no idea what to blog about. No topics were coming into my mind, and by the time some possibilities had started to spring up, I had been on the phone and ended up falling asleep shortly thereafter.

What this made me realize about myself – even more than continued awareness of the inner critic (which I was already WELL aware of!) – was how much of an “all or nothing” kind of person I am. I suppose it’s part of that perfectionist within; if I can’t do something perfectly, I don’t want to do it at all. Even though there is part of me that is very aware of how irrational of a thought pattern that is, it is still very much a driving thought/force in my life.

Upon further thought, I realized how this mentality has shown up since I was very, very young. Musically, if I couldn’t do a piece perfectly, I didn’t want to do it. Health-wise, if I couldn’t do something perfectly, I either wouldn’t do it, or I would do it but would try to somehow cover up all of the things I didn’t do. Imperfection equated to failure in my mind. In some ways, it still does, but I have realized since my “Quarter Life Crisis” in 2002 that there is a lot of grey area and that things are not always as “black and white” as my logical, analytical mind would like for them to be. (Yes, I may be psychic and a medium, but when it revolves around my own experience, I am just about as analytical as they come!)

So, after two nights of missing (skipping) blogging, my old response would have been to give up on the writing altogether. And honestly, I did consider it.

What are you continuing for? You missed two days and now you have no topics in mind to write about. You’re disappointing the people who are following your writing, and you entirely missed the point of the 90-day journey. You screwed up and failed.

Although this inner voice is very strong, and I’m still not entirely convinced I haven’t “failed”, I’ve also realized it’s about the journey, not the destination. So, I will pick up where I left off. My last blog was day 41 of 90, so I’ll just call this day 42, and move on from here.

It may not be much, but this one small step is a tremendous leap of forward progress for me. 🙂

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Showing 3 comments
  • Other Amanda

    My therapist used to call this “black-and-white thinking”, which is a popular thematic thinking scheme in cult programming. Something either is or isn’t- there is no in between. For years, I had to learn the ability to view things in shades of grey- to put questions in my declarative statements and to put a focus on subtleties. You’ve essentially taken the first step by saying “What if I just kept writing?” By choosing to analyze another piece of you, you also stepped away from black and white. In short, this whole piece is a perfect example of shattering the all-or-nothing pattern that has been holding you back! Yay!

    • Jess

      Thanks for the encouragement, my dear! It can be a little challenging — I had the “inner critic” beating myself up for a little while after I posted this tonight, but I am doing my best to not listen to that little bugger and keep on keeping on. 😉

  • Lin

    It’s possible that your mini-break from blogging was a way for you to let go of the perfectionism. (At least regarding the blog.)

    See that pole in your photo? Just slide on down the middle, AWAY from the points of “nothing” or “everything”! :>)

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