Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Both/and thinking

With which kind of thinking are you most familiar: both/and OR either/or? 

Most of us are more fluent in one of those "languages" than in the other. I'll admit it; I've spent too much of my life speaking "either/or." Now I'm trying to become more fluent in "both/and." For example, in my days of dieting, I was either on a diet or I was off. If I "fell off the wagon" and ate something I didn't think I should have, I'd consider myself well and truly off the diet. That could easily lead to this thought process: "Well, as long as I'm off my diet (and have messed up), I might as well eat this and this, too." And then I was really off! And somehow it seemed more difficult to get back on plan.

What difference does it make? How different it would have been had I said, "I am on a diet. And I just ate something I wish I hadn't. It's OK. That happens sometimes. I'm still on a diet. I'll just get right back to it again."

Living in both/and land allows for more possibilities. It's more positive. It makes a difference in attitude. Two things can be true at the same time—I can watch my weight by limiting my calorie intake AND I can eat something that adds more calories to my day than I'd wanted. It doesn't have to mean the end of my weight-watching. It doesn't mean I'm bad. I don't have to see myself or my actions in a negative way. I don't need to beat myself up.

In what ways do you favor one or the other type of thinking? How does it affect your life? I'd love to hear your insights.

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