Never Say Never
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be somewhat of an absolutist about things. I’m pretty confident about the way things should be and should not be. I am kind of an all-or-nothing guy. Either I’m 100% in or I’m 100% out. That mentality, however, doesn’t work well in most situations because it does not allow for gray areas, and most of life involves situations where the best course of action is not completely clear.
Some years back, I took a year of my life and focused it on studying a powerful work done by Joyce Meyer entitled “The Flesh of the Mind.” In this six-module teaching program, I learned a great many things about productive living, spiritual living. One of the many valuable gifts that she gave me was the concept of “the never lie and the forever lie.” Too often we think things will never change, and that our problems will continue forever. Before further explaining these lies, let’s answer the following question: who do we lie to the most?
I know that this answer may offend many of you. You may be thinking, I’m a pretty honest person and how dare you say such a thing. I’m not saying this to offend you; I’m saying this to help you.
Every last one of us engages in self-talk, the internal language of our being. Some of us talk out loud and some of us just think it internally, but we are always engaged in some kind of self-talk. We talk to ourselves way more than we talk to other people. That’s why we must be very careful about the things that we say. The never lie and the forever lie are our absolutist approach to circumstances and situations. Let me give you some examples:
This will never end. This is going to go on forever. This is never going to change. It will always be like this.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. When we think with a closed mind, we don’t make much progress. We don’t grow very much. We also don’t get along with others very well. When we think only in absolute terms, we short-change the truth of the situation. We attempt to live in a black-and-white world, while we need to just better differentiate and respond to the shades of gray.
Nothing lasts forever and everything changes. We need to quit lying to ourselves and to others with the misuse of absolute ideas that make us very hard to be around. Flexibility makes us adaptable, and adaptability is necessary for survival. If you are struggling with absolutist thinking, actively work on being more flexible. You might be surprised with what you find.
You’ll never regret it forever.
James A. Francetich is a freelance writer and author. The opinions expressed are solely of the author and do not represent any community based recovery programs, private or public entities or any governmental agencies.