When to stay the course, change, or give up

All or none, black and white approaches are common among perfectionists. And these approaches are rarely effective.

The gray area between black and white is where the majority of experience resides. How do we tell if we can live with grays versus when it has to be all black or all white?

The first determinant is to set realistic goals. When we are up to bat with two outs in the bottom of the final inning with the game tied, we can set the goal to get on base as part of a team effort to win or we can swing for a homerun to be the hero.

If we’ve never hit a homer, then that would be an unrealistic goal.

We are big fans of under-promise and over-deliver. Why tell our spouse, “We’ll make the best dinner you ever ate,” or tell the boss, “We’ll finish the report a week early and with no errors” when we can simply agree to cook, when we can agree to meet the original deadline?

Let’s say we finish the report five days before the original deadline. That could have wowed the boss if we hadn’t gotten too aggressive and promised it a week early.

What if we don’t know what’s a realistic goal? (Will we heal from PTSD?) Trusting an expert may help. Therapists tell us, “Everyone’s different, and recovery for you will likely be measured in years.”

Ugh. Not a death sentence per se–more of a living sentence: your life might get better in ___ years.

Our goal is to improve over time and eventually lead a life worth living.

Course assessment: therapists say, “We see improvement.”

We say, “It’s not enough.”

We can’t hit a homerun to heal quickly. The only way way to “go big” is to quit: cease therapy or cease living (this is not a threat).

We can choose to stay the course, the long, winding, painful road of healing.

Or we can change course: new therapist(s) or alter the combo of therapists.

We choose to change course. If we quit, our odds of achieving our goals diminish precipitously. If we stay the course, we may or may not reach the finish line. We are not appreciating the pace of our results (no blame).

By changing course, we’re willing to risk an even slower healing in order to potentially heal more quickly.

Changing course might not work, which affords us the same 3 choices with a twist: we may learn that our original course is the best path and we can get back on it. Therefore, changing course would help improve the situation (in terms of focus and satisfaction). Or, we may learn to envision a new course.

Gray areas are like dimmer switches. They give us so many options. Sometimes developing a dimmer switch can help us meet our goals with more satisfaction, if not more expedience.

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3 thoughts on “When to stay the course, change, or give up

  1. A dimmer switch is good. We like the idea. A dimmer switch for the intensity of feelings would be very good. What’s the story about the turtle and hare? Slower wins? I can’t remember, I think it’s something like this. Suicide is an option. We don’t let go of our ‘out’. If it gets to be too much we always have that idea. But it’s a very dangerous idea. …Trigger warning here…I have woken up in the ICU from 2 serious OD’s and a hanging. Yes, our suicide alter hung us. No ‘accidentally on purpose’, it was ‘on purpose’ period. We had to find a way to be okay with who we are right now. What if we never get any better than this? I don’t think we can ever even get a part time job. Too much for us. It’s been over 2 decades we been working in treatment. Not all on all the time, and we even took a very long time out, but still. You have a family. We dont have anyone at all. Your family would be traumatized. Even if you think they would be better off. They wouldn’t. But we get the idea of needing to have the idea of an out. It relieves some pressure. Perfection will never come. Thinking that you have to be perfect and do everything perfect right now helps keep some of the pain and anxiety at bay. Weird to think that way since it seems kinda backwards. And really does cause more tension. But we see the truth in it. If you chose the out option, we’d be very very sad. We don’t really know you all very well at all, but yous are our friends. You dying on purpose would be very painful for us. Changing things up a bit can be helpful. Trying new things is good. If it doesn’t work then you know you tried and you can try other things. The only way out is through. Dimmer switches help get us through. Dead is out but then its over. Romancing death was a very dangerous thing for us. We hope yous decide to build something positive to wrap yourselves in, instead of that monster. Please take care of yous.-Kennedy

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    1. KenKen, we learn about survival when you speak your truths. You do know us. Backstory isn’t necessary. You know in the empathic way multiples know. Daily survival is soooo taxing. Driving on the highway is getting too stressful. We used to love road trips because we could dissociate for 10 hours at a time. Oh, the blessed, damaging, alienating escape of zoning out on the open road. No romance of death. We won’t glorify it. And you get what having options means. ❤️😽

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