Do you tend to use phrases such as “I will never pass this test”, “no one will ever love me”, or “I always lose”? This type of thinking is a sign of all or nothing thinking which can end up becoming self-fulfilling.
All-or-nothing thinking is a common cognitive distortion—a negative or twisted thought process, rooted in perfectionism. You see things in terms of extremes, in black and white. This binary way of thinking does not account for shades of and can be responsible for a great deal of negative evaluations of yourself and the feeling as if you are a failure.
Another sign of this type of thinking is giving up easily. You want to have goals and dreams, but if you give up on them quickly, you see and focus on only the failures, not the successes.
Perfectionism can hinder you from making progress, achieving your goals, and, in many cases, even taking the first step toward something you want; the “all-or-nothing” thinking.
- All of nothing thinking can lead to:
- Lowered self-esteem and confidence
- Difficulty finding a middle ground or thinking of solutions
- Being less likely to take risks
- An inability or unwillingness to forgive yourself
- Trouble asking others for help
- Lack of resilience
- Less self-compassion
One of the best things you can do is pay attention to the things you say and the way you think. Learn to recognize when all or nothing thinking starts to take root and learn to see beyond the black and white world. There are more than just two possible outcomes, and you should strive to focus on the good, even when the result is not what you want.
Here are 5 strategies to deal with the “all or none” (perfectionism) trait.
- Decide what you want.
- Seek out a new perspective
- Reframe the thoughts
- Take action
- Celebrate the small wins.