The Peril of All or Nothing Thinking

As I started work I found myself dwelling on a few things I felt I had done incorrectly. I work for my local borough so there are a lot of rules, regulations, and otherwise that make this job seem more difficult (at least until I learn some of it).

pile of folders

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I was making copies for the law library. There were about 4 binders full of ordinances and resolutions, which as I found out are very different. The law library technically only needs the ordinances. I was copying all of them, wasting paper, wasting toner, and taking unnecessary time on the clock.

A few days before this I had to put all of the meeting minutes into lockable binders so no one could remove or tamper with the official documents. I transferred all of the minutes from the regular binder to the locking binder and made it read like a book. I then looked at books that had been previously transferred and realized they were filed with the most recent on top. Instead of changing mine I assumed I should change the others. This has gnawed at me ever since. I am convinced I must have done it wrong. Archives probably do not matter much either way.

Finally, I took two hours to develop advertisements for an electronic sign. It took much longer to complete than it probably should have, and I felt very sheepish telling my boss that I worked a much longer shift than I normally do.

I have all or nothing thinking. This is a new job, and I should probably give myself some grace. I need time to figure out the job; I am on a learning curve. Instead, I see all of these mistakes as failures in my life. I am a failure.

The peril of all or nothing thinking is this: Feelings of failure lead to the mentality of failure. Once I believe I am a failure, that I always do the wrong thing, that I never get things right, I begin to make choices. I choose to work harder to make up for the mistakes rather than take time for myself to recharge. I choose to call the doctor and ask that my medication be titrated even when I know I am struggling to stay stable. I choose to self harm as a way to temporarily change or cope with how I am feeling. I begin to use adaptive coping skills, the ones I am used to, rather than the ones that actually help. I shut down when I should speak up and honestly discuss what is going on: I hibernate. The peril of all or nothing thinking is the turning around on the road to recovery and choosing to walk back toward the dysfunctional. The peril of all or nothing thinking is isolation. The peril of all or nothing thinking is staying stuck.

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