When Does All or Nothing Really Matter?
Have you ever noticed that you’re either on your diet, or off your diet? You’re either counting your calories, taking 20,000 steps a day, giving it your all, or instead you’re binge eating a bag of Doritos under your desk at work.
Maybe one moment you’re getting along great with your partner, feeling like you’ve found your soulmate, and then the next day you feel like you don’t even know the person you’re sleeping next to.
One day you're superwoman at work, getting it all done, and the next day you’re overwhelmed and making every mistake imaginable.
I feel like my world has 2 settings: “All” or “Nothing.”
And here’s what I mean:
I’m either going to do it perfectly, or I’m not going to even try. And I’ve realized that I don’t just do it in one area of my life. I do it with food, relationships, work, all of it. And this mentality is how we’ve become accustomed to functioning: it’s how we do things.
But, it’s not like on your oven you have just 2 settings (on or off).
So why do we set our life to be either “on” or “off,” all or nothing?
We live in a multiple-choice world filled with infinite possibilities, but we set ourselves to only have it one way or the other. It’s either going to happen exactly like I pictured it to happen, or not at all.
I can think of times in my life where I’ve created multiple choices for myself, given myself more options for success, but then the unthinkable happens. I get a wrong answer, I feel rejected, stupid, like I’m a failure at every corner. I shrivel up into nothing, and I quickly crawl back into my all or nothing mentality.
And here’s what I believe is the crux of the issue: We are so terrified of fucking it up, doing it wrong, being rejected, or whatever that looming fear is, that we create an all or nothing scenario, and that fear of being imperfect draws a reason to be afraid…right to us.
Where’s the middle ground, the gray areas where the light and dark meet?
Where are those moments where I falter, and pick myself back up, or where I choose to stay persistent in the face of difficulty? The moments where I stand my ground, or I practice self-forgiveness? Where I let it go and move on?
Oh no, no, no. I’d much rather have each and every failure send me sobbing headfirst into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream.
So how do we reinvent our attitude about things?
I think we have to realize that we’re not alone in it. We all have similar fears, but in the end the ones who are persistent are the ones who make it. We’ve all heard the crazy stories of the hundreds of auditions it took an actor to get their first part, or how many rejection letters you receive from trying to get a book published. Heck, even Stephen King endured 60 rejections before he sold his first short story.
We have to decide that we are stronger than our fear of rejection/failure and decide that we are going to continually give it our best, especially in the face of challenges. And once we truly commit ourselves to it, knowing that we’re willing to push past the challenges, it’s amazing how much easier the road becomes. See, I believe that when we let go of our “all or nothing mentality,” the universe opens up. All of a sudden doors open, and things have an opportunity to move forward, because you’re willing to navigate through it. (Check out my free illustrated guide on Reclaiming Your Universe.)
But what if it isn’t going exactly the way you had hoped?
If you fall off the wagon, or have moments where you’ve fallen back into the repeated patterns, you have to remember that it’s just a “rejection letter” and we’re not going to let it define us. In the end, we get the book published, we get the part, we do have the love affair, we figure out how to be our ideal weight (not by what someone else defines us as).
Eventually, when we start focusing on the parts that really do matter, the rest fades away. Maybe you lose a loved one and your perspective changes, I know mine did. I’m realizing that if I’m in gratitude for those around me, for having another day to walk to this life, it’s easier to remember it’s not an end, just a new chapter. Hopefully, with self-forgiveness, and self-love we are going to have a great page-turner. And I can’t wait to find out what’s ahead.
So whatever it is you’re working towards, commit to it. Let’s build that momentum together to the moon and beyond.
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