Have you ever had the belief that something should always be done a certain way… and then it wasn’t done that way? Or how about the opposite, thinking that something should never happen… and then it happened?
‘Always’, ‘never’ and ‘only’ are words that are often found in the type of irrational belief which I call extremes. These are limiting because they are based on the completely irrational idea that there is only one right way to do something or only one possible solution and that things have to go that way… or else. This is one of the most narrow-minded types of irrational thinking a person can hold.
You’ve probably heard dozens of beliefs based on extremes like, ‘always say you are sorry’, ‘Only speak when a grownup says so’, ‘never talk with your mouth full’, ‘always finish what’s on your plate’, ‘A child must never question authority’ and so forth.
My whole childhood was riddled with rules which included ‘always’, ‘only’ and ‘never’s; I couldn’t quite keep them all straight, so I spent most of my childhood ‘in trouble’ for one infraction after another.
When we get stuck in ‘always’, ‘only’ and ‘never’ kind of thinking, what happens is that there is so much energy invested in that one particular outcome, that if that does not occur (which often is the case), there is a strong reaction of emotional upset. In other words, to the degree that you hold a certain expectation, you will experience an equal amount of disappointment when that expectation is not met.
Imagine the housewife who holds the standard, “Always wipe your feet before entering.” She is going to be upset again and again as people carelessly tromp muddy footprints through the house. Her energy of ‘always’ will actually create the opposite effect, as people hate to be told that they ‘have’ to do anything and will therefore unconsciously block her rule. The more uptight she feels about her standard, the more people will resist and push against it.
If she could lighten up a little bit, drop into a more neutral position and let go of her expectations of how others may act, she might say something like, “I’d really appreciate it if you could do your best to keep the mud outside as I like to have clean floors in my house.” This opens up the possibility that people could decide to support her in many different ways. People might wipe their feet on the door mat. Other people might take off their shoes before entering. Or rinse their soles with a hose, knock their feet on a rock, ask for a towel or whatever. She would be much more likely to get her needs met by being open to a broader range of options.
And, if someone did forget her request, she would likely be able to handle it more matter-of-factly, understanding that not everyone holds the same standards for floor cleanliness. This would allow her to keep her peaceful state of mind, no matter what might get tracked across her floor.
The truth is that there are an infinite number of possibilities of all that can occur as you are learning and growing. Why put yourself in a box with rigid, close-minded thinking such as ‘always’, ‘only’ and ‘never’? These are words that fit the ‘rules are made to be broken’ category.
Have you ever invested any emotional energy in an ‘always’, ‘only’ or ‘never’ type of belief? How did that go for you?
Chances are pretty good that any investment you’ve held in an extreme belief did not turn out very well in the long-term. The way out of the emotional upset is to free yourself up from any of this outdated type of thinking and move into broader possibility. Say, “I let go of ‘always’, ‘only’ and ‘never’ and move into the broader possibility of the Loving.”
Many Blessings of Joy and Vibrant Freedom
Action Step ~ Let go of thinking in extremes such as ‘always’, ‘only’ and ‘never’ by moving into a broader, more open perspective of life. Declaration: “I now let go of thinking in terms of ‘always’, ‘only’ and ‘never’, moving out of thinking in extremes into the broader possibility of the Loving. I am now open to many options. I am at ease with all that occurs.”
Additional support: Listen to this 8-minute closed-eye process on identifying irrational ‘extremes’; please refrain from driving while listening.