All or nothing mindset friends, where are you at?
Learning how to live in mindful moderation was a beautiful by-product of quitting drinking, and I'm here to tell you, it's a wonderful life when you can learn to tackle and overcome the all or nothing thinking, and I'll explain how it happened for me.
One of the many, many things that I discovered about myself over the past few years when I stopped drinking was that I was an extreme all or nothing person:
all of the wine because what's the point of one?
all of the brownies because you already had one so.....
I'm in or I'm out, no there was NO in between.
To further illustrate my point, let's rewind back to 2009 when I was seeing a therapist, and her homework assignment caused quite the anxiety attack.
In our sessions, we were working on some relationship things, and she wanted me to explain the idea that "no one ever approached me" when I would go out with my friends.
I told her that in the rare instance that someone did approach me, I was already sizing them up and feeling strangled like I needed to make a decision right then and there whether or not I liked this perfect stranger.
In my mind, I had to decide if I liked this guy right on the spot, or else, anxiety would creep in and this grey area of "do I like him; don't I like him" would consume me to the point of wanting them to disappear to make the feeling (hello ANXIETY!) go away.
I felt claustrophobic in that middle area, and I needed to be in or out with my feelings. Period.
Well, this therapist could read me like a book and wanted me to begin learning about the "middle area", where things could just be without a label, a title, or a need to be defined and completed in one sitting.
She wanted me to do some homework, that I still laugh about to this day because the thought of it was absolutely torturous at the time.
When she told me what I had to do, I literally teared up and got sweaty palms just THINKING about trying to execute this one task, that most people enjoy.
What was this task?
She wanted me to....get ready....go window shopping.
Yes, that's right. She wanted me to go window shopping, to just go browse some stores, for no real particular reason and without a need to purchase something, but rather, to just enjoy the day, looking at beautiful things.
Not for me!
I could not grasp why anyone would just go spend the day shopping, because, for me, I only went when I needed something.
Get in; get out.
I felt suffocated and trapped thinking about doing something without having a specific reason for doing it.
I'm either shopping for a specific pair of shoes, or I'm not shopping at all, ever.
This all or nothing mindset transferred to so many other areas of my life, including dating, and it was a very damaging way to live.
I never did complete that homework assignment, but I learned the moderation management lesson many years later once I stopped drinking alcohol.
This way of living, being all or nothing, being all in or totally out, without allowing things to just "be", naturally, organically, for a little bit of time...or the bigger picture...sitting in the unknown and getting a bit more comfortable with it...was how I managed my life up until 2017.
Once I removed alcohol, a MAJOR all or nothing ticket item in my life, I began to see just how damaging that all or nothing mindset was, in all areas of my life:
all of the pizza, because you already had one slice, so, may as well finish it.
decide if you want to marry the guy who you just met 52 seconds ago, or be cold so he'll just go away.
have all the wine, because what's the point of one glass?
do all of the exercises, or else it doesn't count.
control every area of your life, or you're totally out of control....see how it works?
Once I loosened up the reigns a bit and learned the art of just being (with a massive load of mindset work, too, recognizing and re-programming my thoughts as they popped up) my world became a much more beautiful place to be.
I realized I didn't need to have everything figured out at a moment's notice.
I began to understand that a pizza didn't need to be consumed in one sitting.
I learned the art of getting to know someone, without knowing how it would pan out.
I began to feel very in control of my decisions because after all, that was truly the one thing I had control of.
The art of moderation can be explained a few different ways, with some of these moderation quotes you probably have seen circulating around for positive mindset inspiration:
easy does it
one step at a time
enjoy each moment
savor the flavor
don't rush it
one hot day does not make a summer
If I didn't know the answer right away, if I didn't do it to the extreme....what was the point?
Once I removed alcohol and began to see things so much more clearly, I began to fully understand a world where a grey area can exist, and, in fact, a little bit at a time over excessive extremes, is where the magic happens.
A little release and surrender, being present in the moment, without worrying about how things will end or pan out, is how you allow the simplest enjoyments in life to blossom.
I had no idea how beautiful a life you could have when you begin living in moderation, but here I am, learning and growing and practicing the art of being every day, the art of being present, with my food, with my body through movement, with the unknown, with other people's company....and it's a very different way of life for me, but I cannot tell you just how amazing a life it is.
There's no specific formula to go from all or nothing to a life of moderation, but I can tell you it is always a work in progress, which is why it's called a practice. And it's another area of wellness I didn't even know I needed until the lessons were being unraveled with each new day that I became present for my life, moment by moment.
I would love to hear your stories of living in moderation or if you are/were an all or nothing kinda person, because hearing someone's story can help heal yours.
Go ahead and share this pin to all of your inspo, wellness, mindset, mindfulness, and habit boards on Pinterest, and share with your social medias! For more mindset tips, check out my other blogs here.
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