All Or Nothing…

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Who Is "me"...?
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Somehow i began thinking about being an “All or Nothing” person. i’ve always thought of myself as just that. Example, i’m “All” in when it comes to God… at least, i like to think i am. For those that have been reading or listening to these posts you certainly know by now that i may be “IN”, but as for “All”, well that’s an intentional work in progress. On the flip side, when it comes to the average modern, contemporary, organized church i’m at this moment nothing. i can tell you ahead of time that where this post is starting from and where it ends are two completely different places.

So, when i use the word “All” to me it means the greatest possible, wholly, entirely, completely and as for “Nothing” to me it means, no thing, not anything, no part, or trace, something that is nonexistent.

Regarding this next part, i had no clue, but there is actually a medical term for being an “All or Nothing” person. It’s called Splitting. Splitting is the failure (i already don’t like where this is going) in a person’s thinking to bring together both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. They say that it’s a common defense mechanism used by many people. An “All or Nothing” person tends to think in extremes. Thus their actions and motivations are “All” good or “All” bad with no middle ground.

So my thinking that being an “All or Nothing ” person was actually a good thing, just may turn out to be… well, less than i thought.

i have a plenty of experience at being an All or Nothing person. Fortunately for me I’ve been learning that there are other alternatives that should and must come into consideration.

my “All or Nothing” mentality was developed a long time ago. i come from a family of under achievers and my mother’s and father’s way of responding to achievement was… well, non-existent. As i grew up i felt that i had to prove something to myself and of course to others as well.

So here’s what this may sound like. Someone makes a suggestion that i do this or that event. my response is, “No. i’m not going to undertake facilitating a new event. i haven’t got the time to devote to one. And i’m not interested in doing it or anything half way.” All or Nothing – here i am!

They say that “All or Nothing” has the tendency to create perfectionists. Blogger, singer, writer Christine Kane says, “You either do this perfectly, or you don’t even bother.” This can be one of the biggest blocks to making positive changes in my life. It actually can be one of the biggest blocks to making life work at all.”

Over the years while professing to be an “All or Nothing” person, i’ve also been a list person. So here’s what i find are the possible negatives to being an “All or Nothing” person.

  • i tend to be a bit high-strung.
  • Kicking back and relaxing is often difficult.
  • i tend to overwork my body.
  • i’m still trying to prove something to myself, parents (even if they’re dead) and others.
  • i find it difficult to just do things for fun without wanting succeed in a big way.
  • i’m hard on myself.
  • It can paralyse me (“…if I can’t do it perfectly, i’m not even going to try.”)
  • Nothing is ever good enough.

Now with all the negatives out in the open let’s see what the positives are.

  • i tend to achieve more in life.
  • i end up highly skilled in variety of areas.
  • i am able to focus on one thing and go for it it.
  • i have high expectations of myself.
  • i can turn it on in emergencies.
  • i never suffer from boredom.

According to Katarina Star Ph.D. “All-or-Nothing” thinking is considered as one of many negative thought processes, known as cognitive distortions, which are common among people with anxiety and depression. When thinking on all-or-nothing terms, a person splits their views into extremes. Everything — from the person’s view of themselves and to their life experiences — are divided into black-or-white terms. This leaves room for little, if any, gray area in between.

She also says that, All-or-nothing thinking often involves using absolute terms, such as never or every. This type of faulty thinking can also include an inability to see the alternatives in a situation or solutions to a problem. For people with anxiety or depression, this often means only seeing the downside to any given situation.

She concludes by saying that people with panic disorders are often susceptible to this type of thinking. A person who has frequent panic attacks may view themselves as unworthy or inadequate because of their condition. And, they may overlook how valuable they are in other roles, such as a friend, employee, or parent.

Thank goodness panic attacks, depression and anxiety are all a part of my past.

my conclusion… i’m seeing that i am actually not as much of an “All or Nothing” person as i used to be. At this moment i guess the best way to describe me is as an “Everything In Between” person. While there are areas that i still only see in black and white there are many more that have a wide array of colors. When i think of my relationship with God… well, i’m glad He made everything in color as it makes looking for Him all the more beautiful.

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