The Risk of Black and White Thinking

Emotions will create action urges; we are often compelled to a behaviour based on the way we are feeling. In order to make a sound decision, we allow logic and reasoning to inform our emotions; a concept known as Wise Mind.

Every so often in therapy, I meet clients who rely too much on their logic and they tend to ascribe to black and white thinking. They see things a certain way, and that’s that. No amount of trying to bring their attention to another perspective sways them; they remained locked into their opinion and subsequent solution.

The risks of this type of thinking include:

  • Decreased capacity for closeness in relationships. If the people in your life feel they don’t have an opinion or a say in how decisions are made in the family, it will create a roadblock for true intimacy.
  • Black and white thinking can lead you to tactics such as the silent treatment or cutting people out of your life who don’t agree with you.
  • By not listening to another person’s perspective, you run the risk of losing their respect and admiration. Without respect, you actually lose compliance.
  • Black and white thinking will continue to create and cement a pattern of rigidity; people will begin to perceive you asĀ  stubborn, unapproachable or cranky.
  • It undermines those you love; making them feel small or powerless in your presence.

Life tends to be more grey; there are always two sides to a story and a purpose to compromise. We are much better served when we lean into flexibility and looking for solutions rather than looking to be right. Being open to others opinions, and to our own emotions can guide us into a healthier way of thinking.

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