Losing My All-or-Nothing Mentality

I never thought of myself as an "extreme" person. I always thought I was fairly balanced. I considered myself more gray than black or white. But as I started to examine what my life looks like now, I realized that I have some extreme tendencies that need to be balanced out.

I realized that I have this "All-or-Nothing" mentality. It's actually pretty serious. I feel that if I can't give something my all (what I consider to be my very best), then I tend to just give up on it completely. That's living in extremes. And it's so freaking unbalanced.

I thought about my hobbies.

Yoga. I noticed that if I wasn't having super awesome hour long yoga sessions that made me feel like The Southern Yogi, then I didn't practice at all. 

Art. I noticed that if I didn't think my art was beautiful enough to be sold (according to my standards, and I am so hard on myself), then I put my paint brushes and pens away and didn't touch them for weeks.

Blogging. I noticed that if it's been too long since I've last written or I feel like my content isn't good enough, then I just don't write at all. Even if an idea comes to me, I skip writing all together.

I thought about the real life things.

Home. I noticed that if I didn't fold my clean laundry the day it was washed, then I moved it to my desk and I let my dirty laundry pile up for 2 weeks. Or if I let the living room get cluttered, then I didn't want to clean at all, and suddenly I had a sink full of dishes.

Cooking. If I if my fridge was filled with food that was going bad or I realized that we ate out more than eating home-cooked meals, I suddenly don't even want to go grocery shopping, meal plan or meal prep, and I end up eating tons of candy.

I thought about my faith.

Quiet time. If I wasn't able to pray through my entire "current prayers" list, or sit down and read a long bible passage, then I didn't do a quiet time at all.

Being a missionary. If I wasn't able to be out on the mission field feeding starving children, then I assumed God had no use for me, and I didn't volunteer my time, energy, or money. 

In other words, if I wasn't perfect at something, I said "screw it" and gave up on it completely.

I'm not sure if I'm the only one like this, but just in case there are others out there who do the same, I want to share my personal strategies to overcome this all-or-nothing mentality.

This is one of my favorite TED talks, and it actually has been helping my in many ways.

Practice makes better. "What you practice grows stronger, and you're always practicing something." It's so true that simply putting things into practice with continue to generate strength in those areas.

Stop being your own worst critic. "True and lasting transformation requires kind attention." We must be kind to ourselves, rather than heap shame upon ourselves. Transformation is possible. But it only will happen through kind attentions and mindfulness.

Lose the comparison. If I'm not an expert, it doesn't mean that I can't do something. I don't have to be the best at something to enjoy it. What I see on social media may not be people's realities. They could have dirty dishes in their sinks, or an unfinished to-do list.

Do something. I feel like if I can't do it all, then I do nothing. But it's so much better to do something. Whatever you're able to do, do it. A short morning devotion, a relaxing yoga practice before bed, a quick walk through the house picking up loose items while you have a burst of energy, or writing in the morning after getting ready and you have 5 minutes before you have to leave the house. These little things add up. Something is always better than nothing.

It's a learning process, and a journey that I am still on. I hope to have a more balanced mentality. Let me know if you have struggled with this all-or-nothing mentality. And share if you have any advice on how to break free from it! I'd love to hear from you!

balancing all the things,

Melanie Christine