By nature, people do not like ultimatums. They are threatening, limiting, and just plain passive aggressive.
So, imagine how terrible it is when you give yourself one ultimatum, or worse, many.
For some people — especially perfectionists and black and white thinkers — giving ultimatums is a way of life. Even though it may seem like ultimatums are a motivational tool they are very self-destructive.
I know because I used to give myself ultimatums.
It was part of my “all or nothing” thinking. Either I was going to get “x,” or I’d never get “y” .
In fact, here are some examples of ultimatums I used to give myself on a regular basis.
“Either this guy is “the one,” or I’m through with dating.”
“Either I get this promotion, or I’m quitting.”
“Either I stick to this diet, or I’ll be a failure forever.”
Those are all pretty threatening, limiting, and passive aggressive, right?
So, why would I do this to myself?
Why giving yourself ultimatums will never motivate you to change
When I would propose these scenarios to myself, I was literally retaliating against myself.
By only ever give myself the choice between complete success or total failure, I would unconsciously attack myself. I wouldn’t just limit the action itself as a success or failure; I would confine myself to being a complete success or total failure if I didn’t receive a desired outcome.Do You Give Yourself Ultimatums? #SelfHelp #Coaching #Mediation #Happiness #MentalHealth #StressRelief Click To Tweet
The problem with this way of thinking was that when I was only giving myself one of two possible outcomes — I always placed every problem 50% against myself.
With those odds, I wound up struggling between the demands I had placed on myself and the results of those requirements. This is where my inner conflicts began, and one of the ways to fight internal conflicts is to start allowing yourself to have more than two options when you desire a specific outcome for yourself — or others.One of the ways to fight internal conflicts is to start allowing yourself to have more than two options when you desire a specific outcome for yourself — or others Click To Tweet
Instead of declaring, “Either this guy is “the one, or I’m through with dating,” I began saying things like, “Perhaps, I’m not what he is looking for, but that’s okay. I’m now one step closer to finding someone who thinks I’m amazing – so, really this is progress.”
Positioning the relationship prospect as being only a success or a complete failure, provided the potential for only adverse outcomes – and put way more pressure on myself (and potential) suitors
My expectations were setting me up for disappointment 99% of the time.
I learned that changing the way I placed my expectations (and allowing for a range of possibilities) created higher odds for positive results.
Also, I’m now happily married, so I’m quite happy I gave myself more options!
I know it can be tough to stop giving yourself ultimatums and creating unnecessary inner conflicts.
Remember, there is no reason to be more demanding of yourself than anyone else would be of you.
And, really, there is no need for anybody to be that demanding of you in the first place!
Be kind to yourself. Always.
If you are interested in working with me on ways you can make lasting and positive behaviour changes, send me an email and don’t forget to subscribe to receive new posts via email!