Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Rigid Thinking

"Rigid thinking occurs when an individual is unable to consider alternatives to the current situation, alternative viewpoints or innovative solutions to a problem. Rigid thinkers cling tightly to preconceptions and generalizations, and often react with fear or hostility in the face of unexpected change or challenges." www.ehow.com

Wow, this is the story of my life. I have had several conversations recently with a few different people about rigid thinking, and I've come to a conclusion. The happiest people in life are those that are able to adapt to change, let go of their expectations, and deal with each day as it comes. That is, essentially, the complete opposite of rigid thinking.

It wasn't until CBT/ERP that I discovered my struggle with, and virtual stranglehold by, this very destructive cognitive distortion. I suspect everyone fights this to some degree, or at least in some areas of their life. However, my existence was literally choked by it. It fueled my perfectionism, anxiety, frustration, and anger. Time and again I would discuss a scenario with my psychologist and explain to her how I was stuck between two bad outcomes, only to have her suggest an alternative that had never occurred to me. More times than not, I would marvel at the simple and unbelievably straightforward other possibility that I had never even considered. I would walk out of her office and think to myself, "How in the world did I not come up with that obvious idea on my own?!" Rigid thinking. All or nothing thinking. Polarized thinking. Call it what you like, but it all has the same result. An inflexibility that keeps us locked in the prison of our minds.

Like everything else in my world these days, this is a work in progress, but I have come a very long way. Whenever I feel cornered or threatened by a situation, I recognize that it can become a playground for rigid thinking. So I try to slow my mind down. I pray. I seek guidance from people whom I know are capable of seeing the bigger picture. I no longer rush to solve the problem instantly, so I can avoid making decisions out of fear. Sometimes, issues completely resolve themselves, because I no longer react in a panic before things have "played out."

If you are interested in working on rigid thinking, I found a helpful article entitled "Five Brain Exercises to Foster Flexible Thinking" at Gaiam Life.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I believe flexible thinking is a Biblical concept. See below what Paul has to say about dealing with his circumstances in life. Sounds pretty flexible to me!
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

17 comments:

  1. Monique, you are such a lovely person, and your posts are always so heartfelt, honest and informative. I really believe that we are all a work in progress, and that we all have our strong and weak points, and the fact that you are aware of your drawbacks and are willing to work on them is commendable. You are a great asset, dear Monique. Sending you hugs and much love, and thank you so much for your great posts.

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    1. Aw, Linda, I'm blushing!! ; )

      You are far too kind and sweet. But I'll take it! Ha! Seriously, your words have touched me. Thank you. Much love and hugs back to you my friend.

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  2. This was a very timely post! Thank you for this encouragement!

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    1. You are most welcome! I know I need to be reminded of this literally all the time.

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  3. What can I say......Wow! This post is right on point with how I am. I thank you so much for sharing it. :)

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    1. Hey Madison! I'm so glad to hear you found it helpful. Dealing with this has taken me a loooong time and a lot of practice, but wow, it has really shaken up my life in a great way.

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  4. Wonderful post, Sunny! I like the ways that you deal with rigid thinking. I find myself in that situation, too, and it's great that we can actually recognize it now! :-) I like the scripture you added, too--fits perfectly.

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    1. Hello Tina! What a blessing to recognize something like that, sent it? It's hard to fix something if you don't know it is broken.

      I thought it was pretty cool too when God popped that Bible verse into my head!

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    2. Isn't it, not sent it! Ah, gotta love autocorrect!

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  5. Great post, Sunny, and it made me stop to consider the area in my life that are plagued by rigid thinking......yes, we are all a work in progress. I've always wished I could be more of a "go with the flow person." I do think I'm going in the right direction, and have a feeling my "advanced" age might have something to do with it :)!

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    1. Ha ha ha well my "advancing age" certainly helps me too!

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  6. Like everyone else, I SO needed to read this. My anxiety simply feeds off rigid thinking. Love you, Sunny!

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    1. Aw, I love you too, Anna! So good to hear from you. : )

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  7. It was nice reading your post. What you said is true. People who is ready to adopt their life according to the situation leads a happy life. I have come across many situations in m y life. First i used to be rigid and now trying a little bit to change myself. I am feeling the difference in it!

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    1. I'm glad to hear things are going better for you. It IS hard work, but it's so worth it!

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  8. Boy can I relate to this. I didn't realize how rigid a thinker I am. My therapist says I don't cut myself any slack at all.

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    1. Well, Shirley, sounds like it's time for you to be a little nicer to yourself! I have found that changing my thinking has been critical to my recovery.

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