What Black-and-White Thinking Is


What Black-and-White Thinking Is

There is a great variety of reasons, states, nuances and contexts for any situation, though they all mean nothing for people with black-and-white thinking. Thinking as “good-bad”, “all or nothing” is a very popular model of behavior nowadays. It is easy to think that way: you can put a “mark” onto something in a moment and go on living calmly.

Black and White

Splitting or black-and-white thinking is a mistake in human’s thinking when they see only positive or negative aspects of this or that situation. Psychologists say this to be a mechanism of protection for many people.

This is not only a curious definition or happening, but a symptom (or a reason) of serious mental disorders:

  • Narcissism;
  • Depression;
  • Borderline personality disorder.

Typical examples of black-and-white thinking:

  • Good or bad;
  • Right or wrong;
  • Ideal or awful;
  • Clever or foolish;
  • Always or never;
  • Love or hate.

What is the Reason of Black-and-White Thinking?

The reason of black-and-white thinking is not always hidden in a mental disorder. A person often uses it consciously in order to prove themselves being right. Why do you need to think and to look for facts if there is only a black or a white world around?

This can be the result of a conscious manipulation. In order to prove one’s viewpoint, it can be very comfortable not to pay attention to particular details. Cunning, gain and laziness are some widespread reasons of black-and-white thinking.

What are The Consequences of This Way of Thinking?

Except those three disorders mentioned above, there are several negative moments, too.

Oversimplifying everything can lead a person towards very big problems in career and relationships. Additionally, one will not be successful in business, if you do not understand what people really need.

When it comes to moral, people with black-and-white thinking demonize the opposing mind, though rational people do not neglect other thoughts just because they are “wrong” according to their own mind.

Such people feel difficult to change their viewpoint. You are on one side, or on the other. Nuances scare them, especially if there are tens of them, and they are not obvious.

How to Get Rid of Thinking That Way

  • 1. Separate Your Ego from Your Ideas

    Donald Miller once said, that our ideas are not really ours. They can be truthful, and thins makes them important, but those are not our ideas. This means, people can have freedom to accept them or not. It is difficult to calm your ego down and to accept this fact, but this way allows you on becoming cleverer.

  • 2. Re-Frame Your Thinking

    Do not make categorical conclusions at once. Put additional questions. Is this man so awful as a cooker? Are you really that silly? Is your financial status hopeless for real?

    Stop and think if you don’t overestimate that. Use your logic, your critical and creative thinking. You’ve got all the required instruments in your hands, just use them.

  • 3. Say Goodbye to “Always” and “Never”

    Exclude extremes at all. Throw these words away from your vocabulary. This is how you get the possibility to think wider, to find colors and shades where you couldn’t find them before. This can be a wonderful experience that will stay with you for the whole life.

  • 4. Learn How to Feel Comfortable in Uncertainty

Smiling Person

It is normal not to know all the answers. You can even gather information, and to understand that you don’t have enough of it yet. You don’t have to tell your opinion on any question at once. Tell that you do not know the answer. Or start thinking of it and look for facts.

Just see absolute definitions and find shades in them. The word “bad” has a plenty: catastrophic, awful, bearable, allowable.

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