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  • Writer's pictureNikita Vyas

Benefits of all or nothing thinking

I was taught that one should be happy with all that one has. They should find a way to be okay with what they get. I love this philosophy, honestly. It’s peaceful and I understand the reason why this kind of thinking is advised. I practice gratitude pretty much every day. I know how satisfying it feels when we express our thanks for the things we already have.

But what if there’s a small thin hairlike difference between feeling grateful and compromising? I’ve been asked many times, ‘If we feel so grateful why are we then not okay with compromising?’ ‘If I have to compromise, how can I feel grateful?’ These questions are important and somewhere necessary to discuss and ask especially in today’s times when positivity has become a necessity.

If you go online and search “All or Nothing thinking” you’ll come across articles where this kind of thinking is often shown in a negative way or way that feels ‘wrong’. Ideally what this thinking states are that we live our life based on extreme thinking, kind of like being adamant. More of a ‘downside to any situation’ kind of thinking.

Polarized thinking or extreme thinking or all or nothing thinking is known to cause anxiety and feelings of overwhelm in a person. But this is a very generalized way of looking at this kind of thinking in my opinion. Of course, you may not agree but try to keep an open mind with this.

I’d grown up believing that compromise is a fact that one needs to accept almost nonchalantly. Being Okay with things should come naturally. I’d been told that compromise is a part of life. It’s uncontrollable and unchangeable. I’d been told that compromising is brave and courageous. I witnessed people make decisions and choices based on this philosophy and even though they seemed okay they never seemed happy or pleased to me. They always seemed defeated and I could see their shoulders droop in exhaustion. I always felt that this was because they fought and now, they’ve reached a stage of compromise, the reason they appear exhausted is from fighting, but truth be told or rather the truth I learned much later is their exhaustion really came from the feeling of losing, from feeling defeated.

This reality hit me from my own personal experience and this reality hit me really hard. After years of working with women, I’ve realized that your philosophy should be custom made. It should be framed according to your personality, your goals, your dreams, your values, your boundaries.

In my experience, because of having a mindset that is all or nothing –

I’ve become ambitious

I’ve learnt to say no

I’ve worked hard for what I truly want

I’ve been able to choose "me" overall

I’ve come out of depression and anxiety

I’ve been able to choose Quality over all else

I’ve become more confident

I’ve taken decisions that may not be easy but effective in the long run

I think when it comes to something this ambiguous one shouldn’t doubt their own way of life. This is something I tell all my clients, to try and stay detached from – shoulding, judging, doubting their way of thinking but try and make it work for them in one or more areas of their life.

To understand the all or nothing thinking try to understand your –

  • Values that you make for your life

  • Boundaries you draw for yourself

  • The way you communicate with yourself

There is a minuscule difference between all or nothing kind of thinking and adamant or stubborn way of thinking, what is ideally called ‘my way or the highway’ Polarized thinking is slightly different than that.

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