All or Nothing

28 Jul

Most of the things we do in our lives require flexibility. Generally there isn’t much that is written in stone, and we compromise a lot. Despite that, we can get stuck in an “all or nothing” mentality. We can get lost in trying to make things exactly like we want them before we commit, and move forward. There are some things that draw a hard line. For instance we may not allow someone to be hurt physically, we may require fidelity in our intimate relationships, or there may be some personal requirements we must have. But mostly, we need to compromise. Most things won’t be exactly the way we’d like them. There will be some give and take. A pattern of requiring perfection in our ideas, or needing things precisely the way we think they should be before we act can work against us.

Living with an “all or nothing” attitude can prevent us from participating, and keep us from fun and valuable experiences. If we decide to wait on every decision until things are lined up our way, the opportunity to participate may pass. Rarely will the timing for everything be perfect, the plans exactly as we want them, or the situation ideal in every way. If we wait for those things to happen before we move forward, we may find ourselves stuck.

This attitude affects our personal relationships, as well as our routine activities. No relationship is without disharmony from time to time. People disagree and agree, they argue and they get along, and there is tension occasionally. If we decide a relationship has to be completely perfect or we won’t have it, we will, in all probability, find ourselves alone. People don’t operate that way. Life doesn’t work that way. Perfection is, in most situations, unattainable.  It’s great to have a goal to be the best we can be, but the expectation of everything going without a curve or bump is unrealistic. And it’s self-defeating. Life is a wonderful gift. And the real perfection comes when we realize how wonderful it is – warts and all.

Today if you’ve been struggling with trying to make things absolutely perfect before you go forward, think about it from another perspective. If everything were perfect all the time there would be no reason to grow. We would have no reason to learn. Accept the bumps as they come along. Navigate them, and go right over them. You are capable of handling any complication that comes your way. No matter how things go, you’ll figure them out. Don’t wait for perfection. You don’t need it to move forward.

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