Black and white thinking or all or nothing thinking means that you judge things, especially yourself, as either very good or (more often) very bad.
Read about how this irrational thinking habit can sabotage your chances for a Happy Life.
When we had our latest Happy Club meeting at the Savannah Lodge the other night Curt the Fox showed up looking totally miserable, even his ears were droopy.
Instead of ordering his normal girly drink he got a big jug of straw beer.
When we asked him what was wrong he stubbornly denied that anything was the matter so we gave him some room to relax and eventually he started talking.
“I had a date but it´s not going to happen,” he said.
We were both pleased and worried after hearing that. Pleased that the very shy but incredibly loveable fox had gotten a date in the first place but worried about why it had been cancelled.
“What happened?” we asked.
“I have to call it off,” Curt said.
That information gave us some hope. It was not too late and the problem was on Curt’s side, it could still be fixed.
“Why is that?” we asked.
“Well, first of all I couldn’t get a table at the Sunset Room on Friday night. Apparently there is some carnivore convention in town this weekend so it was fully booked.”
“So go somewhere else!” we said and started to give him suggestions for other great places for a dinner date other than the only restaurant in Furry town with three Paw Prints in the Best Grub Guide.
"It´s not a matter of black or white."
“Your date wants to see you Curt!” we said. “Where you go is not that important, as long as the food is decent, the place is clean and the bathrooms don’t smell too bad.”
“Well, I guess…” Curt said but his ears were still pointing more towards the floor than the ceiling and he didn’t seem convinced.
We gave him some more time and even more room and soon enough he brought up another issue.
“I haven’t been working out as much as I would’ve liked lately. I feel like an over fermented dough.”
We just stared at him, our eyes widened until they were big as Betty the Hippo’s ass.
“I heard that!”Curt the Fox had a perfectly fit body and a physique that only Eddie the Horse, who works as a PT, could match. If he thought he had a wobbly body the rest of us would be sticky slime on the floor.
We told him so.
“Well…” Curt said and twisted his muscular body with almost no fat at all on it back and forth.
“Well what?” we said.
“I guess I’m okay…” you could see that he was starting to lighten up a bit but then suddenly he thought of something else. His ears dropped.
“I don’t have anything to wear!”
Without really meaning to we broke out into a violently loud laughter. What he had said was so funny and totally ridiculous.
First of all he had uttered the ultimate female (mostly…) concern about going on a date.
Second, you must know something about Curt the Fox. Everything he wears is always well thought through, color matched, smart, handsome… without holes… Perfect! His wardrobe is filled with designer labels and classic outfits for any occasion you can think of.
“Oh please Curt!” we said.
“Your problem might be WHAT you should CHOOSE to wear not that you have nothing to wear, but we can help you with that, no problem.”
"Maybe you could wear something black and white?"
We continued to tell him how good looking, smart and handsome he was and what incredible taste he had and his ears actually approached their normal position again.
“Besides, what you wear is also not so important. What´s important is that you wear something that makes you feel comfortable and that help you feel like yourself. Not like that time when Little-Bite went to a job interview wearing a tie…” We all laughed at the memory.
“So Curt… Is there anything else that you worry about that makes you feel like you have to call the date off?”
“Well…” Curt thought about it for a moment.
“I guess I am just a bit worried because if we proceed to go to the cinema I don’t know of any good movie showing right now…”
“Okay… I guess we can decide that together if it should happen.”
“Then I think…”
Curt thought about it for a while, searching for other reasons why he shouldn’t go on the date. Eventually the whole truth behind his black and white thinking came out:
“You know, I guess I’m just nervous.”
“Exactly!” I said.
“You are nervous, which is perfectly normal when you’re going on a date. But instead of experiencing this you start to look for perfection and judge everything as not good enough or bad.
Life is never just good or bad or black-or-white, it’s every single color in between and constantly changing.
Also, what’s good for one person can be fantastic for another and terrible for a third. There are few absolutes.
If you often engage in black and white thinking you will constantly be disappointed with the world and yourself and miss out on all the fun there is to be had in the less than perfect but still wonderful world.
Just try to be yourself, see all colors of life and enjoy life from day to day without black and white thinking!
How the date went?