Why are there NO GOOD OPTIONS?
Do you ever feel like you have no good options available to you? That you’re stuck without any power to make things better, or to move toward something you want?
It happens to the best of us.
What if the secret catalyst for this helpless feeling was hidden in a word we use every day?. What if it all boiled down to one conjunction?
“Or” is such a little word.
It seems benign, just a nice little “conjunction that connects alternatives.”
And we all use it every day.
So what’s the problem? Why would this little conjunction have any effect on our lives?
Let me explain. Using the word OR can have significant impact when taken as truth, when we believe that alternatives are just that: options that are either mutually exclusive or dependent on each other.
Here are some common examples.
“My coworkers need to change OR I can’t be happy at work.”
“I can exercise OR spend time with my family.”
It seems set in stone, that connection with family is RELIANT on time which will be stolen by exercise, that difficult coworkers (or management) are mutually exclusive of my happiness.
It’s one of those subtle but potentially toxic beliefs that can block us from problem solving and ultimately moving forward.
In the first example of coworkers, there are only 2 options presented.
If we believe this then we have no control.
In the second example of exercise, there are only 2 options and both require sacrifice of something we want (again, lack of control).
Not so benign a word after all.
We don’t even realize that we are using it against ourselves.
What if the either/or statement really leaves out all the other potential options? If we don’t even consider this, we don’t even think about solving for another solution. If we aren’t solution focused, we literally shut down possibilities.
Who would knowingly pick that?
If we want to protect possibility in our lives, the first step is to become aware of where you are using the word OR, even if it’s just mentally.
“I can’t do multiple things in a weekend OR I will be too tired.”
“I better call my mom OR she will be mad.”
(Disclaimer: my mom doesn’t get mad about phone calls, just FYI. At least I don’t THINK she does).
And sometimes the OR is implied. It can be a tricky little sucker, sliding in stealthily without us even being aware of it.
“I need to always have 10 clients at a time to be successful” (ie: I have to have 10 clients OR I’m not successful). This would be depressing if true. What are all the other ways to measure success? What are all the other factors that need to be considered and then can be focused on?
Sometimes OR is disguised as IF.
“I won’t lose weight if I don’t exercise everyday” aka exercise every day OR don’t lose weight.
There are lots of other options that this eliminates. If we believe that losing weight is dependent on exercise and we can’t exercise, we effectively have shut down the possibility of change and of control.
“If we don’t get more help at work, I can’t give good care” aka either we have appropriate staffing OR I can’t give good care.
This minimizes the effect of the care we DO give because we are believing it is dependent on staffing ratios. Do we feel that military medics are giving bad care when they are trying to take care of multiple people with limited resources on a battlefield? Of course not. The same is true for us. Care is not dependent on staffing, or supplies, or knowledge, or time. It is dependent on US. There is always some way to give care. Sure, appropriate staffing, supplies, knowledge, and time allow us to do more but they are not necessary for care to be given. WE are the givers of care. Supplies are nothing without us. Time and knowledge are nothing if WE are not there.
But this is a mental path we don’t even explore when stuck in
This is a normal thinking process. We all have these continuous running scripts that then dictate our feelings and ultimately how we show up. But we are allowed to interrupt the script, we are allowed to stop and look for more options.
We are able to have endless possibilities. We can plan and create the life we want if we don’t limit ourselves with the word OR.
Try it, OR else :)
Feeling stuck? I can help with that. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can figure it out together.