If you are like me, most of the world Is driving you bat-crazy right now. Wars, shootings, inflation, politics, and the hits just keep on coming! If we aren’t careful, we will find ourselves balled up In a fetal position, cowering under the weight of anxiety, worry, and depression. I’d like to offer a bit of assistance, If I may?
In my counseling and coaching of people from all walks of life, I have narrowed down the basic challenges to three big, and I emphasize BIG buckets.
- BINARY THOUGHT
There are hundreds of other buckets. I’m sure, but these three seem to rise to the surface – regularly. Let’s take a look at each of them with a healthy dose of common sense.
No doubt, we all have expectations, not only about ourselves but of others as well. The great challenge is how we manage those expectations. If your expectation Is that you are always going to make a good decision, you are setting yourself up for a huge sense of failure. I read the other day that, on average, we humans (adults) are batting about like Major League Baseball players – .300. That means that, again, on average, we are making a poor decision two-thirds of the time. Holy Cow! But don’t be too hard on yourself. That’s a Major League All-Star stat! We might need to reset expectations on ourselves and extend a bit of grace when It comes to our decisions. We are fallible people living in a fallen world. That simply means that we are and do make mistakes – regularly. The key here is that It is true for all of us. We just find It easier to point out when other people show themselves to be fallible. OUCH!
The cure? Don’t expect less, simply receive and extend more grace. Recognize that you are not and never will be perfect. That nobody else Is, either, and that the world Is challenging enough without striving for the Impossible. Go ahead and Improve your decision batting average a bit, but recognize your “Mendoza line.” When we see through the lens that allows effort to result in some failure, we can see past failure and look into the eyes of success. It’s all about expectations.
Holy Cow! This one is my kryptonite! I love the thought that I can control my life and the circumstances around It. But It ends there. It’s a thought, not a reality! The vast majority of our reality Is not within our control, but 100% of how we respond to It is under our total control!
If we spend the bulk of our time fretting over what Is outside of our control, we will definitely become part of the problem and offer no solution. We will find ourselves with significantly limiting beliefs that force us Into anxiety, unhealthy attitudes, behaviors, and in many cases, depression.
Here Is a case In point – You cannot control the Russian attack on Ukraine. To spend your energy worrying about it does nothing good for the people affected or yourself. So, drop the limiting belief that you can do everything or nothing, engage in prayer, and/or provide relief through the many ways that you can do so. Here’s another one – You cannot change the price of gas, but you can manage when, where, and how you travel. Inconvenient, sure! Ridiculous, yes! Within your power to correct – NO! But how you respond to it is the Issue! Friends, much of this life Is not within our control, but let us be people that can understand our attitude toward all of life’s challenges is the bigger Issue!
- BINARY THOUGHT
Binary thinking, also known as dichotomous thinking, happens when even complex concepts, ideas, and problems are overly simplified into being one side or another. The gray area in the middle is ignored or goes unnoticed. Binary thinking helps us feel a sense of certainty. Certainty is as silly as control, in most cases. But we love certainty. It makes us feel right, correct, and certain! Many of us are dying a slow death from certainty.
In our world, we find that binary thoughts are pervasive at every level. You have to be against something if you are for something. But can’t there be other alternative thoughts, actions, attitudes, and resolutions than just this or that? Apparently not! It seems as though we are Incapable of being culturally moderate, even liberal, and remain fiscally conservative, and yet I know plenty of friends who feel that way. It seems that you cannot simply believe in other solutions If the masses believe in “their way.” Come on man! Sorry – I couldn’t help myself.
It seems that we have forgotten that much of this life, we will never understand. Isn’t that okay? Do we have to feel certain to live at peace? This belief that we must have to pick sides in every part of life Is non-sensical!
I can be a Republican or Democrat without endorsing every part of the party platform. I can be a Christian and disagree with other Christians. I can choose to be gracious and forgiving when what seems to be an entire world, tells me otherwise! Friends, you are not black, white, or brown. You are people, made in the image of your Creator. You do not have to be certain, controlling, or relegated to simple-minded this or that thought patterns. We must stop acting like the algorithms used on social media and shopping sites. Stop seeking advice and weaponized thoughts from everyone that simply agrees with you. Think and discover your own convictions and grey areas. Drop the belief that everything must be this way or that way, embrace the middle ground, and see how much more peaceful your life Is!
The world is a complex place, filled with complex challenges and people. Don’t make it more challenging by buying the lie that your expectations, control, and binary thoughts have to decide your peace and freedom. Move beyond these limiting beliefs and experience a bit of grace, mercy, and wellness.
Go In Peace, Chuck