An all or nothing mindset is characterized by fluctuations of periods where you feel really positive, motivated, like you are “killin’ it” whether that be with your diet, your mothering, exercise...you name it. Followed by periods of guilt and shame and associated negative self talk. “There I go again, I fell off the horse, guess I’m going to stay here awhile before I try to hop back on”.
Having an all or nothing mindset contributes to feeling stuck and staying stuck. Even though you have periods of intense motivation and forward progress. This causes the path of moving forward and reaching your goals to become much more windy. Whether that be a life goal, health goals, relationship goals, and work goals.
An all or nothing mindset can be tied to a drive toward “perfectionism”, a need to prove that you are “good enough”. And an inability to show yourself self compassion in moments when either you didn't perform as well as you expected, or you didn thave the physical, mental, or emotional capacity to perform the task at hand.
This “perfectionism” and all or nothing mindset can wreak even more havok on a woman who is striving to live upto the linear masucline grind that society has led us to believe is the standard for success.
As women, by striving to always be perfect and push push push, we are ignoring our feminine essence. Women differ from men in that we are not just driven by a daily energy cycle, but we are driven by a monthly energy cycle. Our physical capacity, energetic capacity, and emotional capacity shift depending on where we are at in our cycle.
For example, if you are having your menstrual cycle, you literally may not have the energy to wake up at 5am to get your workout. And maybe what your body needs is to slow down and be nourished in another way. If we are always striving for perfection, we will so often ignore the subtle wisdom held without our feminine bodies.
At a nervous system level this can be correlated with moving between states of sympathetic fight and flight activity- “I can do it” attitude and parasympathetic dorsal vagal activity “I can’t do it” attitude.
When we are stuck fluctuating between both these “I can do it” and “I can’t do it” states our body stays stuck into a chronic state of stress, of nervous system dysregulation.
And over time this chronic activation and unhealthy yo-yo of our nervous system can lead to more pronounced issues associated with long term stress. (Depression, anxiety, digestive issues, autoimmune, and chronic pain to name a few)
An all or nothing mindset keeps you separated from yourself. It keeps you from being present and finding satisfaction in what already is.
At the nervous system level, it keeps you from being able to come back into a state of Ventral Vagal nervous system activity. The ventral vagal attitude is correlated with the feeling of being present. The attitude of “I am”. Neither good, nor bad. Just accepting what is. Feeling grounded in your essence.
Resilience is our ability of our nervous system to move into and out of states of regulation with the goal of coming back to a place of homeostasis, of presence, of connectedness. When we have lower resilience it is easier to tip into those heroic feelings of “i can” and then swing into self defeated feelings of “i cant”.
Building your resilience looks like widening the gap between those two states of “i can” and “i cant”. So you have more room to sway back and forth between the two extremes without fully falling in.
Breaking free of an all or nothing mindset, building resilience, AND tuning into your inner wisdom can be achieved by:
1. Bringing awareness to your current drive for perfectionism, your current drive for an “all or nothing” mindset.
Start paying attention to your patterns and your rhythms. By becoming aware of how you are actually acting, and the stories and narrative that go along with your actions you are bringing attention to an area of your life that needs healing.
This is the first step of any healing journey.
2. Practice self compassion
Be nice to yourself. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend. Re-frame the stories you have in your head.
“I didn't exercise this morning, now I’m not going to be able to fit in those jeans, and now people will judge me for looking fat on that zoom call”
“I didn't exercise this morning because I really needed the extra rest. I will commit to moving my body in slower, more nurturing ways tomorrow and can get back to my HIIT training when I have more energy."
3. Practice being “good enough”
We were never meant to be everything to everyone, we were never meant to know all the things.We were never meant to carry the mother load alone.
Find moments where you can practice being “good enough” when you feel your friendly “perfectionist” self rising to the surface.
“Im not perfect, but it’s good enough”
“Life isn't perfect, but it’s good enough”
Where I am is where I am meant to be, and how I am is exactly how I am meant to be, I accept all that is, in this very moment, and let the rest go.
If you can resonate with this All or Nothing mindset, The Resilient Mother Method may be for you. The Resilient Mother Method is a personalized 12 week group coaching experience for women in early motherhood looking to take control of their stress and connect more deeply with themselves. I teach you how to integrate these three steps into your daily experience while honoring your feminine energy cycles through the use of daily resilience rituals. Reach out to me at email@example.com to learn more about how The Resilient Mother Method can transform your relationship to your body, mind, and spirit.