The trap of right/wrong thinking

July 22, 2018
trap of right/wrong thinking

An energy healer recently said to me that I was doing a lot of right/wrong thinking. I had explained I was struggling with indecision to the point I felt stuck. Life decisions were becoming impossible to make – because I was paralysed by the idea of it turning out badly.

I knew I had fallen out of love with my job and my energy wasn’t quite there. However, instead of feeling like this could be a new opportunity, I was viewing it as any wrong decision could lead to financial ruin. I’d started to dream about a new life outside of London – but the idea crippled me thinking of all I would give up.

Decisions were overwhelming me to the point that I couldn’t see the wood from the trees – and as a result I was stuck in a mire of knowing things weren’t quite right. I just didn’t know what to do.

I had fallen into the trap of right/wrong thinking

Right/wrong thinking is a thought process where you think there are only two possible outcomes – right or wrong. It’s a black and white approach and only offers one solution for a positive outcome.

I had let my search for the right answers overwhelm me to the point that I had lost the ability to see clearly. I was looking so hard for one answer, I’d forgotten there may be other ways. It had become so crucial to me to get the answer right, it was making me fearful of change and keeping me in a state of indecision.

The reality is life isn’t black and white. It exists in shades of grey. There are many options and ideas open to us and more than one way to happiness. Sometimes taking the first step leads to new opportunities – we don’t need to have all the answers.

Polarised thinking

Ann Silvers is a US-based counsellor. She describes the right/wrong pattern as dichotomous thinking and writes about the unhelpfulness of polarised thinking.

Dichotomous thinking can create excruciating fear and anxiety anytime there is a decision to be made because of a belief that there is only an absolutely right direction to go in and everything else would take you in an absolutely wrong direction.

Ann Silvers

How to change your thinking patterns

The first step of changing your thinking patterns is to become aware of them. The second is that being aware of them probably isn’t going to change your patterns overnight. They’ve become a habit and habits take time to break. None of these things are insurmountable though, you can move out of your comfort zone and it doesn’t need to be done drastically. Taking baby steps forward so you regain confidence in your decision-making will help.

Becoming aware of my thought patterns has made me recognise when I am overwhelming myself with making the perfect decision. Life is full of options: the secret is to being open to recognising them.

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